Cinderella had to contend with midnight.  Western tales depicted gunfighter showdown time as high noon.  At Martinsville Speedway the race winner at NASCAR’s highest level has received a grandfather clock.  Jimmie Johnson now has 8 of those timepieces after blowing away the field in Sunday’s STP Gas Booster 500.  The only drivers with more career wins at Martinsville are Richard Petty with 15 and Darrell Waltrip with 12.

Johnson started on the pole, stayed in the top 5 all race and led the most laps gaining the Chad Knaus Special of “Max Points” in the 48’s second win of the season.  About the only drama at the front of the field was Jeff Gordon closing hard with 53 laps to go about to overtake Johnson when Brian Vickers shredded a left rear tire that bunched the field.  One good pit stop later essentially sealed the win for 5-time.  Clint Bowyer took second with Gordon filling out the podium.

A little deeper in the field resides a notable 12th place finish for Danica Patrick.  That finish turns the head because Martinsville normally is a tough place for rookies.  Another reason for interest is that Patrick was sandwiched between Vickers who took 11th and Kevin Harvick in 13th.  Big deal you say?  See the footage below for the short track extra-curriculars.  Martinsville, baby!

Other than the normal short-track fare, there were no left over effects from two weeks ago when Joey Logano made a few enemies.  For now the bygones apply for Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin.  Although the 11 car was brought home in tenth place by Mark Martin who knows a few things about NASCAR'S oldest speedway.  Johnson leaves the “Paper Clip” with the championship points lead with Brad Keselowski 6 points behind and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 12 points out of the lead.  A relatively quick turnaround arrives with a Saturday night scorcher scheduled for Texas Motor Speedway.

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