Jimmie Johnson books NASCAR title shot with Martinsville win

Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson overcame bodywork damage and fuel dramas to win at Martinsville and secure a spot in the Homestead championship showdown

Jimmie Johnson books NASCAR title shot with Martinsville win

Polesitter Martin Truex Jr, fresh from the heartbreak of missing out on the Round of 8 spot last time out at Talledega, held the lead until lap 182 of the 500, when he was passed by the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Matt Kenseth.

Kenseth enjoyed a trouble-free stint of nearly 150 green flag laps but confusion reigned when the caution came out on lap 357 - right as a handful of leaders had opted to pit.

The unusual situation left crew chiefs and series bosses scratching their heads over who was leading when the caution came out, made more confusing by both Johnson and AJ Allmendinger running out of fuel.

But replays revealed that Allmendinger, who had been running at the tail end of the top 10 when the caution came out, inherited the race lead from the frontrunners pitting, effectively putting Kenseth a lap down.

Allmendinger was forced to pit for fuel while the pits were still closed, while Johnson managed to hold on long enough to wait for the pits to open before diving in.

That left Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, who were both exiting the pits when the caution fell, leading on the restart from Johnson, Jamie McMurray and Kenseth.

Johnson worked his way past the reigning champion within five laps, and passed Hamlin on lap 410, paying back an earlier incident where a touch from Hamlin caused left rear damage to the rear of Johnson's car.

Brad Keselowski enjoyed a late surge from eighth to second in the final 100 laps, coming home ahead of Hamlin and Kenseth.

Chase contenders Kyle Busch and Joey Logano both featured in the top 10 in fifth and ninth respectively, while Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch both had days to forget in 20th and 22nd.

RESULT

Pos Driver Team Car Laps
1 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 500
2 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 500
3 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 500
4 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 500
5 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 500
6 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 500
7 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Toyota 500
8 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 500
9 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 500
10 A.J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 500
11 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 499
12 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 499
13 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford 499
14 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 499
15 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 499
16 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 499
17 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 499
18 Michael McDowell Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet 498
19 Ryan Blaney Wood Brothers Racing Ford 498
20 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 498
21 Casey Mears Germain Racing Chevrolet 497
22 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 497
23 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 497
24 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 497
25 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 496
26 Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 496
27 Chris Buescher Front Row Motorsports Ford 495
28 Clint Bowyer HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 495
29 Landon Cassill Front Row Motorsports Ford 494
30 Regan Smith Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 494
31 Dylan Lupton BK Racing Toyota 490
32 Matt DiBenedetto BK Racing Toyota 489
33 Jeffrey Earnhardt Go FAS Racing Ford 486
34 Brian Scott Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 484
35 Michael Annett HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 479
36 Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 477
37 David Ragan BK Racing Toyota 424
38 Reed Sorenson Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 407
39 Gray Gaulding The Motorsports Group Chevrolet 360
40 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 21

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