Sunday at Martinsville Speedway there was plenty of movement in the standings following a wild and caution filled race at Martinsville.
In 2013, Kenseth is now even he is exceeding even his own expectations at certain tracks. Case in point at Martinsville nobody expected him to keep pace with Jimmie Johnson. As the laps wound down it was Kenseth battling for the lead not Johnson. Now try and figure that out. His runner up position has Kenseth in a tie with Johnson for the title.
It was supposed to be Johnson who was leading the most laps, battling for the lead late and end up in victory lane. None of those things happened in what was an eventful race for Johnson that saw a post race “discussion” with Greg Biffle get heated. Fifth place at Martinsville for anyone else would be a good day, for Johnson somewhat of a disappointment.
Gordon is expected to win and contend at Martinsville, period. While everyone else was talking about Kenseth and Johnson on Sunday, Gordon pulled off the late race battle for the lead and won himself another clock to go along with his seven other ones. Quietly, Gordon is under the radar and that is just the way this team likes it. (-27)
Harvick didn’t exactly light the world on fire on Sunday. He ran just outside the top 10 for much of the day. When it counted though Harvick found his way to sixth place and kept pace with those he is chasing. (-28)
Busch has never won in the Sprint Cup series at Martinsville. His success on other short tracks hasn’t equated to a win at Martinsville. Sunday at times looked like he would contend for the win but long runs late in the race and an apparent tire issue as the laps wound down saw a sure top 10 finish turn into a 15th place finish. (-36)
Bowyer has had a good rebound the last few weeks that continued on Sunday when he finished third. Bowyer led laps and was in a good position most of the day. The laps though ran out and Bowyer had to settle for a third place finish. Bowyer is still looking for win number one in 2013 but he came real close on Sunday. (-55)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Earnhardt’s car was beaten, battered and downright falling apart as the laps wore on at Martinsville and he wouldn’t have liked it any other way. Earnhardt ran strong considering all the front end damage. Earnhardt’s strong Chase run continues with an eighth place finish on Sunday. (-56)
It was an eventful day for Biffle at a track that he hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire at in the past. Biffle had a strong car but plenty of contact that led to a pit road discussion with Johnson. He was forced to pit under caution to remove his dangling TV panel. He was able to rebound to ninth. (-57)
Busch just never seemed to have the speed and the track position to contend for the win on Sunday. After contact with Jamie McMurray and then Mark Martin on a restart early in the race they were never able to rebound and he ended up finishing 18th. (-75)
Edwards really needed to hit the pace car on Sunday because he hit almost everything else as the race got going. Contact with Jeff Burton early in the race began what was an eventful day for them. Edwards finished 12th in what was a very interesting day for him. (-76)
It looked like Logano might have something for them on Sunday. He had a strong car early on in the race but strategy never worked in their favor. A hard fought 14th place on Sunday was not what this team was capable of but all in all a solid day for Logano. He avoided trouble on Sunday and gained in the standings. (-85)
Newman survived Talladega but didn’t survive Martinsville. Contact between him and Harvick saw a promising day end with him in the wall. The contact was incidental and Harvick apologized after the race but the damage was done. Newman finished 38th, the lowest of the Chasers. (-106)
The Chase of 2013 continued as usual for Kahne. An incident in front of him involving Denny Hamlin saw Kahne up on the curb and lose multiple laps to the leaders. Kahne never rebounded and finished 27th on Sunday. Disappointing considering how well his teammates ran. Sunday was par for the course for Kahne in the Chase this year. (-124)