Gordon masters Martinsville again

Jeff Gordon proved he is the master of Martinsville Speedway, taking his second win of two races this season at the oldest and shortest NASCAR track

Gordon masters Martinsville again

Gordon held off in the final stage of the 500-lap race some fierce competition from points leader Tony Stewart, who dominated the first half of the race and led a total of 283 laps.

But Stewart's second place finish, along with his laps lead, were enough to place him along at the top of the standings, after he held a tie total of points with Jimmie Johnson prior to this round.

Johnson, who finished today's race in third, remained in second place, only 15 points behind Stewart.

With only four races left in the Chase for the Nextel Cup, the battle at the top of the standings remains tight, as all of the ten runners remain in contention for the title.

But the Martinsville race was a disappointment to Chase runners Carl Edwards, Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace. Edwards finished 26th, Martin 34th and Wallace crashed out of the race while running fifth. He was classified as 19th.

But the race was all about Gordon's mastery of the half-mile tight oval, as the four-time NASCAR Champion - who is outside of the Chase for the Cup this season - assumed the lead on lap 343 with a smart gamble not to pit while others elected to stop during the 23th caution of thew race.

With Stewart behind him, expecting Gordon to pit, the latter continued setting faster pace than the former, despite Gordon's tyres having run 50 laps more than Stewart's.

Later, at Victory Lane, Gordon dedicated his 73rd career win to the ten killed one year ago, when a Hendrick Motorsports plane crashed on its way to Martinsville.

Pos  Driver              Make        Laps
 1.  Jeff Gordon         Chevrolet   500
 2.  Tony Stewart        Chevrolet   500
 3.  Jimmie Johnson      Chevrolet   500
 4.  Bobby Labonte       Chevrolet   500
 5.  Jeff Burton         Chevrolet   500
 6.  Kurt Busch          Ford        500
 7.  Jamie McMurray      Dodge       500
 8.  Denny Hamlin        Chevrolet   500
 9.  Kyle Busch          Chevrolet   500
10.  Ryan Newman         Dodge       500
11.  Ricky Rudd          Ford        500
12.  Matt Kenseth        Ford        500
13.  Ken Schrader        Dodge       500
14.  Kyle Petty          Dodge       500
15.  Kevin Harvick       Chevrolet   500
16.  Dave Blaney         Chevrolet   500
17.  Kasey Kahne         Dodge       500
18.  Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Chevrolet   500
19.  Rusty Wallace       Dodge       500
20.  Greg Biffle         Ford        500
21.  Travis Kvapil       Dodge       500
22.  Casey Mears         Dodge       499
23.  Joe Nemechek        Chevrolet   499
24.  Scott Riggs         Chevrolet   499
25.  Scott Wimmer        Dodge       499
26.  Carl Edwards        Ford        499
27.  Michael Waltrip     Chevrolet   498
28.  Jeremy Mayfield     Dodge       497
29.  Elliott Sadler      Ford        497
30.  Bobby Hamilton Jr.  Chevrolet   494
31.  Dale Jarrett        Ford        492
32.  Hermie Sadler       Ford        489
33.  Derrike Cope        Chevrolet   488
34.  Mark Martin         Ford        468
35.  Mike Wallace        Chevrolet   448
36.  Brian Vickers       Chevrolet   425
37.  Jeff Green          Dodge       409
38.  Sterling Marlin     Dodge       370
39.  Bobby Hamilton      Dodge       339
40.  Jimmy Spencer       Dodge       235
41.  Mike Bliss          Chevrolet   173
42.  Robby Gordon        Chevrolet   115
43.  Stanton Barrett     Chevrolet   110

Chase for the Cup - standings:

Pos  Driver              Points  Change
 1.  Tony Stewart        5957      =
 2.  Jimmie Johnson      5942     -1
 3.  Ryan Newman         5894     +1
 4.  Greg Biffle         5874     -1
 5.  Carl Edwards        5808     +1
 6.  Rusty Wallace       5791     +1
 7.  Mark Martin         5787     -2
 8.  Kurt Busch          5785     +2
 9.  Matt Kenseth        5785      =
10.  Jeremy Mayfield     5741     -2
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