Jimmie Johnson set a new track record when he won the pole for the STP Gas Booster 500 on Friday. On Sunday, he showed that his car was also fast during race conditions. Johnson led 347 laps on his way to winning his eighth race at Martinsville.
|Johnson celebrates at Martinsville (John Harrelson/Getty Images)|
The race restarted on lap 22, and Johnson was able to get ahead of Ambrose for the lead, and Brian Vickers was able to get ahead of Ambrose for second. Johnson began to lap the end of the field, including Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who was running 32nd. On lap 70, Scott Speed stopped on the frontstretch to bring out the second caution. The field came down pit road, and Johnson was able to win the race off pit road, beating Kyle Busch and Jamie McMurray.
Johnson led the field back to the green flag on lap 77, and he was able to get down in front of Busch heading into Turn 1. On lap 89, Busch was able to get around Johnson for the lead. After following Busch for awhile, Johnson was able to work his way back into the lead on lap 104.
The caution came out on lap 174 for the grille from Stenhouse's car lying on the track. Johnson brought the field down pit road, and he was able to beat Busch off pit road.
The race restarted on lap 179, and Johnson was able to get ahead of Busch for the lead. The caution came out on lap 180 for a big stack-up on the track that led to Clint Bowyer spinning on the frontstretch. Numerous cars received damage, including Bowyer, Vickers, Ambrose, Joey Logano, Stenhouse, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Burton, McMurray, Travis Kvapil, and Mark Martin.
|Bowyer's car sits sideways on the frontstretch after getting spun (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)|
On lap 240, David Reutimann spun in Turn 4. The leaders came down pit road, and Kenseth led Busch and Johnson off pit road.
The race restarted on lap 248, and Kenseth was able to get ahead of Busch for the lead. Mark Martin only took two tires under the caution, and he quickly fell back as soon as the green flag dropped. After restarting third, he quickly fell down to 16th. On lap 253, Carl Edwards cut down a left-rear tire, and he spun in Turn 4.
Martin was one of the drivers who pitted under the caution so he could change tires. When the team dropped the jack, Martin's left-front tire fell off the car, and the team couldn't get the tire back on before they lost a lap. Martin was filling in for Denny Hamlin this weekend, so he was with a new team for this race.
Kenseth was able to get ahead of Busch for the lead on the lap 259 restart. Coming through Turn 4 on lap 262, Kurt Busch cut down a left-front tire, and he didn't realize that it was flat until he drove around on it for a couple laps. While that was going on, Kyle Busch was able to get around Kenseth for the lead.
On lap 279, Martin Truex Jr. got oil on his tires, and he spun through Turns 3 and 4. The leaders made pit stops, and Busch led Kenseth and Johnson off pit road.
The race restarted on lap 286, and Busch was able to get ahead of Kenseth for the lead. Heading into Turn 3, Brad Keselowski shoved Kenseth, causing Kenseth to lock up his brakes trying to slow down. The caution came out on lap 292, when Kurt Busch was spun by David Gilliland in Turn 4.
|Matt Kenseth leads Kasey Kahne at Martinsville (Jerry Markland/Getty Images)|
The caution came out on lap 360 for Ryan Newman, who cut down a flat tire. Newman stopped on the backstretch to bring out the caution, so NASCAR decided to hold him three lap on pit road. The leaders came down pit road, and Johnson beat Kenseth off pit road.
The race restarted on lap 368, and Johnson was able to beat Kenseth down into Turn 1. On lap 424, Newman cut down another right-front tire and smacked the outside wall. This time, however, he was able to get down to the pits without bringing out the caution.
On lap 448, Vickers cut down a left-rear tire, and he spun coming out of Turn 2. Johnson brought the field down pit road, and he beat Gordon and Clint Bowyer off pit road.
The race restarted on lap 458, and Johnson was able to beat Gordon off Turn 2 to take the lead. On lap 465, Bowyer was able to work his way around Gordon for second place. At the same time, Earnhardt was spun by Danica Patrick in Turn 3 to bring out the caution. Patrick was hit by Vickers going into the corner, which got Patrick loose.
Johnson led the field back to the green flag on lap 472. Bowyer was able to get behind Johnson in second while Gordon and Kyle Busch fought for third. On lap 485, the caution came out when Kurt Busch hit the outside wall and his car caught on fire. The race was put under a red flag so that the track could be cleaned up quickly.
The race restarted on lap 492, and Johnson was able to beat Bowyer off Turn 2 to take the lead. Bowyer tried everything he could to get to Johnson, but he couldn't get close enough to make a move, and Johnson was able to win his eighth Martinsville race. After the checkered flag, Kevin Harvick spun Vickers heading into Turn 1.
Clint Bowyer finished second, and was followed by Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne. Kyle Busch finished fifth, and was followed by Brad Keselowski and Jamie McMurray. Marcos Ambrose finished eighth, and Greg Biffle finished ninth. Mark Martin finished 10th filling in for Denny Hamlin in the No. 11. Brian Vickers finished 11th driving the No. 55. Next week, Vickers will take over the No. 11 for Hamlin. Danica Patrick finished 12th in her Martinsville debut. Matt Kenseth finished 14th, and was followed by Carl Edwards in 15th. Tony Stewart finished 17th. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 24th, two laps down.
Johnson won his eighth career Martinsville race, which puts him in third place on the all-time Martinsville wins list, behind Darrell Waltrip and Richard Petty. Johnson never ran lower than fourth place, and showed that he is still very dominant at Martinsville in the Gen 6 car. Next week, the Sprint Cup Series will race under the lights on Saturday night. The NRA 500 can be seen at 7:30 p.m., only on FOX.
|Sean Gardner/Getty Images|