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Jimmie Johnson wins again at Martinsville

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by Pete McCole
October 21, 2007

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Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson run side-by-side
CIA Stock Photo

It seems the only thing standing in the way of Jeff Gordon and the 2007 Nextel Cup Series title is his own teammate – Jimmie Johnson.

Johnson passed Gordon with 44 laps to go and then held off Ryan Newman in a green-white checkered finish to win Sunday’s Subway 500 at Martinsville Raceway to notch his third-straight Martinsville victory and further tighten the points battle in the Chase for the Nextel Cup.

Gordon finished third, followed by Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth.

“It was a great day of racing,” said Johnson. “Green-white-checker shootouts really aren’t my strong suit, so I was happy to hang onto the victory.

“We had a great car, we certainly went up there and got the win today and that’s something I’m very proud of.”

Johnson led 147 laps en route to his seventh victory of the season and 30th of his career, and now trails Gordon by 53 points, looking for his second-straight title.

“This thing isn’t over yet,” Johnson said of the points battle. “This team certainly is strong enough to be a champion once again.”

Johnson and Gordon have combined to win eight of the last ten races at Martinsville. Gordon’s third–place showing was his sixth-straight top-5 finish at Martinsville.

“It didn’t wind up quite turn out the way we wanted to,” said Gordon. “Third place is great compared to where we were at one point in the race. The car was great on long runs, but we didn’t need all the cautions and short runs. I just couldn’t get going on the restarts and got real loose getting in (the corners) and that’s unfortunately why we ended up losing second as well.

“It’s still a good points day for us. Jimmie was tough, I didn’t really have anything for him.”

In a replay of the spring race here, Gordon and Johnson spent much of Sunday’s race battling for the top spot, combining with lame-duck Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Busch to lead 421 of the 506 laps.

Gordon started on the pole for the event and led the first 109 laps before Johnson took over the top spot. Gordon trailed Johnson for much of the race as the two got shuffled back in the pack during a round of pit stops.

As the race came to the mid-way point Gordon fell back but managed to stay in the top five as Kyle Busch came into the mix as well, swapping the lead with Johnson.

Following a round of pit stops on lap 342, Johnson and Gordon got past Busch and battled it out it out for the next 40 laps before the next caution waved. Gordon beat Newman and Johnson out of the pits and led the next 60 laps before Johnson squeezed by in the inside to take the lead for the final time.


Ryan Newman muscles his way by Gordon at the end
CIA Stock Photo

Gordon hung onto second before Newman muscled his way past with what was supposed to be six laps to go.

A late caution on lap 496 set up a green-white-checkered finish with Johnson leading Newman and Gordon, but the overtime session was cut short after David Reagan spun to bring out the 21st and final caution to end the race.

“I know I would have had a shot at (Johnson) if the race stayed green,” said Newman. “I had my nose at his left rear tire at the start/finish line getting the white flag. He went into turn three and drifted up and over braked and got loose and drifted up and gave me an opportunity…but it just never happened.”

Denny Hamlin came home sixth, followed by Greg Biffle, Juan Pablo Montoya, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick.

The top six in the Chase for the Nextel Cup standings remain unchanged, as Bowyer trails Gordon and Johnson, followed by Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch. Harvick is seventh, followed by Hamlin, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex, Jr. and Kenseth.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 4 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 190/5 506 Running
2 12 12 Ryan Newman Dodge ALLTEL 170/0 506 Running
3 6 5 Kyle Busch Chevrolet Kellogg's / CARQUEST 170/5 506 Running
4 1 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 170/10 506 Running
5 24 17 Matt Kenseth Ford R+L Carriers 155/0 506 Running
6 30 11 Denny Hamlin Chevrolet FedEx Freight 150/0 506 Running
7 37 16 Greg Biffle Ford Dish Network 146/0 506 Running
8 26 42 Juan Montoya * Dodge Texaco / Havoline 147/5 506 Running
9 21 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 138/0 506 Running
10 3 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 134/0 506 Running
11 20 99 Carl Edwards Ford Office Depot 130/0 506 Running
12 18 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet AT&T Mobility 132/5 506 Running
13 34 20 Tony Stewart Chevrolet The Home Depot 124/0 506 Running
14 10 96 Tony Raines Chevrolet DLP HDTV 121/0 506 Running
15 5 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Dodge Dealers / UAW 118/0 506 Running
16 32 10 Scott Riggs Dodge Valvoline / Stanley Tools 115/0 506 Running
17 19 00 David Reutimann * Toyota Dominos.com 112/0 506 Running
18 29 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 109/0 506 Running
19 2 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 106/0 506 Running
20 22 25 Casey Mears Chevrolet National Guard / GMAC 103/0 506 Running
21 42 45 Kyle Petty Dodge Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil 100/0 506 Running
22 16 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Goody's Headache Powders 97/0 506 Running
23 7 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Budweiser 99/5 506 Running
24 35 15 Paul Menard * Chevrolet Pittsburgh Paints / Menards 91/0 505 Running
25 40 38 David Gilliland Ford M&M's 88/0 505 Running
26 41 6 David Ragan * Ford AAA 85/0 505 Running
27 23 88 Ricky Rudd Ford Combos 82/0 504 Running
28 31 66 Jeff Green Chevrolet Haas Automation 84/5 503 Running
29 13 70 Johnny Sauter Chevrolet Haas Automation 76/0 503 Running
30 33 44 Dale Jarrett Toyota UPS 73/0 503 Running
31 11 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 70/0 501 Running
32 9 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal 67/0 500 Running
33 15 49 John Andretti Dodge Paralyzed Veterans of America 64/0 492 Running
34 43 21 Bill Elliott Ford Little Debbie 61/0 483 Running
35 25 84 A.J. Allmendinger * Toyota Red Bull 58/0 474 Running
36 17 22 Dave Blaney Toyota Caterpillar 55/0 439 Running
37 38 40 David Stremme Dodge Target House 52/0 410 Out of Race
38 36 4 Ward Burton Chevrolet Lucas / ITT Night Vision / State Water Heaters 49/0 406 Running
39 39 7 Robby Gordon Ford MAC Tools 46/0 390 Running
40 14 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Dodge Dealers / UAW 43/0 371 Running
41 28 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge Target / Breast Cancer Awareness 40/0 259 Out of Race
42 8 18 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Interstate Batteries 37/0 258 Out of Race
43 27 01 Aric Almirola Chevrolet U.S. Army 34/0 111 Out of Race

* Denotes Rookie

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