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Tums Fast Relief 500 Update: Jimmie Johnson shows early way, but Jeff Gordon on the charge at first yellow

Jimmie Johnson opened Sunday's Tums Fast Relief 500 at the Martinsville Speedway right where he needed to: out front after winning the pole Friday. Even better was that Brad Keselowski, who led him by seven points entering the weekend, qualified a miserable 32nd.

Johnson led the opening 46 laps before the opening yellow flag for a blown tire by David Stremme., passing the 1,800-lap led threshold for his career at the venerable old speedway. He very well could extend that mark even further, perhaps past the century mark, but to do that he's going to have to hold his teammate and Martinsville Master Jeff Gordon at bay. That doesn't seem all that likely, as Gordon has been the fastest car on the race track since the drop of the green flag and had climbed all the way from 11th to second.

Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Busch completed the top-five.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., in his return to the Sprint Cup series after a two-week break, climbed to 11th from his 20th-place starting position. Earnhardt, who traditionally runs very well at Martinsville, has four-straight top-10s in his last four races there.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.