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Jimmie Johnson Continues Hendrick Domination With 2006 Subway 500 Win

Hendrick Motorsports Drivers Once Again Dominate At Martinsville Speedway

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Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville Speedway

NASCAR
Updated October 23, 2006
Jimmie Johnson picked up the win today in the 2006 Subway 500 as he continued Hendrick Motorsports' domination. Hendrick drivers have now won six of the last eight Martinsville races. Martinsville Speedway is the only short-track in the 2006 Chase For The Cup. We saw a lot of beating and banging today as drivers battled for track position on the flat, narrow race track.

This was a big day in The Chase as previous point leader Jeff Burton ran into trouble and tightened up the point battle dramatically. With only four races remaining in The Chase this Martinsville race set up a great battle as anybody could win the Championship from here.

Qualifying

Kurt Busch had the fastest time in qualifying and started on the pole in his Penske Dodge. Perennial Martinsville dominator Jeff Gordon was second quick and started on the outside of the front row. Rookie Denny Hamlin started third and Ryan Newman completed row number two. Rounding out the top five Tony Stewart had a good look at completing the 2006 Martinsville sweep.

Drop The Green Flag

Jeff Gordon hustled it up to the lead from the outside of the front row. Gordon claimed five bonus points for leading a lap right off the bat.

Martinsville's close quarters racing did not disappoint early on as the first caution came out just three laps into the show. Point leader Jeff Burton got into the back of Joe Nemechek and caused some minor damage to his grill. If Jeff had hit him just a little bit harder this could have been disastrous.

Storylines

200 laps later Jeff Burton had a problem with his motor that dropped him well off the pace. He just wasn't able to keep up with any other cars on the track. He pitted and drove it straight to the garage. This is a dramatic development for the point race. Burton finished 42nd.

The other main story of the race was one of domination. At the halfway point of the event this race had only seen two leaders. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson were the only two drivers to lead the race at that point. Although other drivers woud eventualy lead portions of the race, Hendrick Motorsports teams have found a great combination for this speedway and have dominated for the last four years.

Chasing The Checkers

A caution with 100 laps to go shuffled the running order as some drivers pitted and others did not. Even among the drivers that pitted some took four tires and others only took two. It is so hard to pass on the tight Martinsville oval that track position is critical. This caution left us with a very interesting finish.

Bobby Labonte stayed out and restarted in the lead but Jimmie Johnson was able to run him down and retake the lead. Denny Hamlin was able to make it interesting as the final restart came with six laps to go but Johnsonwas able to hang on for the win.

Top Ten

  1. Jimmie Johnson
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Bobby Labonte
  4. Tony Stewart
  5. Jeff Gordon
  6. Casey Mears
  7. Kasey Kahne
  8. Jeff Green
  9. Kevin Harvick
  10. Kyle Petty

The Points

Jeff Burton's motor troubles have significantly tightened the points. Burton finished 42nd today and dropped from the point lead all the way to fifth. The top five are now separated by just 48 points with only four races remaining. We have a great point battle on our hands!

The top ten in points are now:

  1. Matt Kenseth -0
  2. Kevin Harvick -36
  3. Jimmie Johnson -41
  4. Denny Hamlin -47
  5. Jeff Burton -48
  6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. -94
  7. Mark Martin -96
  8. Kasey Kahne -99
  9. Jeff Gordon -141
  10. Kyle Busch -171

Next Week

Next weekend the Chase rolls into Atlanta Motor Speedway. While this weekend featured a tight one-groove race track. Atlanta Motor Speedway is the exact opposite as there are multiple grooves available. We will see Chasers running from the white line on the bottom all the way to the outside wall.

We have a great point battle and Atlanta is a great track to host this crucial race in The Chase.

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