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NASCAR at Martinsville 500 2013 Leaderboard: Results, Sprint Cup Standings, More

MARTINSVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 27:  Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 Powered By Kroger at Martinsville Speedway on October 27, 2013 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Richard LangfordCorrespondent IOctober 27, 2013

Jeff Gordon took the checkered flag after passing Matt Kenseth with 21 laps to go at the Martinsville 500 on Sunday, an event marred by 17 cautions and over 100 laps being run under yellow.

Gordon's win helped him make up some ground for the season championship, but the gains were minimal. That is due to the fact that the two Chase leaders ran strong. Kenseth finished second and Jimmie Johnson fifth.

This creates a tie atop the standings with just three races to go.    

Martinsville 500 Results
Pos.DriverManufacturer
1Jeff GordonChevrolet
2Matt KensethToyota
3Clint BowyerToyota
4Brad KeselowskiFord
5Jimmie JohnsonChevrolet
6Kevin HarvickChevrolet
7Denny HamlinToyota
8Dale Earnhardt Jr.Chevrolet
9Greg BiffleFord
10Jamie McMurrayChevrolet
11Jeff BurtonChevrolet
12Carl EdwardsFord
13Juan Pablo MontoyaChevrolet
14Joey LoganoFord
15Kyle BuschToyota
16Martin Truex Jr.Toyota
17Danica PatrickChevrolet
18Kurt BuschChevrolet
19Marcos AmbroseFord
20Aric AlmirolaFord
21Casey MearsFord
22Paul MenardChevrolet
23David GillilandFord
24Travis KvapilToyota
25Elliott SadlerToyota
26Michael McDowellFord
27Kasey KahneChevrolet
28Ken SchraderFord
29Landon CassillChevrolet
30J.J. YeleyChevrolet
31Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Ford
32Bobby LabonteToyota
33Joe NemechekToyota
34Josh WiseFord
35Cole WhittToyota
36Mark MartinChevrolet
37David ReutimannToyota
38Ryan NewmanChevrolet
39Dave BlaneyChevrolet
40Reed SorensonFord
41Tony RainesChevrolet
42Kyle LarsonChevrolet
43David RaganFord
ESPN
Sprint Cup Standings
Pos.DriverPointsDeficit
1Matt Kenseth22940
2Jimmie Johnson22940
3Jeff Gordon2267-27
4Kevin Harvick2266-28
5Kyle Busch2258-36
6Clint Bowyer2239-55
7Dale Earnhardt Jr.2238-56
8Greg Biffle2236-58
9Kurt Busch2219-75
10Carl Edwards2218-76
11Joey Logano2209-85
12Ryan Newman2188-106
13Kasey Kahne2170-124
ESPN

Eight-time Martinsville winner Johnson entered this race with a slim four-point lead on Matt Kenseth. Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch were next in line at 26 points behind. Still, the way Johnson and Kenseth have been running, all eyes were on those two when it came to the Chase for the Sprint Cup.   

Both drivers started in the front two rows. NASCAR tweeted this picture of the race start:

Johnson was strong from the beginning, and to help his effort, teammate Jeff Gordon worked his way into second. Making this even more ideal for Johnson is whom Gordon passed to take over second: 

The pair looked like they had the cars to dominate the track. However, with an ample amount of cautions about to take over this race, we were set for a day of endless pack-jumbling and strategic pit stops. 

Watching Johnson, it was easy to tell how much was at stake in this race. He was driving as aggressively as he has all year. Johnson was consistently positioned on the outside on restarts, as the outside lane was really rough Sunday—a noticeable disadvantage.

Johnson, who was not afraid to cut others off to get back on the inside, was lucky one of the interior drivers did not send him into the wall. 

He certainly didn't make any friends: 

Meanwhile, Matt Kenseth took a gamble with under 200 laps to go to grab fresh tires. The move cost him his place on the track, but it soon had him in a favorable position. 

However, with all the cautions in this race, Kenseth couldn't get the long run he needed to really make that gamble pay off, and in the process, Johnson also replaced his tires and began to charge through the field. 

Johnson moved back into the top 10 with 140 laps to go. Meanwhile, Kenseth had reclaimed second and was chasing Clint Bowyer. 

We soon had another caution, the 15th of the day, and Johnson and Kenseth both swapped tires. Kenseth began that restart in third and Johnson seventh. Soon after the restart, Kenseth had pulled out in front. 

Kenseth got comfortable in the lead, and on the 98th lap, he passed Johnson for most laps led on the day, which is important due to the bonus point that comes with it.

However, this is when No. 24 began running down Kenseth.

Jeff Gordon would not relent. Entering this race 34 points back, he was yearning for the win, and with 21 laps to go, Gordon took the lead. That put Kenseth in second, with Johnson trailing in fifth. 

Gordon began to pull away to take the checkered flag, while Kenseth narrowly held off Clint Bowyer for second.

As Johnson says, this sets up for a dynamic finish to the season.  

Here are the three races left:

Remaining Sprint Races
DateRaceLocation
Nov. 3NSCS at TexasTexas Motor Speedway
Nov. 10NSCS at PhoenixPhoenix International Raceway
Nov. 17Ford 400 at Homestead-MiamiHomestead-Miami Speedway

It is easy to side with Jimmie Johnson when looking ahead at the Chase. The five-time champ is running strong and he has experience.    

However, Kenseth proved he will not go away quietly.

Johnson has been dominant at this track over the years, while Kenseth has struggled. Still, that didn't keep Kenseth from closing the gap on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. 

It is going to be an entertaining final three races. 

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