Four-time champion Jeff Gordon stood triumphantly atop his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Sunday evening at Martinsville Speedway after conquering the Virginia half-mile, with new-found dreams of a fifth championship later this month at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Gordon grabbed the lead from A-J Allmendinger with twenty-two laps remaining and kept the Number-24 car in front the rest of the way to notch his ninety-third career win and ninth at Martinsville, securing a spot in The Championship Four on November 22nd at Homestead. Gordon went into the weekend tied for the top spot with teammate Jimmie Johnson.
His margin of victory was thirty-three one-hundredths of a second over runner-up Jamie McMurray with Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Junior and Kyle Busch completing the top five. Jeb Burton was the highest-finishing rookie, in twenty-seventh place. Earlier in the day, Matt Kenseth and Joe Gibbs Racing found a way to put the brakes on Joey Logano’s three-race winning streak when Kenseth drove into the back of race leader Logano less than fifty laps from the finish – sending Logano into the wall and to the garage for repairs as the Eliminator Round of the post-season Chase began.
Kenseth’s car was crippled from earlier contact with Brad Keselowski and he was running laps down to Logano when they made contact, likely a retaliatory move on Kenseth’s part after the two also got together two weeks ago at Kansas Speedway.
Logano started Sunday’s race from the pole and led 207 of the 454 laps that were run before Kenseth sent him into the wall and to the bottom of the Chase standings.