NASCAR At Martinsville: Ryan Newman Wins Carnaged-Filled Finish

After a carnage-filled restart ruined the hopes of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, it was Ryan Newman who won the Goody's Fast Relief 500 for his first -ever win at the Martinsville Speedway. A.J. Allmendinger took a career-best second.

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Goody's Fast Relief 500 Results: Ryan Newman Wins In Wild Finish

With three laps remaining, the Goody's Fast Relief 500 looked like it would come down to Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon to decide which driver would record Rick Hendrick's 200th Sprint Cup win as a team owner.

Then came a caution flag for David Reutimann's stalled Chevrolet and a restart with Johnson and Gordon ahead of Clint Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Bowyer dove under Gordon and Johnson in a bid for the lead, the trio connected, and by the time the field got to the second turn, Johnson and Bowyer were in the wall and Gordon and Earnhardt's machines were damaged.

Ryan Newman avoided all the carnage and held off A.J. Allmendinger on the final restart to score the victory, his first at Martinsville and the third he has scored since joining Stewart-Haas Racing at the team's inception in 2009. He overcame a speeding penalty to win the race, the first driver since Carl Edwards in 2007 at Michigan to do so.

Allmendinger held on to take second, the best finish of his Sprint Cup career. Earnhardt Jr. finished third ahead of Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. The top-10 was completed by Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski, and Bowyer.

Johnson was 12th while Gordon wound up 14th to continue his miserable start to the season.


Goody's Fast Relief 500 Update: Jimmie Johnson Leads With 100 Laps Remaining

After a spirited duel with Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson leads the Goody's Fast Relief 500 at the Martinsville Speedway with 100 laps remaining. Johnson is looking to tie teammate Jeff Gordon, who far and away dominated the opening 350 laps of the race, as the active wins leader at Martinsville with seven. Johnson was ticketed for speeding earlier in the race but worked his way through the field and appears to be in control as the race's conclusion draws ever nearer.

Clint Bowyer runs third in another solid showing with Michael Waltrip Racing, ahead of Hamlin and Ryan Newman. Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth, and Greg Biffle round out the top-10. Newman and Keselowski each have rebounded from pit road speeding penalties.

One driver expected to contend was defending race winner Kevin Harvick, but his Chevrolet has been a handful since he gave up the lead to Gordon after pacing the first 22 circuits. Harvick is currently shown 21st, a lap down.


Goody's Fast Relief 500 Update: Jeff Gordon Leads At Halfway As Kasey Kahne Goes To Garage

All is good for Jeff Gordon, as the seven-time Martinsville winner has thoroughly dominated the first half of the Goody's Fast Relief 500 since taking the lead at lap 22. He briefly lost the lead to Dale Earnhardt Jr. just prior to a cycle of green-flag pit stops, but reclaimed the lead after pitting.

While teammates Gordon and Earnhardt are on a Sunday drive and appear to be making a run at winning today's race, fellow Hendrick driver and polesitter Kasey Kahne is in the garage after the engine on his Chevrolet began to expire. Kahne had pulled behind the wall just before Dave Blaney wrecked in turn two to draw just the second caution flag in the race's first 250 circuits.

Another driver who has endured a day of misery is Kurt Busch. Two right-front tire failures have sent his James Finch-owned Chevrolet into the outer groove. He didn't touch the wall the second time, but both sent him to pit road under green. He now runs a dismal 36th, 13 laps down to Gordon.


Goody's Fast Relief 500 Update: Jeff Gordon Leads Early As Kyle Busch Smacks Wall

It took Jeff Gordon just 22 laps to climb from his ninth-placed starting spot to take the lead at Martinsville Speedway. Gordon overhauled Kevin Harvick and held the lead - despite a flat tire scare - until the first caution flag of the Goody's Fast Relief 500 flew just prior to the lap-100 mark when Kyle Busch made contact with the wall.

Brad Keselowski, polesitter Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top-five at the caution flag. Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Burton, and Aric Almirola rounded out the top-10. Defending race champion Kevin Harvick had dropped to 12th after starting outside the front row. Harvick dominated Saturday's Camping World Truck Series race, leading 248 of the 250 laps en route to the win.

Busch was placed 15th when he lost control entering the third turn and slammed the wall. His Toyota was forced to the garage area, ruining his bid to get his first win at Martinsville. Last season he was fast in both races and led this race late before being passed by Earnhardt and Harvick before they dueled for the win.


NASCAR At Martinsville: Goody's Fast Relief 500 Stories To Watch

The sixth-race of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season brings us to the Martinsville Speedway for today's Goody's Fast Relief 500. Races at the .526-mile paperclip-shaped oval are entertaining for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the tight quarters that bring bent sheetmetal and bent tempers.

Martinsville also promotes varying strategies, which also adds to the enjoyment of a race there. The tires Goodyear brings to the track traditionally last deep into a fuel run, allowing teams to hit pit road under caution and leapfrog past their competitors once they make their stop under a subsequent yellow-flag condition.

The chief hazard at Martinsville is brake heat. No matter how well Goodyear's tires hold up over the course of a run, the searing heat generated by the heavy braking required to navigate the track's tight corners eventually melts the bead of the tire. Long green flag stretches turn into high-speed games of Russian Roulette, and once a driver finally pops a tire and bounces off the wall - usually drawing a caution flag - his competitors hit pit road for their new tires and repeat the process.

While the nature of racing at Martinsville create those headlines, the big stories of course rest with the 43 competitors who will take the green flag in the Goody's Fast Relief 500. Here is a sampling of what to watch for from start to - hopefully - the finish of today's event.

At the track where he got his first win, does Rick Hendrick score his 200th victory as a car owner today? The weekend is already off to a good start in Hendrick's bid for the milestone triumph, which would be his 19th at the track. Kasey Kahne, looking to turn around what has been nothing short of a nightmare opening stretch with the team, won his second pole of the season - becoming the first repeat polesitter of 2012 - and will lead the field to the green. Jeff Gordon, the active wins leader at Martinsville with seven, qualified ninth, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson - a six-time Martinsville victor - will start from the 14th and 22nd positions, respectively.

Will the Grandfather Clock strike on "Denny Time" once again? Virginia native Denny Hamlin has four wins at the short track, including a stretch of three in a row in October 2009-2010. His crew chief, Darian Grubb, won last fall's race with Tony Stewart in rather stunning fashion, rebounding from nearly losing a lap - to Hamlin, the leader at the time - and passing Johnson on the last restart. If Hamlin and Grubb are anywhere near the front of the field as the race draws towards its conclusion, they very well could be celebrating their second win in just six weeks together.

Can A.J. Allmendinger pick up his first checkered flag? Allmendinger has turned in some solid performances at Martinsville, though the results haven't necessarily reflected that. Shorter, flat tracks like Martinsville and the one-mile ovals in Phoenix and New Hampshire have been the sight of some of his better runs, and as a win waiting to happen, today could be his day. His 27th-place starting spot provides a steep challenge, but it is something crew chief Todd Gordon could overcome with the aforementioned track position gambles.

Does Brian Vickers redeem himself for last fall's fiasco? Vickers hit everything but the lottery last October in one of the more ridiculous performances by a single driver in recent memory. His return to the Cup Series two weeks ago at Bristol was certainly an eye-opening success, as he led more laps than anyone other than race-winner Brad Keselowski and finished fifth in easily his best showing since returning from blood clots last season. Martinsville, with its tight turns, is a completely different animal as opposed to Bristol, and how well VIckers - who starts sixth - plays with his competitors could go a long way in determining whether or not he finds himself back behind the wheel on a full-time basis anytime soon.

These are just four of the stories we'll be watching all race long. Tune into FOX 5 Atlanta or your local FOX affiliate at 1 p.m. for the Goody's Fast Relief 500 and follow along with us.


NASCAR At Martinsville 2012: Start Time, TV Schedule And More

NASCAR returns to Martinsville on Sunday for the Goody's Fast Relief 500, which features NASCAR's shortest track on the entire circuit.

Coverage of the Goody's Fast Relief 500 will begin at 1:00 p.m. ET, but the green flag won't be dropped until 1:14 p.m. ET. Televised coverage can be found on FOX.

Kasey Kahne, currently in 27th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings, sits on the pole for today's race. Kevin Harvick, who is currently second in the Spring Cup standings, sits in the second position. Jeff Gluck over at SB Nation posted the entire starting lineup:

  1. Kasey Kahne
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Denny Hamlin
  4. Clint Bowyer
  5. Ryan Newman
  6. Brian Vickers
  7. Brad Keselowski
  8. Kyle Busch
  9. Jeff Gordon
  10. Joey Logano
  11. Paul Menard
  12. Marcos Ambrose
  13. Martin Truex Jr.
  14. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  15. Tony Stewart
  16. Bobby Labonte
  17. Regan Smith
  18. Jeff Burton
  19. Aric Almirola
  20. Jamie McMurray
  21. Matt Kenseth
  22. Jimmie Johnson
  23. Michael McDowell
  24. David Ragan
  25. Casey Mears
  26. Greg Biffle
  27. AJ Allmendinger
  28. Carl Edwards
  29. David Reutimann
  30. Josh Wise
  31. Landon Cassill
  32. Juan Pablo Montoya
  33. Scott Riggs
  34. Travis Kvapil
  35. Reed Sorenson
  36. Ken Schrader
  37. Joe Nemechek
  38. David Gilliland
  39. David Stremme
  40. Kurt Busch
  41. Hermie Sadler
  42. Dave Blaney
  43. JJ Yeley

For more on all things NASCAR, be sure to check out SB Nation's NASCAR hub.


NASCAR At Martinsville: Sprint Cup Racing Returns To The Paperclip

Hendrick Motorsports stands as the undisputed king of Martinsville Speedway, and Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. could be primed to bring him another Grandfather Clock trophy this weekend.

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