Heading into Martinsville, Jimmie Johnson had a four point lead over Matt Kenseth. At a track commonly known as “Jimmieville,” many thought that Johnson would easily increase his points lead heading into the final three races. What they didn’t see coming was Kenseth out-performing Johnson on Sunday afternoon.
Historically, Martinsville and Kenseth have had a love-hate relationship. With an average finish below 15th, this could be considered one of his worst tracks giving Johnson the perfect opportunity to increase his points lead. On Sunday however, Kenseth showed once again that a new car and a new team meant different results.
Leading 202 laps out of Sunday’s 500 scheduled, Kenseth was up front most of the race. Finishing a close second behind Jeff Gordon, he regained the points lead, just barely. Johnson finished fifth after leading 123 laps.
Tied at the top of the standings, Kenseth would win the tie-breaker with seven season wins over Johnson’s five.
With only three races left in the season, this battle is closer than ever. Each driver has similar results at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead-Miami which means the Championship won’t be decided until the checkered flag flies in Florida.
With his win on Sunday, Jeff Gordon sits just 27 points behind Johnson and Kenseth. Barring that the two leaders each have a bad race, Gordon is still very much in contention for the title.
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