Martinsville Winners and Losers

M.Kenseth

Matt Kenseth was definitely one of the "winners" Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, finishing second to move into a tie for the Chase lead with Jimmie Johnson. (Photo: Getty Images)

The last short-track race of the season produced plenty of winning and losing drivers at Martinsville Speedway.

Winners

Jeff Gordon - A statement win for Gordon - who scored his first victory of the season, eighth at Martinsville and pulled himself closer to the top of the Chase standings in one fell swoop.  Some don't believe Gordon belongs in the Chase as an added 13th participant, but the Hendrick Motorsports driver doesn't care and has his sights set on title No. 5.

Matt Kenseth - Martinsville used to be one of Kenseth's worst tracks until he moved to Joe Gibbs Racing.  Kenseth ran relatively well in the spring but came back to lead 202 laps on Sunday and with a second-place finish, tied Jimmie Johnson for the Chase lead.

Kevin Harvick - Some thought there was no way Harvick would even be in the No. 29 car after Saturday's Truck Series controversy, and his damning words toward Richard Childress and the Dillon boys.  But sponsorship dollars more than likely put an end to any of that talk and Harvick somehow found himself with a sixth-place finish despite a sour engine.

Denny Hamlin - Had a lot of swagger Friday after winning both the Truck and Sprint Cup Series poles.  But things didn't go as well in either race.  However, Hamlin rebounded nicely on Sunday from an early-race incident to lead laps and come home with a top-10 finish.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. - Ran up front and again, inside the top 10.  No chance at the title but still pretty impressive since the Chase-opening dud at Chicagoland Speedway last month.

Losers

Jimmie Johnson - "Mr. Martinsville" didn't have a bad day, by any means.  But when you've accomplished as much at the track as Johnson has during his career, a fifth-place effort is a disappointment.  Rather than pulling away at the head of the Chase pack, Johnson is now tied for the lead.

Kasey Kahne - Hard to believe Kahne was being touted as a potential championship contender not too long ago.  His Chase has been one disaster after another and Sunday's 27th-place finish was the latest example.

Mark Martin - This was not how Martin envisioned his opportunity to fill in for Tony Stewart would go down.  He was an innocent bystander when Kurt Busch spun in front of him, leaving Martin with nowhere to go but to the garage with a battered racecar.

Ryan Newman - The Stewart-Haas Racing frustration wasn't limited to Martin as Newman came home with a 37th-place finish and is, no doubt, counting the days until he begins his career at Richard Childress Racing.

BK Racing - There was a lot of television time for the duo of Travis Kvapil and David Reutiman on Sunday ... all for the wrong reasons.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Motor Racing Network.

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