We all knew this was coming. Every since Friday, the theory was out there, bouncing around like a beach ball during a Spring Break concert. It lurked in the back of our minds as the engines fired up, an old song we’ve heard many times before. Even if you didn’t want to believe it, you knew the chances were high.
Martinsville is a predictable short track. Is that an oxymoron? Perhaps, but it’s true; each short track has its conquerors, even if the action can get capricious.
Today, we heard that song ring once more as Jimmie Johnson, and it was in the form of a grandfather clock’s toll.
For the eighth time, Johnson has won at The Paperclip, doing so from the pole position. He had the car to beat, though its condition kept shifting throughout the first half. Keeping the machine clean, he was in the prime position to get the win.
Every competitor knew that he was a force to be reckoned with, and even non-competitor Denny Hamlin could see it.
“@JimmieJohnson won’t have it that easy in the fall I promise,” he tweeted afterwards. “Congrats to them.”
It wasn’t necessarily easy, but contenders fell victim to Five-Time’s wrath and skill.
This win puts Johnson at the top of the points, a place he’s familiar with. Congratulations to him.
Now, for the rest of the race: wow. A lot of people won’t agree with that summarization, but I’ve always been different.
All day, we saw battling, tempers, and even a car on fire. I would say that’s an exciting race, even if there were parts that dragged on. The only way those boring sections could be eliminated is if the race was shorter (but I’m not officially suggesting that because someone will rip me apart for it).
One of the most extraordinary parts of today’s race was the comebacks of two drivers, the first being Mark Martin.
Imagine the struggle that entire team had to go through with someone else in their car. The lowest point, aside from qualifying terribly, was when Martin came in for an unscheduled stop. The crew dropped the jack too early, and the no. 11 started to leave before the left front tire was secured.
But, Martin kept digging and digging and digging. To be perfectly honest, how he came out with a tenth-place finish in unknown, but he did it. Great effort by him and that entire no. 11 team.
The second comeback was completed by that of Danica Patrick. Within the first handful of laps, she spun. Then she fell two laps down. For all we knew, it was going to be another mediocre finish for the no. 10 team.
When she took the wave around twice, however, that put her on the lead lap. She was ready to do some work by that point; passing big names like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, and Greg Biffle, she climbed to a twelfth-place finish.
Her first top fifteen felt like a win to her and her crew, and they deserve to celebrate.
Next week, we saddle up and head to Texas under the lights. Hopefully, the dark will bring exciting things to the Cup series.
Points after Martinsville
1. Jimmie Johnson (–)
2. Brad Keselowski (-6)
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-12)
4. Kyle Busch (-28)
5. Kasey Kahne (-32)
5. Greg Biffle (-32)
7. Carl Edwards (-38)
8. Clint Bowyer (-52)
8. Paul Menard (-52)
10. Matt Kenseth (-59)
11. Joey Logano (-64)
12. Jeff Gordon (-67)