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Martin Wins At Chicagoland

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, July 12 2009
Mark Martin celebrates after winning the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images)

Mark Martin celebrates after winning the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images)

By Nick Bromberg | Special Correspondent

Mark Martin smoked Jeff Gordon on a green-white-checker restart to win the LifeLock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

“On that restart Mark went a little early and I spun the tires when I tried to get going,” Gordon said.

However, even with his success on that last restart, don’t count Martin as a fan of the new double file restarts, even though he got the lead after some wild racing after the next-to-last restart with 17 to go.

Leader Jimmie Johnson chose the high side, and fourth place Denny Hamlin pushed Johnson all of the way into turn one, getting Johnson loose and sliding him up the track.

Then one lap later, Hamlin and Vickers slid up the track battling for the lead, opening the door for Martin—who had restarted third—on the bottom of the track to take the lead.

“I’ve been watching (Ron) Hornaday. I had some nice restarts tonight. I knew the double file restarts were going to cost us tonight,” Martin said.

But ultimately, they didn’t.

Martin had the dominant car of the evening, but lost the lead to Johnson after a restart, and battled his car in traffic. However, once Martin got into the clean air, he was untouchable again.

“Luckily we pulled it off anyway.”

The win is Martin’s fourth of the season—the most of any driver in 2009—and vaulted him back into the top 12.

After sliding from the lead, Johnson’s night got even more eventful as he fell through the pack. Johnson pushed into Kurt Busch off of turn four and the cars slammed together, with Busch returning the favor in the tri-oval.

Johnson and Busch also got together at Sonoma, when Johnson knocked Busch from fourth place in the Esses.

“I’m starting to lose faith in his ability to be a three-time champion on the track,” Busch said.

Points leader Tony Stewart basically maintained his points lead over Jeff Gordon after fighting back from a pit road miscue late in the race. Stewart finished fourth after restarting 17th with 33 laps to go.

“To be able to start 32nd and make our way up to fourth was an awesome night,” Stewart said.

However, the night wasn’t awesome for Kyle Busch or Greg Biffle. Busch slapped the wall, lost a cylinder and finally blew an engine dropping him to 10th in the points standings while Biffle’s 31st place finish dropped him to 13th, 10 points out of 12th.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, July 12 2009
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