Jimmie Johnson won the Tums Fast Relief 500 in Martinsville, Va., and took the lead in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series with three races left.
MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Jimmie Johnson’s expectations are high at Martinsville Speedway, and his results keep showing why.
The five-time Sprint Cup Series champion raced to his seventh career victory on perhaps NASCAR’s trickiest oval Sunday, and winning helped him erase a seven-point deficit and supplant Brad Keselowski as the points leader with three events remaining.
Johnson, who has four victories this year and 59 in his career, respects his competitors in the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.
“These guys are bringing their best each and every week. … The next two races will tell the tale,” he said. “Anything can happen.”
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Johnson moved two points ahead of Keselowski, who finished sixth. The series moves to Texas and Arizona before ending at Homestead-Miami.
“I know this championship’s going to come down to Homestead,” Keselowski said. “You’ve just got to be in position to where you’ve got a shot at it and we’re doing the things it’s going to take.”
Kyle Busch was runner-up in the Tums Fast Relief 500 and Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw was third.
Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., finished 10th.
Kahne is fourth in the Chase standings, 29 points behind Johnson. Biffle is ninth.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., returning to the track after missing two races because of concussions, finished 21st of 43.
Denny Hamlin dropped from third to fifth in the standings; he had an electrical problem and was 33rd.
“When these things happen, you’ve just got to suck it up and move on,” he said.
• Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany took the Indian Grand Prix in Greater Noida for his fourth consecutive Formula One victory. Vettel leads the F1 standings by 13 points over Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari with three races to go.
• Ron Capps raced to his fifth Funny Car victory of the season, winning the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas. Other category winners were Bob Vandergriff Jr. (Top Fuel), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
• Randy Bernard stepped down as chief executive officer of IndyCar, bringing an end to a three-year reign that was disrupted this season by several attempts by team owners to have him ousted as head of the series.
Jeff Belskus, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and president and CEO of Hulman & Co., will serve as interim CEO of the IndyCar Series.