Another Dominating Win for Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports at Martinsville
By Kala Perkins On Sun, Apr. 07, 2013
Jimmie Johnson won the 64th Annual STP Gas Booster 500 Sunday at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, VA. The Hendrick Motorsports driver started on the pole, and led 347 laps to capture his eighth victory at Martinsville. It was Johnson’s 62nd victory in 405 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
Today’s victory was also his second victory and fourth top-10 finish in 2013. Commenting on the story of his win, Johnson said, “It was just a long-fought day. 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. Life is good. We’ve had two wins this year.”
Johnson regained the lead in points standings by six points over Brad Keselowski and 12 points over Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports now has the record for all time team wins at Martinsville Speedway, totaling twenty.
Johnson’s Hendrick teammates, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, finished third and fourth place respectively. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran in the top 10 most of the day, but was involved in an accident late in the race resulting in a 24th place finish.
Jeff Gordon commented in response to his Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet’s third place finish, “It was an exciting day for us. You know, same thing kind of what Clint said, we were a little bit tighter when the race started than we anticipated, but we also burned the rear tires off of it the first couple of runs. I think third was a great finish for us, and happy to bring home third. We needed the points. We needed a good solid run.”
Clint Bowyer posted his 9th top-10 finish in 15 races at Martinsville Speedway finishing the day in second place. Today was Bowyer’s third top-10 finish in 2013. When asked if he thought he had a shot at the win in the closing laps, Bowyer responded, “Well, last year I had the upper hand with tires and it just didn’t work out. That time I was on the outside and it definitely was the opposite of that. Just proud of RK Motors Toyota. The guys did a good job. Brian Pattie (crew chief) and everybody on this 15 car did a good job bringing a fast car. It’s just disappointing—she was just tore up too bad. We was lucky to get back up where we were and make some good adjustments. All in all it was a good day. 5-HOUR, Peak, AAA—everybody that’s a part of this car—it’s a good program and a good group of guys. Just wish I’d had that clock. Obviously second is decent in this world, in this sport, but it still sucks right now.”
Joe Gibbs Racing drivers had a great race today with all three drivers finishing with top-15 finishes. M&M’s Toyota driver, Kyle Busch, finished fifth today after leading 56 laps. After the race Busch said, “The M&M’s guys did a great job today and gave me a really good car. We keep finishing top-five here all of the time, but it’d sure be nice to figure out some sort of secret that could get us into victory lane here. It would be nice to bring home a grandfather clock, but not this week.”
Busch’s teammate for the day, Mark Martin, finished 10th while filling in for Denny Hamlin. Martin said, “It wasn’t that great of a result—we were capable of a little bit better, but we just kept stumping our toe on Friday and then we had a setback when we were about to get into position. I just want to thank Joe Gibbs. I did not fill Denny Hamlin’s shoes, I can tell you that much. He is the master. I enjoyed this opportunity—it was fun.”
The other Joe Gibbs Racing driver in today’s race was 14th place finisher Matt Kenseth. Commenting on his day, Kenseth said, “We ran really great—that’s the best ever ran at Martinsville and the best car I’ve ever had here by far. That part was all good. We just didn’t get the finish, which is disappointing—we’ve got to start getting some finishes. I had a great car and that’s the good part.” Kenseth led 96 laps today.
Stewart-Haas Racing driver, Danica Patrick, had an impressive day. Patrick finished in 12th place after starting at the rear of the field, due to an engine change, and getting spun in turn 4 on lap 17 of the race. Patrick was the highest finishing rookie, and also the highest finishing Stewart-Haas driver on her first trip to Martinsville Speedway. When asked about her day, Patrick said, “You know, it was just nice to have a good weekend after having so many that weren’t good since Daytona. Today was one of those days I had a good car, and Gibson has got a good track record here. I think the team has a lot to be proud of.”
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now moves on to Texas Motor Speedway for the NRA 500 on Saturday, April 13. This will be stop number seven for the 2013 season.
|Unofficial Race Results|
|STP Gas Booster 500, Martinsville Speedway|
|12||32||10||Danica Patrick #||Chevrolet||32|
|24||17||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||20|
|25||20||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #||Ford||19|
|26||14||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Chevrolet||18|
|40||12||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||4|