A grid of 43 drivers, a handful of them title contenders, were set out to find their way to victory lane after 500 laps of short track racing at Martinsville for the Tums Fast Relief 500. Jimmie Johnson started on the pole; his third of the 2012 season.
Johnson would go on to pick up his seventh win at Martinsville. The win tied him with Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace for the third most at the track. The all time leader is Richard Petty with 15.
Johnson said they had a great race car, and that they thought they made the right decision by not pitting too late, “We are ecstatic about the win, about the points lead but this is no cake walk we have to keep working hard to get this Lowes Chevrolet up front. ”
Brad Keselowski, entered the race as the points leader, he qualified in 32nd position but ended up taking his No.2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger and finishing in sixth place.
Johnson is now the points leader, 2 points ahead of Keselowski.
On lap 48, Denny Hamlin was penalized for speeding on pit road. He restarted in 32nd position. By lap 112 he had already entered back into the top 10. On lap 199 Marcos Ambrose spun in turn 2 which brought out the fifth caution of the race. Hamlin was up to second place before the caution but was caught speeding on pit road for the second time and wound up restarting in 28th position.
On lap 372 Hamlin started having issues with his car shutting off and not re-firing. He was on the pace and then off the pace for several laps before it shut off on the front stretch on lap 391 bringing out yet another caution. Hamlin could not get his car re-fired and had to go to the garage. This was a major setback for Hamlin’s title hopes. Hamlin finished in 33rd.
Of his finish, Hamlin said, “Things happen, just have to suck it up and move on. One of these days it will be our time, just not right now”
Earnhardt Jr. finished 21st after he was involved in a wreck on lap 490.
Kyle Busch finished in second, Kasey Kahne in third, Aric Almirola in fourth and Clint Bowyer in fifth.