Martinsville: Gordon nudges to victory

Four-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon scored his first win of the season in the Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway, passing Bobby Labonte for the led on lap 487 of 500

Martinsville: Gordon nudges to victory

Gordon, who becomes the ninth different winner in nine NASCAR races this season, had been hounding Labonte for the lead for 15 laps, but it wasn't until he gave the his opponent's Chevrolet Monte Carlo a small nudge that he finally found a way past.

"We laughed about it," said Gordon. "It wasn't like I just went down in there and took him out. I know that when you're on a short track, you get down to the finish, if you can get to his bumper, then there is usually going to be some contact somewhere along the way. I thought I was kind of nice about it, to be honest."

Starting from pole, Gordon led the first 120 laps of the event, which surprisingly ran caution-free. Labonte started 39th and had not looked much of a threat in the early running, but pulled himself into contention by only changing two tyres on his final pit stop.

Third place went to Dale Earnhardt Jr. He led 195 laps of the event, but found himself squeezed out by Ricky Craven on a restart on lap 437. He fell back to fifth, but recovered to third by the finish. In doing so, he cut dramatically into the points lead of Matt Kenseth, who could only manage 22nd.

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Gordon sweeps to Martinsville pole

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