Johnson takes points lead with Martinsville win

Johnson scored his seventh career Martinsville victory

Johnson scored his seventh career Martinsville victory

Jimmie Johnson’s quest for a sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title is firmly on track after the Chevrolet driver took the points lead with victory in the Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville.

Johnson now sits two points ahead of Brad Keselowski with three races remaining after the Penske Dodge pilot rallied to a sixth place finish on the 0.5 mile short track.

Meanwhile, the long-time third wheel in the championship chase, Denny Hamlin,  is now all but out of contention after electrical problems led to a 33rd place finish.

The Fedex Toyota now sits fifth in the standings behind Johnson, Keselowski, Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne, some 49 points adrift of the lead.

Johnson scored his fourth win of the season and seventh all-time at Martinsville after holding off a determined Kyle Busch in a five lap sprint to the flag.

Johnson’s #48 team had been one of many to elect to pit for new tyres when the penultimate caution waved 24 laps from home.

Electing not to pit, Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr headed the field at the restart, before eventually falling back to sixth and 21st respectively.

Busch, Kasey Kahne, Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer had joined Johnson in taking new tyres and rounded out the top five at the flag.

Australian Marcos Ambrose came home on the lead lap in 24th after losing ground with a pair of mid-race spins.

“I’m ecstatic about the win today and ecstatic about the point lead, but this is no cakewalk,” said Johnson.

“I feel as focused and as prepared as I’ve ever been. We have some very smart guys with experience on this team, and everybody is managing their emotions well and working very hard on their individual positions.

“Our young group of over-the-wall guys, they’re standing the test of time. They’re dealing with a lot of pressure each time on pit road and executing very well.”

The title chase continues next weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

See below for the full race result

FIN

ST

DRIVER

MAKE

SPONSOR

PTS/BNS

LAPS

STATUS

1 1 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe’s 48/5 500 Running
2 3 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M’s Halloween 42/0 500 Running
3 15 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet HendrickCars.com 42/1 500 Running
4 10 Aric Almirola Ford Gwaltney 40/0 500 Running
5 8 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-Hour Energy 40/1 500 Running
6 32 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 39/1 500 Running
7 11 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Pepsi Max 38/1 500 Running
8 2 Brian Vickers Toyota MyClassicGarage.com 37/1 500 Running
9 17 Bobby Labonte Toyota Pine Sol 35/0 500 Running
10 30 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 34/0 500 Running
11 18 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Quicken Loans 33/0 500 Running
12 9 Paul Menard Chevrolet Zecol / Menards 32/0 500 Running
13 27 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 0 500 Running
14 6 Matt Kenseth Ford Ford EcoBoost 31/1 500 Running
15 19 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 29/0 500 Running
16 14 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot / redbeacon.com 28/0 500 Running
17 24 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald’s 27/0 500 Running
18 23 Carl Edwards Ford Geek Squad 26/0 500 Running
19 34 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 25/0 500 Running
20 25 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 24/0 500 Running
21 20 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Diet Mountain Dew 23/0 500 Running
22 4 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Odyssey / EnerSys 22/0 500 Running
23 12 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 21/0 500 Running
24 33 Marcos Ambrose Ford Black & Decker 20/0 500 Running
25 22 Casey Mears Ford GEICO 19/0 500 Running
26 16 David Ragan Ford Where’s Waldo 18/0 500 Running
27 7 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 17/0 498 Running
28 26 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet Phoenix Construction 16/0 498 Running
29 28 Ken Schrader Ford Southern Pride Trucking 15/0 495 Running
30 36 David Gilliland Ford Long John Silver’s 14/0 494 Running
31 41 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 14/1 492 Running
32 13 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Rheem “Chasing the Cure” 12/0 473 Engine
33 5 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 12/1 466 Running
34 42 Stephen Leicht * Chevrolet Little Joes Autos.com 10/0 253 Brakes
35 37 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Mohawk Northeast 9/0 193 Brakes
36 29 David Reutimann Chevrolet @TMone Drive Sales Fast 8/0 185 Overheating
37 43 Scott Speed Ford Jordan Truck Sales 7/0 116 Susp.
38 31 Josh Wise * Ford MDS Transport 6/0 85 Brakes
39 21 Michael McDowell Ford Phil Parsons Racing 5/0 61 Brakes
40 40 David Stremme Toyota Inception Motorsports 4/0 46 Accident
41 38 Joe Nemechek Toyota AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet 0 35 Brakes
42 35 Scott Riggs Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 2/0 22 Overheating
43 39 Reed Sorenson Toyota Plinker Tactical 0 19 Overheating

 

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