Sunday, October 22, 2006

Jimmie Johnson Takes Subway 500 Victory; Matt Kenseth Takes Points Lead

Jimmie Johnson held off Denny Hamlin in the final laps of the Subway 500 at Martinsville as the Chase for the Cup is possibly the closest it has ever been at this point in the year, as Jeff Burton suffered engine trouble and finished 42nd.

Martinsville certainly had its share of twists and turns today, and that was just from the drivers spinning out.  The win by Johnson today coupled with the engine problems for the 31 team has NASCAR's dream come true as there is no longer a favorite for the title with the drivers so close together.

Most of the Chase drivers ran in the top 10 for the majority of the day yet only 5 finished there.  Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were among the top 10 until separate spins took each of them out of contention.  Dale Jr.'s came while battling with Kasey Kahne.  Kahne would go on to finish 7th.  Impressive runs today for Hamlin, who nearly won despite running on 7 cylinders and Bobby Labonte, who captured a second-straight top 10 finish with a 3rd place run.  Mark Martin also had a less than stellar effort, finishing 24th with radiator trouble.

6 down, 4 to go Chase standings:
GREEN is a gain, BLACK is no change, RED is a loss; positions gained (+/-)

1. Kenseth 5848 (+1)
2. Harvick -36 (+1)
3. Johnson -41 (+4)
4. Hamlin -47 (+2)

5. Burton -48 (-4)
6. Earnhardt Jr. -94 (-1)
7. Martin -96 (-3)
8. Kahne -99 (--)
9. Gordon -141 (+1)
10. Busch -171 (-1)

Man... these last four races will be tense.

Complete results from the Subway 500.

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