Martinsville: Gordon's tonic

Jeff Gordon started from the pole, led a remarkable 311 of the 500 laps (including the last 205) and won Sunday's Subway 500 NASCAR race at 0.526-mile Martinsville Speedway. Gordon won from the pole in both Martinsville races this season and has five victories at the quaint Virginia oval

Martinsville: Gordon's tonic

Meanwhile, points leader Matt Kenseth struggled at what he considers one of his most difficult tracks and salvaged 13th place at the finish, good enough to keep his pursuers at the length of a long arm, with the odds increasing each week that they will not catch him.

Closest rival Kevin Harvick finished seventh and gained just 28 points, standing 240 behind with four races to go. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished fourth, is 283 behind, and Ryan Newman, who came home fifth, is 300 back.

The only moment of doubt for Gordon came during caution on Lap 405, with teams debating as to whether or not to take tyres. Earnhardt, who had been shadowing Gordon closely to that point, was one of a few who came in for fresh rubber. Gordon, making a snap decision, decided to stay out, putting distance between himself and Earnhardt, who probably was second-best on the day.

Earnhardt battled back to fourth place at the end but never was in position to charge the leader. Gordon's team-mate Jimmie Johnson ran second through the closing laps but had to settle for a 1.036sec deficit at the finish line. Tony Stewart finished third.

As usual at Martinsville, cautions slowed the racing, with 15 yellows for a record 117 laps.

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