Chase No. 7 from Martinsville Speedway – the Tums Fast Relief 500 – is in the books and pole sitter Jimmie Johnson once again gets the win. It was Johnson’s seventh win at the short track and his fifth Chase win at the place known as the Paper Clip.
Once again the Hendrick Motor Sports (HMS) No. 48 juggernaut seems primed to take the championship for the sixth time. Johnson deftly took the points lead away from Brad Keselowski at the conclusion of the day. He leads by two points with three races left in this 2012 Chase.
Kyle Busch, a non-Chase racer took second in the race. Busch tried to chase Johnson down and pass the five time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, but Busch never found enough to throw at him.
Kasey Kahne, Johnson’s HMS teammate, brought home third. Aric Almirola was fourth in his No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford. Clint Bowyer, driver for Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR), led the race for a time but had to settle for a fifth place finish.
Keselowski had an extremely decent run on Sunday finishing sixth at the track that had once plagued him in his career. Jeff Gordon, HMS teammate of Johnson and Kahne, finished seventh. Brian Vickers, part time driver in the No. 55 and teammate of Bowyer at MWR, took eighth. Bobby Labonte, another non-Chase racer, was ninth. Greg Biffle brought up the top-10.
As mentioned above, Johnson took the lead coming out of Martinsville with a slim two point lead over second place Brad Keselowski.
Clint Bowyer picked up one spot to occupy third, 26 points back from the leader. Kahne, also ascending one position, was fourth after Sunday’s race, 29 points back from Johnson.
Denny Hamlin was plagued with electrical problems late in the race that were finally identified as a broken post on the master cutoff switch. The prognosis came far too late – Hamlin was 34 laps down and stuck in 33rd place. He fell two spots to fifth.
Gordon leapt two places to sixth. Martin Truex Jr., 23rd in the race, lost one place and landed in seventh. Matt Kenseth, 14th in the race, gained a spot to take eighth. Biffle (Kenseth’s Roush-Fenway teammate while the 2012 season is still in progress) picked up two positions to occupy ninth. Defending Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart who won this race last year fell three spots to round out the top-10 due to his 27th place finish.
Kevin Harvick was doomed by a blown engine, finished 32nd in the race, and dropped one position to 11th. Dale Earnhardt Jr. returned to Chase racing after a two-race hiatus due to a concussion at Talladega, finished 21st and remains in 12th place.
Racing resumes next weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway for the AAA Texas 500. The race will be on Sunday, November 4th and will be broadcast starting at 2pm EST on ESPN.
Tune into the race to see the action for yourself and then return to this site upon completion of the race for my AAA Texas 500 Race Recap.
Candice Smith can be reached via Twitter by following @Chief187s. To find out more please visit http://Chief187.com