March 29, 2009

Jimmie Johnson wins Martinsville auto race

Jimmie Johnson beat Denny Hamlin to the checkered flag and won Sunday's Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 Sprint Cup race at the Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

He won the 41st race in his Sprint Cup career despite not leading until he nudged then passed Hamlin with just 16 laps left.

Johnson has won five of the last six races at Martinsville.

It was just a fun day, Johnson said during a post-race interview. We didn't have the best car (but) as the day went on we opted to lose position and worked on it.

Hamlin, who won at Martinsville a ear ago, finished second after leading a race-high 296 laps.

Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer completed the top five finishers.

Despite his fourth place finish, Gordon (959 points) retained his lead in the standings over Clint Bowyer (-89).

Kurt Busch (-132) is third, Johnson (-142) fourth and Hamlin (-148) is fifth.