Jeff Gordon used an unprecedented chairman’s selection to get into the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship 48 hours before the opening race.
Now Gordon is trying his hardest to parlay that exemption from NASCAR chairman Brian France into a fifth title.
Gordon pulled into the championship picture Sunday with a win at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va., his first of the season, to move from fifth to third in the Sprint Cup standings with three races remaining. Not too bad for the guy who started the Chase as the 13th driver in the field when France decided Gordon had been denied the ability to fairly race his way into the 12-driver field by the manipulations of at least three other organizations at Richmond.
The win was Gordon’s eighth career victory at Martinsville, but most important is that he’s just 27 points behind Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson who are tied for the Chase for the Sprint Cup lead.
Gordon is third in the standings, with Kevin Harvick 28 points out and Kyle Busch 36 points behind.
Kenseth, who finished the race in second, led a race-high 202 laps and was out front on the final restart with 77 laps remaining and Gordon lurking in third. Gordon stalked Kenseth for more than 50 laps before finally making the pass for the lead with 21 laps remaining.
Greg Biffle, of Vancouver, Wash., finished the race in ninth with Enumclaw’s Kasey Kahne ending 27th.
BIFFLE VS. JOHNSON
Greg Biffle angrily confronted Johnson on pit road after the race, accusing the five-time champion of running into him and tearing off his rear bumper.
“It takes a lot to get a rear bumper to come off,” Biffle said. “I’ve got to look back and see what happened. He claims he was inside of me, but it sure felt like he hit me from behind and rubbed it across.”
Biffle grabbed Johnson’s shoulder to get his attention, exchanged words with him, and as he turned to walk away, Johnson reached to grab his arm to finish the discussion.
FORCE TO RECKON WITH
John Force won his record 16th Funny Car title Sunday, beating daughter Courtney Force in the final round in the NHRA Toyota Nationals held in Las Vegas.
The 64-year-old Force has won three consecutive events and fourth overall for a record career total 138.
He won with a 4.062-second run at 310.63 mph.
Also, Matt Smith wrapped up the Pro Stock Motorcycle season title.
VETTEL WINS 4TH F1 TITLE
Sebastian Vettel, 26, won the Indian Grand Prix in Greater Noida, India, from the pole position to join Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher as the only Formula One drivers to ever win four consecutive F1 championships.