Event: STP Gas Booster 500 (Round 6 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Winner: Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
SHR Finish: Danica Patrick (Started 32nd, Finished 12th / Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)
Tony Stewart (Started 26th, Finished 17th / Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)
Ryan Newman (Started 10th, Finished 31st / Running, completed 492 of 500 laps)
SHR Points: Tony Stewart (22nd with 135 points, 96 out of first)
Ryan Newman (23rd with 134 points, 97 out of first)
Danica Patrick (26th with 119 points, 112 out of first)
Danica Patrick led the way for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) Sunday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway by finishing 12th in the STP Gas Booster 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet SS for SHR, scored her best Sprint Cup result since finishing eighth in the season-opening Daytona 500.
Patrick’s drive came at one of the most difficult Sprint Cup venues. Martinsville is a .526-mile, paperclip-shaped track, with tight corners and short straightaways. The STP Gas Booster 500 marked Patrick’s 16th career Sprint Cup start but her first at Martinsville. Her rookie performance bested those of some other name drivers in their Martinsville debuts, most notably, her team owner, as Tony Stewart finished 20th in his first Martinsville start (1999). Five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson finished 35th in his Martinsville debut (2002). NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace finished 15th (1984). Dale Jarrett finished 14th (1984). Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 26th (2000). Kyle Busch finished 39th (2005). Matt Kenseth finished 21st (2000). Kurt Busch finished 37th (2000).
Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, finished 17th Sunday in the STP Gas Booster 500.
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet for SHR, finished 31st after sustaining back-to-back, flat right-front tires that left him eight laps down.
Johnson won the STP Gas Booster 500 to score his 62nd career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his eighth at Martinsville. Johnson is the winningest active Sprint Cup driver in Martinsville history. He trails only Richard Petty (15 wins) and Darrell Waltrip (11 wins) on the track’s all-time win list, which has played host to the Sprint Cup Series since 1949.
Clint Bowyer finished .627 of a second behind Johnson in the runner-up spot, while Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch rounded out the top-five. Brad Keselowski, Jamie McMurray, Marcos Ambrose, Greg Biffle and Mark Martin comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were 12 caution periods for 85 laps, with five drivers failing to finish the 500-lap race.
With round six of 36 complete, Stewart leads the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He maintained his 22nd-place standing and is 96 points behind new series leader Johnson. Newman fell three positions to 23rd, 97 points out of first. Patrick gained three spots to climb to 26th, 112 points behind Johnson.
Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished 13 spots ahead of Stenhouse, who placed 25th.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the NRA 500 Saturday, April 13 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its pre-race show at 7 p.m.