In racing they say that teammates can make or break you… or in some cases as Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon did today in Martinsville, they can break a one two finish that only a car owner loves.
The finish for Johnson and Gordon today is what fans waited all day for and what Gordon believed one of the best races he has seen in Martinsville in a long time.
Johnson won for the 26th time in his career and extended Gordon’s winless streak to 24, leaving him one short of tying Dale Earnhardt for sixth on NASCAR’s career victory list with 76. It was Hendricks’ seventh victory in the last nine races at Martinsville, the smallest, oldest and trickiest track on the circuit.
“The only way I could get by him was to wreck him, but he’s my teammate and I tell you what, there’s going to be some interesting racing going forward because he blocked me really bad,” Gordon said. “I thought I had a chance at him a couple times, but he shut the door on me pretty good. … He did exactly what he should have done.”
“It’s kind of one of those starts you dream about,” owner Rick Hendrick said. His teams have now won four races in a row. In another, they finished second and third.
While Hendrick was all smiles at the end of the day some of the owners and drivers were upset with their finish on the day. Most notable was the upset Dale Earnhardt Jr., who perclaimed he was tired of coming to this track and having limited success.
Earnhardt Jr, who was in control of the race before mother nature took over with Earnhardt leading. The race was red-flagged by rain with 357 laps to go. Black clouds surrounded the track, but the delay lasted less than 32 minutes.
When it resumed under a yellow flag, Johnson and Hamlin headed for pit road, a move that paid off when another caution sent the leaders to the pits with about 125 laps remaining and those laps produced one of the best finishes that Martinsville has seen in several years.