WINNERS & LOSERS
Denny Hamlin got caught on pit road by an untimely caution flag. Jimmie Johnson got caught speeding on pit road.
But neither of them had as bad a day as Martin Truex Jr. and Kasey Kahne, who were involved in a frightening crash at Martinsville Speedway.
They topped a long list of losers in the Goody's Fast Relief 500.
Kevin Harvick – Two wins in a row is proof enough that last year was no fluke and that Harvick and RCR are for real again. Leaped into top five in points with another win.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – His near-upset and impressive runnerup finish should re-energize Junior Nation and give the sport a big spark. Late run to the front is proof positive that crew chief change at Hendrick is working.
Kyle Busch – Disappointing finish on a day he could have won, but Busch continued to show resilience and maturity. Oh yeah, and he has the points lead.
Juan Pablo Montoya – Impressive top-five finish on a tough short track. He will win on an oval soon.
Jeff Gordon – Getting caught on pit road when last caution flag flew hurt, but he rallied for a much-needed top-five to stop mini-slump since win at Phoenix.
Matt Kenseth – Rallied from early penalty to finish sixth. If he ever gets off to a good start and has a little luck, he will snap his winless streak.
Jamie McMurray – Won the pole and got a badly needed top-10 finish to stop poor start to season. Seventh-place run helped him gain five spots in points to 23rd.
David Ragan – Another driver desperate for a top-10 got one with an eighth-place run.
Denny Hamlin – The Martinsville Master was a bit off this time and caught a bad break when he pitted just before the final caution flag flew. His three-race winning streak at Martinsville ended with a 12-place finish.
Jimmie Johnson – Was ready to pounce when Hamlin caught a bad break, but a rare speeding penalty on his final pit stop doomed him. He finished 11th, just one spot ahead of Hamlin.
Carl Edwards – Points leader struggled all day at his track nemesis and wound up 18th, costing him the points lead.
Martin Truex Jr. – Was already struggling, and then suffered a vicious crash when the throttle stuck on his car. He was happy just to escape such a blow uninjured.
Kasey Kahne – Was running well early, faded, and then got walloped when Truex went careening into the wall. A 39th-place finish knocked him out of the top 10 in points.
Kurt Busch – Struggled all day and took out Bobby Labonte when Brian Vickers got into him and knocked him into the curb. Rallied to finish 16th, but an overall bad day for a driver who was off to a good start.
Tony Stewart – Struggled, penalized for changing lanes on a restart, and then got lapped repeatedly en route to a dismal 34th-place finish.
Ryan Newman – Ran up front and was headed for another top-10 finish until his engine soured and then a flat tire sent him for a spin. A 20th-place finish dropped him from second to sixth in points.
Paul Menard – Strong start to the season ended with an ill-handling car and overheating problems that finally sent him to the garage. Finished 38th to fall from seventh to 13th in points.
Jeff Burton – Got beaten, battered and knocked around again to continue the worst start of his career. Lost three more spots in points and is now 28th after six races.
“Ten years ago, I wouldn’t be standing here.” – Martin Truex Jr. on safety improvements after his violent crash.
“It was a good day and our car was a top-10 car, so it was good to finish there.” – David Ragan
“It was probably one of our best runs at Martinsville. It was just circumstances. I guess it was my mistake early and it was just circumstances as to why we didn’t run any better.” – Mattt Kenseth
“Today wasn’t physically tough, we just weren’t very fast. We struggled all day, but we’ll get ’em.” – Carl Edwards
"We had one of the best runs here we have ever had. And I probably had the best car here today. Unfortunately just didn't win with it." – Kyle Busch
"We only got there through the strategy that [crew chief] Steve [Letarte] had staying out. Caught a bunch of guys a lap down, out of sequence on pit stops. So all of the credit really goes to Steve for the finish we had today and the team for really kind of plugging away and making the adjustments." – Dale Earnhardt Jr.