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Magic 8th for Johnson at Martinsville

"I made a mistake on pit road and got us way behind," he admitted. "We tried to free it up. We just didn't get it quite freed-up enough. So, I was just trying to get the front end to cut and I knew that we just didn't quite have it.

"On the long runs, I feel like we had the best car, but you know those cautions are going to come out there, he continued. "We were real tight there at the middle part of the race, and then boy - that thing just took off!

"It was a lot of fun. We needed that third place finish, so I'm very proud of this team," he added. "We just needed more laps there at the end."

Busch was able to just hold off Brad Keselowski at the line for fifth place, but admitted that he'd had his eye on better given the early form of the JGR cars during the afternoon.

"We keep finishing top five here all of the time, but it'd sure be nice to figure out some sort of secret that could get us into victory lane here. It would be nice to bring home a grandfather clock, but not this week," shrugged Busch. "We fought hard up there and tried to do what we could and just had to fade gracefully, I guess you'd call it ... There at the end when it was go time, we just didn't quite have enough in this M&M's Camry – just not enough turn and not enough drive off."

Just outside the top ten, Danica Patrick made good on her mid-race comeback from her early issues by finishing in 12th place, finding herself right in the middle a bad-tempered spat between Brian Vickers (who edged her for 11th) and Kevin Harvick (who lost out to both and finished 13th).

"If you're going to block, if you're going to run me across the curb, then you have to get the same in return," said Harvick later, after he'd clearly run into the back of the #55 to spin it following the chequered flag. "We raced hard all day, and we raced clean with a lot of people [but] if you're going to run me through the marbles, then what am I going to do?"

Vickers was mystified as to what had angered Harvick: "We hadn't really raced that much all day, and then he just wrecked us after the chequered flag," said a baffled Vickers. "It was blatant, pretty blatant: he just turned right into us."

On the other hand, Vickers was less than happy with Patrick's final run to the flag on the outside line: "The #10 and I were racing pretty hard. I got to her and got under her several times, and she ran me down in the marbles, ran me across the curb, was blocking pretty bad. So I put the bumper to her a little bit."

On the back of of his eighth Martinsville race win, Johnson jumps back into command of the NASCAR Sprint Cup points standings by nine points over Brad Keselowski; former leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. slips two spots to third as a result of his troubles at Martinsville, while Kyle Busch is up two places to fourth having completed his comeback from two early frustrating outings at the start of the season.




Related Pictures

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Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, races Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Jani-King/STP Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP Gas Booster 500 on April 7, 2013 at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, and Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, lead the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP Gas Booster 500 on April 7, 2013 at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP Gas Booster 500 on April 7, 2013 at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag from NASCAR official Rodney Wise after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP Gas Booster 500 on April 7, 2013 at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 RK Motors Toyota, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Fifth Third Ford, and others are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP Gas Booster 500 on April 7, 2013 at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS won at the chequered flag Sunday, April 7, 2013 at Martinsville Speedway for the STP Gas Booster 500 in Martinsville, Virginia. Jeff Gordon, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS came in third. (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevrolet)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS celebrates victory Sunday, April 7, 2013 at Martinsville Speedway for the STP Gas Booster 500 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevrolet)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualified for twelfth position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. After a three-race absence, Tony Stewart has returned to the track at Atlanta. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, qualified for fourth position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Newman is 9th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, qualified for third position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Larson is 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, won the Pole position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. It was Harvick`s sixth pole win of the 2014 season. He is 7th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick (L), driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, talks to Regan Smith, driver of the #7 TaxSlayer Bowl Chevrolet, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart at Dover International Speedway on May 30 2014. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR Media)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet SS, finished ninth and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Great Stuff Chevrolet SS, finished 28th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS, finished eighth and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, finished 35th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finished fifth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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