“That’s just the way our year has been going, it can’t go like this forever,” Jeff Gordon said after exiting his car following the Goody’s 500. Gordon led 329 laps, but sustained damage following a late race restart and then ran out of fuel under the ensuing caution period.
Gordon started 9th and moved through traffic from the outset. He took the race lead on lap 22 and pulled away, thus backing up his speeds from Friday’s practice where he led both sessions. The first caution waved on lap 97 for Kyle Busch’s wall contact. Gordon came to pit road for tires and remained in the lead. On the restart, he pulled out to a more than 2-second lead before hitting lapped traffic on the half-mile track. After dropping to 2nd behind Dale Earnhardt Jr, Gordon came to pit road on lap 223 for a four-tire change.
Following the stops, Gordon resumed the race lead due to a faster on/off pit road time. A caution for Dave Blaney’s wall contact slowed the field on lap 240. Gordon jumped out on the restart before the next caution on lap 264 for Juan Pablo Montoya’s contact with the backstretch wall. A caution for Kasey Kahne on lap 315 slowed the field and brought pit stops. Gordon paced the field until lap 355 when Jimmie Johnson took the lead. Gordon led more laps than he had in any race since Dover in June 2001 (381 laps). A caution for Travis Kvapil on lap 361 brought the leaders to pit road. Gordon beat Johnson off pit road, but Denny Hamlin beat both Hendrick Motorsports cars to take the race lead. On the restart, Johnson took 2nd place from Gordon. Johnson took the race lead from Hamlin with 108 to go, as Gordon followed his teammate around the #11 Toyota.
As the laps wound down, Johnson pulled out to a comfortable lead on his teammate. With 20 to go, Gordon closed to within a half second of Johnson. With 10 to go, Gordon closed to within 3 car lengths of Johnson, but didn’t seem to have the drive off the corner that his teammate did. Gordon took the race lead coming to the caution flag with 3 laps to go with David Reuitimann elected to stop on the race track. On the restart, Clint Bowyer dove into turn one after a push from Ryan Newman and shoved Gordon into Johnson who spun. Gordon sustained damage on the right side of the car. Gordon then ran out of fuel under the ensuing caution period. He finished the event in 14th place
*Gordon jumped 8 spots in the series standings and is now 17th.
*Gordon has led a lap in each of the first 6 races of the season.
Ryan Newman shoved Clint Bowyer into turn one on the gwc restart. The move effectively ended Hendrick Motorsports’ chance for their 200th Cup series victory.
[audio:http://www.scannerbytes.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/2012-04-01-Jeff-Gordon-Goodys-Fast-Relief-500-Martinsville.mp3|titles=2012-04-01 – Jeff Gordon – Goodys Fast Relief 500 – Martinsville]
MP3 Download – with spotter chatter
[audio:http://www.scannerbytes.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/2012-04-01-Jeff-Gordon-Goodys-Fast-Relief-500-Martinsville-with-spotter-chatter.mp3|titles=2012-04-01 – Jeff Gordon – Goodys Fast Relief 500 – Martinsville – with spotter chatter]