Jeff Gordon wins the 2013 Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Jeff Gordon in 2012
Image: jez s.

Hendrick Motorsports driver Jeff Gordon won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2013 Goody's Headache Relief 500 on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. Gordon started the race in ninth, and eventually won his first race of 2013 and snapping a 32-race winless streak. The race, contested over 500 laps, featured a season-high 17 caution flags for 111 laps and involving 21 drivers, and 15 different race leaders.

The race was primarily dominated by championship contenders Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth, who led 123 and 202 laps, respectively. However, Johnson fell behind after a caution on lap 218, and dropped back further into the field after another caution on lap 229. Kenseth relinquished the lead on lap 237 to Clint Bowyer, and was out of the top ten afterwards. Gordon took the lead from Bowyer on lap 282, which he held for 57 laps. Johnson and Kenseth eventually caught up to the top ten, while Gordon lost positions due to a pit stop, but he reached second place with 80 laps to go. On lap 479, Gordon passed Kenseth entering turns one and two, and led for the remainder of the race. Kenseth finished second, followed by Clint Bowyer, 2012 champion Brad Keselowski, and Johnson closed out the top five. Kevin Harvick, pole-sitter Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Greg Biffle and last week's race winner Jamie McMurray rounded out the top ten.

After winning, Gordon stated:

"It’s hard to top what it feels like to win, especially when you’ve been through what this team has been through. I’m so proud of them for never giving up. We’ve shown it all year long; we’ve been through a lot, but this makes it all worth it. It means a lot to all of us to get a huge win here for points, for the Manufacturers’ Championship, for the Rick Hendrick family and for those we lost several years ago [in a plane crash near the track]. We’ve left so many racetracks looking at each other going, ‘what do we need to do?’ Today, it all came together."

In the points race, Gordon moved up to third, 27 points behind Johnson and Kenseth, who were both tied for the lead with 2,294. The remaining ten drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup were: Harvick (2,266), Kyle Busch (2,258), Bowyer (2,239), Earnhardt (2,238), Biffle (2,236), Kurt Busch (2,219), Carl Edwards (2,218), Joey Logano (2209), Ryan Newman (2,188) and Kasey Kahne (2,170).

The win was Gordon's eighth at Martinsville, tying him with Johnson for the most among active drivers at the track. The win also clinched the Manufacturers' Championship for Chevrolet, the eleventh consecutive title for the American-based manufacturer.

The next race of the season is to be the 2013 AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, to air on ESPN on November 3, 2013.

Official Top-10 Race Results for the 2013 Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500
Position Car Number Team Driver
1 24 Hendrick Motorsports Jeff Gordon
2 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Matt Kenseth
3 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Clint Bowyer
4 2 Penske Racing Brad Keselowski
5 48 Hendrick Motorsports Jimmie Johnson
6 29 Richard Childress Racing Kevin Harvick
7 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Denny Hamlin
8 88 Hendrick Motorsports Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
9 16 Roush Fenway Racing Greg Biffle
10 1 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Jamie McMurray