Johnson secures victory and series points lead at Martinsville

[media-credit id=100 align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]Jimmie Johnson continues his dominance at Martinsville winning from the pole position in the Tums 500. Johnson led 193 laps en route to his seventh win and 19th top ten finish in just 22 starts at the legendary track. More importantly, he leaves Martinsville with a two point lead over Brad Keselowski.

“We just had a great race car. And I think we’ve also learned our lesson here in the past in not pitting late and that certainly came into play and we made the right decision there. I’m so torn with emotion right now with winning here; and I’m so happy to be in the point lead.” Johnson said.

Keselowski minimized the expected damage in the points standings today with a fantastic run from the 32nd starting spot. The Miller Lite driver worked his way through the field and was leading on restart near the end of the race but had to settle for a sixth place finish. The Penske team seemed pleased to come away with minimal loss considering Johnson’s amazing stats at this track.

American Muscle

Kyle Busch ends up with a hard fought second place, with Hendrick driver Kasey Kahne , who ran consistently in the top ten all day, taking the checkered in third spot.

Richard Petty Motorsports driver Aric Almirola drove his No. 43 Gwaltney Ford to a solid fourth place finish, . Aric said after the race, “That was a good run for us. Todd Parrott made a gutsy call there. We were horrible at the beginning of this race, I mean horrible. I don’t know how we didn’t go several laps down, but we fought hard all day.” The Richard Petty team recently swapped personnel between the No.43 of Almirloa, and the No.9 driven by Marcos Ambrose. The move seems to be paying off for Almirola, as he has consistently ran stronger than before the switch.

Chase contender Clint Bowyer shows that he is in this until the end with another strong effort in his No.15 Micheal Waltirp Racing Toyota. Bowyer led four times today for a total of 151 laps and wound up a respectable fifth at the end of the day. Bowyer leaves Martinsville with a 26 point deficit to leader Johnson.

The big loser today was Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin. Hamlin overcame a early penalty and fought his way back toward the front, but an electrical problem that caused the car to shut down and bring out a yellow on lap 393, sent him to the garage area for repairs where he lost 33 laps. Hamlin ended the day 34 laps off the pace and finished a dismal 33rd. Hamlin now trails Johnson by 49 points and would appear that once again late in the season, his championship hopes have ended.

It would appear we now have a two man race for the championship. Johnson and Keselowski have been the most consistent competitors in the seven Chase races so far. Bowyer and Kahne still have an outside chance, but will need the two leaders to stumble in the final three races. Based on the results this season that is not likely to happen.

Unofficial Race Results
Tums Fast Relief 500, Martinsville Speedway
Pos. St. No. Driver Make Points
1 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 48
2 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 42
3 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 42
4 43 Aric Almirola Ford 40
5 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 40
6 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge 39
7 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 38
8 55 Brian Vickers Toyota 37
9 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 35
10 16 Greg Biffle Ford 34
11 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 33
12 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 32
13 22 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge 0
14 78 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 30
15 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 30
16 20 Joey Logano Toyota 28
17 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 27
18 99 Carl Edwards Ford 26
19 83 Landon Cassill Toyota 25
20 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet 24
21 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 23
22 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 22
23 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 21
24 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 20
25 13 Casey Mears Ford 19
26 34 David Ragan Ford 19
27 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 17
28 51 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet 16
29 32 Ken Schrader Ford 15
30 38 David Gilliland Ford 14
31 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota 14
32 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 12
33 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 12
34 33 Stephen Leicht * Chevrolet 10
35 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 9
36 10 David Reutimann Chevrolet 8
37 195 Scott Speed Ford 7
38 26 Josh Wise * Ford 6
39 98 Michael McDowell Ford 5
40 30 David Stremme Toyota 4
41 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 0
42 23 Scott Riggs Chevrolet 2
43 191 Reed Sorenson Toyota 0

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