Jeff Gordon wins incident-packed NASCAR Martinsville race

Jeff Gordon triumphed in a chaotic NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville, as Penske drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski both came to blows with Matt Kenseth

Jeff Gordon wins incident-packed NASCAR Martinsville race

Gordon resisted a late charge from Jamie McMurray to claim his first win of the season after a late restart, with victory also guaranteeing him a shot at the championship at Homestead in three weeks' time.

With the track still damp in places, officials took the decision to start the race behind the pace car, as the circuit continued to dry.

Racing started on lap eight with Martin Truex Jr quickly jumping polesitter Logano for the lead.

Logano soon reeled the Furniture Row Racing driver in to reclaim the lead, one that he largely held in the opening half of the race before team-mate Keselowski took charge.

Keselowski was able to open up a gap of more than eight seconds back to Logano during the race's longest yellow-free period, but that was eradicated when Kyle Fowler went into the wall on lap 378.

Keselowski selected the outside for the restart following that incident, allowing his team-mate to hold the preferred inside line as racing resumed.

But that tactic backfired on the next restart with the pair's positions reversed.

With Logano this time leading away, he and Keselowski were too close on the restart, which allowed Matt Kenseth to get a run on the latter.

The pair rubbed against each other and, with neither backing out, Kenseth was spat out across the front of Keselowski, breaking the latter's front-right suspension with fellow Chase driver Kurt Busch also caught up in the incident.

That wasn't the end of the drama, though, as long-time leader Logano's race ended in controversial fashion as Kenseth appeared to take the Penske driver out.

Logano had sprinted away off the restart, but was hit by Kenseth as he attempted to lap the Joe Gibbs Racing driver, with both forced into retirement.

A red flag period ensued to clear debris from the crash, with Gordon inheriting the race lead.

But when the cars took the track after the stoppage he led a swathe of cars into the pits, handing the initiative to Denny Hamlin and AJ Allmendinger.

They were able to put up a fight but Gordon eventually took the lead with a pass on Allmendiner with 23 laps to run.

Victory was far from secure, though, as McMurray closed in at a rapid rate of knots - with a two-lap shootout guaranteed when a late caution was thrown.

Despite McMurray's best efforts, Gordon clung on to win ahead of the Chip Ganassi Racing driver, with Hamlin fighting back through to third after dropping back on the penultimate restart.

Dale Earnhardt Jr came home fourth ahead of second and third-best Chase runners Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr.

Of the remaining Chase runners, Kevin Harvick finished eighth after early signs of promise, while Carl Edwards was 14th on a difficult afternoon.

Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Logano were classified 32nd, 34th and 37th respectively and now face a fight to make it through the final stage of the Chase.

RESULTS - 500 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 3h46m35.s
2 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 0.335s
3 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 0.823s
4 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 0.934s
5 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 1.261s
6 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet 1.508s
7 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 1.912s
8 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 2.222s
9 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 2.228s
10 Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 2.380s
11 A.J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 2.456s
12 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 2.488s
13 Justin Allgaier HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 2.715s
14 Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 2.755s
15 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 2.971s
16 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 3.175s
17 Casey Mears Germain Racing Chevrolet 3.190s
18 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 3.355s
19 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 3.536s
20 Cole Whitt Front Row Motorsports Ford 3.723s
21 Landon Cassill Hillman Smith Motorsports Chevrolet 7.308s
22 Alex Bowman Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 1 Lap
23 Michael Annett HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 2 Laps
24 David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford 2 Laps
25 David Ragan Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota 2 Laps
26 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford 3 Laps
27 Jeb Burton BK Racing Toyota 4 Laps
28 Sam Hornish Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 7 Laps
29 J.J. Yeley BK Racing Toyota 8 Laps
30 Matt DiBenedetto BK Racing Toyota 8 Laps
31 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 9 Laps
32 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 10 Laps
33 Alex Kennedy Circle Sport Chevrolet 11 Laps
34 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 14 Laps
35 Brett Moffitt Front Row Motorsports Ford 21 Laps
36 Timmy Hill Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 41 Laps
37 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 42 Laps
38 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Accident
39 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 77 Laps
40 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet Accident
41 Kyle Fowler Go FAS Racing Ford Brakes
42 Ryan Preece Phil Parsons Racing Ford 135 Laps
43 Clint Bowyer Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota Accident

CHASE STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Jeff Gordon 4047
2 Kyle Busch 4039
3 Martin Truex Jr. 4039
4 Kevin Harvick 4037
5 Carl Edwards 4030
6 Brad Keselowski 4013
7 Kurt Busch 4011
8 Joey Logano 4009

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