Jimmie Johnson wins at Martinsville to grab Chase lead

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 28, 2012 in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 28, 2012 in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Mr. Martinsville is back.

Holding off Kyle Busch during a five-lap closing green-flag run at Martinsville Speedway, polesitter Jimmie Johnson won Sunday’s TUMS Fast Relief 500 at the .526-mile short track and grabbed the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series lead from sixth-place finisher Brad Keselowski.

Johnson’s fourth victory of the season and his seventh at Martinsville leaves Johnson in a familiar position. He holds a two-point lead over Keselowski with three races left in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Busch finished second .479 seconds behind the driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet, who won for the 59th time in his career.

Kasey Kahne ran third, followed by Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 21st in his return to racing after a two-week hiatus.

Johnson had the lead on Lap 491 when a chain-reaction spin involving Sam Hornish Jr., Carl Edwards and Earnhardt caused the 11th caution and set up a restart on Lap 496

Denny Hamlin’s championship hopes suffered a crushing blow when his No. 11 suffered electrical problems late in the race. After intermittent losses of power, Hamlin’s car stalled on the frontstretch on Lap 391, causing the eighth caution of the race.

By the time his crew identified and fixed the problem — a broken post on the master cutoff switch — Hamlin was 34 laps down and mired in 33rd place, his finishing position.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.