Jimmie Johnson Picks Up Third Straight Martinsville Speedway Win MARTINSVILLE, VA (October 21, 2007) -- Jimmie Johnson continued his mastery of Martinsville Speedway Sunday afternoon, picking up his third consecutive NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory on...
Jimmie Johnson Picks Up Third Straight Martinsville Speedway Win
MARTINSVILLE, VA (October 21, 2007) -- Jimmie Johnson continued his mastery of Martinsville Speedway Sunday afternoon, picking up his third consecutive NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory on the half-mile track.
Johnson took the lead with 44 laps to go and then held off a hard charge from Ryan Newman for his 30th career victory.
Newman was making a run at Johnson on the final lap when David Ragan spun in the second turn, bringing out the race-record 21st caution flag and preserving Johnson's victory.
"I saw Ryan back there and I knew he was hungry; he hasn't won in a while," Johnson said after his seventh victory of the 2007 season. "I was more worried about him in the closing laps than the 24 (Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon)."
It looked to be another shootout between Johnson and Gordon when Newman forced his way past Gordon with nine laps to go. Newman then began to put pressure on Johnson.
"I still wish we had that last lap back" said Newman, referring to the last-lap caution that took away any chance for a final pass. "I got inside of him and then the white and yellow came out. But it was a great run for us."
Johnson was pleased to see that final caution.
"I went into turn three a little hard and washed up into the center of the turn. I opened the door for him (Newman)," said Johnson.
Kyle Busch finished third to give Hendrick Motorsports three of the top-four spots. Matt Kenseth rounded out the top five.
Johnson became the first driver to win three straight Martinsville races since Rusty Wallace won both races of 1994 and the spring 1995 race.
Gordon posted his 24th top-10 finish in 30 Martinsville starts and his 26th top 10 of the season.
"The day was all over the place for us," said Gordon. "I started great, up front, cruising, the car was fantastic, then it went away and we were fine-tuning all day."
Gordon, the pole-sitter, led the first 108 laps of the race and then again from lap 397 to 456 for a total of 168 on the day, the most of any driver.
Denny Hamlin charged from a 30th starting position to finish sixth, followed by Greg Biffle, Juan Pablo Montoya, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick.
Action returns to Martinsville Speedway on March 30 with the Goody's Cool Orange 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race. The Kroger 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race will be run the day before on March 29. Tickets for both events are on sale and may be purchased by visiting www.racetickets.com or by calling 877.RACE.TIX.
Director, Public Relations