Tony Stewart won the Tums Fast Relief 500 at the Martinsville Speedway by getting past the leader, Jimmie Johnson on a late restart and leading the final 3 laps. At one point Stewart was about to go a lap down to the leader but fought him off and remained on the lead lap. Johnson finished second and Jeff Gordon followed in third.
[media-credit name=” Ernie Masche/CIA Photo” align=”alignright” width=”232″][/media-credit]The race was slowed 18 times for caution for well over 100 laps as the Sprint Cup stars decided that they would have a “Boys Ha Have at it” race on the speedway. Gordon, who was involved in the first caution period and required multiple pit stops for repairs to damaged car, made a spectacular come leading the race through its middle stages. Gordon said, “That was absolutely crazy. Great effort, they fixed the nose. I was worried about the brake duct. I beat it up, I drove it hard. The last two runs I didn’t have much for them. Great effort by Tony Stewart, you got to give him credit I didn’t think he could get by him on the outside.” Gordon led 114 of the 500 laps but the bonus points for the most laps led went to Kyle Busch who led 125 laps of the race early.
Stewart only led 14 laps and said in victory lane, “I don’t know, I didn’t think anyone could get by Jimmie Johnson on the outside.” He then mentioned that his car wasn’t all that great today, “ I was pretty bad all day. I think I was the only that didn’t get in a wreck with anybody today. To be honest I wasn’t too happy to be starting second. Not letting him run me up the race track like he did to the 31 (Jeff Burton on an earlier restart) was important too.”
Many of the chase participants saw trouble on the track. The first caution period saw Gordon with the most damage when Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran into the curb sending Kurt Busch around as well the No. 88 car which saw the No 24 slam into it.
Brian Vickers was involved in no less than 4 cautions before retiring to the garage but the biggest losers of the day were clearly Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch both who were involved in separate incidents that saw them needing repairs for heavy damages. Busch finished 27th 7 laps down and Kenseth 31st 13 laps down costing both championship points they may not be able to recover.
Carl Edwards remained in first in points by 8 over Tony Stewart despite the fact that he had a lug nut issue on pit road, was lapped and the “lucky dog” twice so this “felt like a victory for me”.
The one thing that Tony Stewart did was put front runner Carl Edwards on notice, “He better be worried, he’s not going to have an easy three weeks.”
The series heads to Texas next weekend.
|Unofficial Race Results|
|Tums Fast Relief 500, Martinsville Speedway|
|7||9||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||37|
|8||24||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||36|