Martinsville Speedway in Virginia is one of the oldest tracks on the NASCAR circuit. It is also the epitome of short track racing at its finest, and Sunday’s Goodys 500 at Martinsville did not disappoint.
500 laps and just over 250 miles lay ahead of the Chase racers, now down to eight after the last eliminations following Talladega, and the rest of the field. It would be a Chase driver starting on pole for the race in Joey Logano (#22 Shell Pennzoil Ford), who continued his hot streak after winning all three races in the Contender Round.
The Goody’s 500 at Martinsville would certainly live up to the hype of excitement. Though the race would start under yellow due to a wet track and rain in the area, the race would not be stopped once for rain. However, plenty of cautions would come along the way, totaling for over 100 of the 500 laps.
Paybacks and rivalries would be one of the biggest stories of the day. Early in the race, David Gilliland (#38 Jerry Cook Tribute Ford) and Danica Patrick (#10 GoDaddy Chevy) would collide, and Danica would come back to return the favor as the race was winding down. However, that was not even the biggest strike of retaliation on the day.
Recalling back to a few weeks prior, when Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth (#20 Dollar General Toyota) battled for the win at Kansas Speedway, Logano would spin Kenseth for the win. Fast forward to today at Martinsville, Kenseth got in trouble with just over 100 laps to go, when he spun in front of the field after contact with Brad Keselowski (#2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford), with Kurt Busch (#41 Monster Energy Chevy) also collected. But wait, there’s more.
After the wreck, Joey Logano continued to lead as he did much of the day at the “paper clip.” Coming in hot after him though was Kenseth, who after getting lapped crashed into Logano in turns one and two. While many expected the retaliation, and believe the incident was intentional, Kenseth claims the wreck was caused by previous damage cutting down a tire. Regardless, NASCAR parked the driver of the #20 car and more is expected to come from this incident in the coming days.
After a lengthy red flag to clean up the wreck, Jeff Gordon (#24 AARP Chevy) would be scored as the leader. As the race got back going with just fifty or so laps to go, the race would now be for the win, and to finish before the sunset. Martinsville Speedway does not have lights, making conditions to finish the whole race questionable.
In the end, the full race distance would be completed. And after pitting for fresh tires and passing two cars that stayed out under caution, Jeff Gordon would be in the prime position to win. Jeff Gordon would win the Goody’s 500 at Martinsville, his ninth win at the track in his final season of competition.
Coming home in second behind Gordon would be Jamie McMurray (#1 McDonald’s Chevy), and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (#88 Nationwide Chevy) continued with strong finishes in third. Chase drivers would lead the overwhelming majority of the race, with only two of the eight drivers not leading a lap.
With his win, Jeff Gordon will move into the final round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup at Homestead-Miami Speedway. That leaves only three spots left for seven drivers to fight over to get into the Championship Four. The next race those drivers get a chance at to lock in will be next week at Texas Motor Speedway. Tune in for the race next Sunday on your local NBC station.