Mark Martin Wins Goodys Body Pain 500

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Mark Martin emerged almost unscathed from near-constant hazards brought by a track record-tying 17 caution flags Sunday and his late-race gamble on old tires won the Goody's 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Martin, a non-factor as Rusty Wallace dominated the first 436 laps, went ahead for the first time when he stayed on the track during a caution with 64 laps to go. He never let teammate Jeff Burton get close during the run to the finish.

"Once we got to the lead man, I just ran like a dog, you know, ran like a dog," Martin said after his 32nd career victory, this one by 1.5 seconds. He became the eighth different winner in as many races, a record for the start of a season. The overall record is 13 consecutive different winners, set in 1961.

"There's so much to say here," Martin said in Victory Lane. "Special thanks to Jeff Burton and (Burton's crew chief) Frank Stoddard. We ran so pitiful in practice yesterday that we went to 'em begging to help us and they did."

Martin said he never considered pitting for tires after going in front.

"There was no question we were staying out because, we had actually pitted when other guys hadn't hoping to have fresh tires or something," he said.

"I was hoping to get a top 10 finish, and nobody came and nobody came and nobody came. Right now this feels like the biggest win of my career."

Burton, Martin's teammate with Jack Roush Racing, finished second, followed by Michael Waltrip, Jeff Gordon and defending points champion Dale Jarrett.

It was the first 1-2 finish for Roush drivers since August 1998.

"Me finishing second today is borderline a felony," said Burton, a native of South Boston, about 60 miles from the track. "We might need to spend a few hours in jail before we go home, because we didn't deserve to finish second."

Wallace, who led 343 laps, wound up 10th in his 500th career start.

Defending race champion John Andretti, third when the race went to green for a six-lap dash to the finish, was hit from behind by Waltrip in a pileup in the first turn, wound up on the strip of grass in the turn and finished 14th.

When he got out of his car on pit road after the race, Andretti ran to Waltrip's car and appeared to be screaming at him before heading to his trailer.

"I would rather finish 15th than have happen what did," Waltrip said.

The bizarre finish was set up when Jerry Nadeau hit the wall in turns three and four on the 436th lap. Wallace and the rest of the leaders, including No. 2 Dale Earnhardt and No. 3 Ward Burton, pitted for tires, putting Martin in front.

Wallace, who routinely pulled away from his challengers all day, was 10th after the stops, nowhere near as strong and never got back into contention.

"I just couldn't believe it when I'm sitting there running 15th and 13th and going, 'Man, how in the hell did this happen?'" Wallace said. "But it was all track position. ... With 50 and 60 laps to go, I should never have pitted."

Wallace led 230 of the first 253 laps when brake heat melted the seal around his right front tire, causing him to nearly crash in turn two before limping around the track and into the pits under a green flag. He got four tires, but was two laps down in 31st position when he got back onto the track.

On fresh rubber, Wallace blazed through the field, passing new leader Dale Earnhardt on the 275th lap to get back to one lap down. He then caught a huge break when Jimmy Spencer spun out in turn three on lap No. 308 with the leaders in the pits, bringing out the caution Wallace needed to get back on the lead lap.

The first 14 cars, including Earnhardt, did not pit under the caution, allowing them to stay behind the pace car. But they were on the tail end of the lead lap when it went back to green, with Ken Schrader first and Wallace second.

Wallace quickly overtook Schrader to regain the lead, completing his remarkable surge back to the front just 73 laps after his tire went down.

He just couldn't duplicate the performance on new tires at the end.

Another caution flew when Jeff Gordon bumped points leader Bobby Labonte and spun him out with 135 laps to go. That allowed Earnhardt and the rest of the cars on the tail end of the lead lap to come back around, and the race was back on.

The 17 cautions slowed the race for 112 laps, tying the record set in 1980. The race also featured 14 lead changes among eight drivers, and Martin's victory moved him into scond in the Winston Cup points race, 36 behind Bobby Labonte, who finished 12th.

Goody's Body Pain 500 Race Results

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