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Johnson Picks Up His Eighth Win At Martinsville

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, April 7 2013

Jimmie Johnson wins again at Martinsville. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Christa L Thomas)

RacinToday.com

Jimmie Johnson won the STP Gas Booster 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

The victory was the second of the six-race season for the Hendrick Motorsports driver and the eighth for the five-time Cup champion at the Martinsville short track. His other victory of 2013 came in the season-opening Daytona 500.

Clint Bowyer of Michael Waltrip Racing finished second.

Finishing third was Jeff Gordon, Johnson’s teammate. Behind Gordon was a third Hendrick driver, Kasey Kahne.

Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing was fifth while defending series champion Brad Keselowski was sixth.

The first repeat winner through six 2013 Cup races, Johnson regained the series lead by six points over sixth-place finisher and defending champion Brad Keselowski.

“It was just a long-fought day,” Johnson said. “Martinsville stays the same over the years and you just have to dig-in and get into a rhythm and drive your own race and see how things unfold at the end and how things happen. Fortunately we didn’t have any craziness with two tires or four tires at the end. I feel like the fastest car won the race. It was a very standard Martinsville race; although I thought some guys might peel off and take tires. It was just a hard race.

“This race track is tough to get around. But we have a great notebook. I’ve got to thank (crew chief) Chad Knaus and all my guys and everybody back home at Hendrick Motorsports. I want to encourage everybody, if you didn’t go already today, to go to Lowe’s and buy some stuff. It’s springtime. Life is good. We’ve had two wins this year.”

NASCAR red-flagged the race on Lap 487, after the brakes failed on Kurt Busch’s No. 78 Chevrolet SS and sent the car hard into the Turn 1 wall and ignited in a massive fireball.

Busch had the presence of mind to trigger his fire extinguisher before the exited the car and climbed from the driver’s-side window apparently none the worse for the flames.

After the stoppage, Johnson led the field to a restart on Lap 493 with Bowyer beside him in the outside lane. But Johnson pulled away over the final eight laps to beat Bowyer to the finish line by .628 seconds.

Bowyer held Gordon off to get his runner-up finish despite having a badly damaged Toyota.

“We just didn’t need those cautions there at the end,” Gordon said. “I made a mistake on pit road and got us way behind. But, what an incredible effort for this Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet team. They had good pit stops and then they also made great adjustments. We were real tight there at the middle part of the race. And then boy that thing just took off. And on the long runs, I feel like we had the best car. But you know those cautions are going to come out there. We tried to free it up. We just didn’t get it quite freed-up enough. So, I was just trying to get the front end to cut and I knew that we just didn’t quite have it. We just needed more laps there at the end.

Brian Vickers cut a tire and spun on Lap 448 to cause the 10th caution of the afternoon.

The yellow gave drivers a much-needed opportunity to pit for new tires. Out first after the stops, Johnson led the field to green on Lap 459 with Gordon beside him. Yellow flew again shortly when chain-reaction contact between Vickers, Patrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. sent Earnhardt spinning in Turn 4.

Johnson passed Earnhardt as the driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet tried to re-fire and right his car, putting Earnhardt a lap down. Earnhardt finished 24th and fell from first to third in points, 12 behind Johnson, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – STP Gas Booster 500

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

Sunday, April 07, 2013

1. (1) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 500, $209471.

2. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 500, $159693.

3. (6) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 500, $146446.

4. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 500, $112385.

5. (11) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 500, $145278.

6. (7) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 500, $141586.

7. (13) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 500, $116915.

8. (2) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 500, $118134.

9. (22) Greg Biffle, Ford, 500, $102070.

10. (35) Mark Martin, Toyota, 500, $104420.

11. (3) Brian Vickers(i), Toyota, 500, $95850.

12. (32) Danica Patrick #, Chevrolet, 500, $83125.

13. (21) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 500, $128711.

14. (8) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 500, $120591.

15. (9) Carl Edwards, Ford, 500, $121500.

16. (41) Casey Mears, Ford, 500, $111133.

17. (26) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 500, $127375.

18. (29) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 500, $92025.

19. (16) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 500, $113716.

20. (34) Aric Almirola, Ford, 500, $121436.

21. (31) Bobby Labonte, Toyota, 500, $107133.

22. (18) Regan Smith(i), Chevrolet, 500, $104808.

23. (4) Joey Logano, Ford, 499, $110758.

24. (17) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 498, $96650.

25. (20) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #, Ford, 498, $127311.

26. (14) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 497, $108789.

27. (37) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, 497, $81250.

28. (30) David Gilliland, Ford, 496, $92608.

29. (39) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, 495, $90222.

30. (23) David Ragan, Ford, 493, $89950.

31. (10) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 492, $114458.

32. (36) Ken Schrader, Ford, 492, $79650.

33. (33) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 492, $76925.

34. (43) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, 491, $76800.

35. (42) Josh Wise(i), Ford, 488, $76750.

36. (24) David Stremme, Toyota, Electrical, 485, $76700.

37. (19) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, Accident, 457, $102961.

38. (40) David Reutimann, Toyota, 457, $71850.

39. (25) Travis Kvapil, Toyota, 436, $75850.

40. (12) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 385, $95925.

41. (28) Scott Speed, Ford, Rear Gear, 64, $59850.

42. (38) Scott Riggs, Ford, Brakes, 47, $55850.

43. (27) Michael McDowell, Ford, Brakes, 26, $52350.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  72.066 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 38 Mins, 58 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.627 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  12 for 85 laps.

Lead Changes:  12 among 5 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   J. Johnson 0; M. Ambrose 1; J. Johnson 2-72; T. Kvapil 73; J. Johnson 74-90; Kyle Busch 91-102; J. Johnson 103-221; M. Kenseth 222-242; J. Johnson 243; M. Kenseth 244-264; Kyle Busch 265-308; M. Kenseth 309-362; J. Johnson 363-500.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  J. Johnson 5 times for 346 laps; M. Kenseth 3 times for 96 laps; Kyle Busch 2 times for 56 laps; M. Ambrose 1 time for 1 lap; T. Kvapil 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 12 in Points: J. Johnson – 231; Brad Keselowski – 225; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 219; Kyle Busch – 203; K. Kahne – 199; G. Biffle – 199; C. Edwards – 193; C. Bowyer – 179; P. Menard – 179; M. Kenseth – 172; J. Logano – 167; J. Gordon – 164.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, April 7 2013
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