RIDGEWAY, VA :: Jeff Gordon took the lead from Matt Kenseth with 21 laps to go and never looked back on his way to his 88th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory.  The win was the eighth of Gordon’s career at Martinsville Speedway.

“It’s hard to top what it feels like to win, especially when you’ve been through all of what this [No. 24] team has been through,” said Gordon in victory lane during an interview with ESPN. “I’m so proud of them for never giving up. We’ve shown it all year long and we’ve been through a lot, but this is making it all worth it… At the end, I think it was a little too free. But every time I saw him slip a wheel, I tried to conserve my tires and drive the car real straight into the corner and off the corner. I was playing with brake bias and everything else, and I finally saw where he started struggling on the exit.”

Gordon’s win was his first on the 2013 season.  The victory moves him up to third in the standings in NASCAR’s 10 race Chase for the Championship.  The four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion made the Chase after being selected as the 13th driver after a bizarre and controversial series of events at Richmond International Raceway relegated him from the top 10 in the championship standings.

Matt Kenseth finished in second while Jimmie Johnson finished fifth.  Those finishes result in a tie atop the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings between Johnson and Kenseth entering next Sunday’s race at the Texas Motor Speedway.

“Yeah, I mean, whenever your team puts you in front for that last run and you’re out there leading, you get beat, you’re always a little bit disappointed,” Kenseth said about his second place finish.  “I just got beat by honestly experience and a better driver of this track.  I was hesitant to change my line and do the things he was doing because what I was doing got me there and just got too tight at the end, which I wish I could do it over.  I just got slowed up with some lapped cars and he got by.  But overall it was a great day.  I felt really optimistic coming into today.  We had a great car in practice.  It was an up-and-down day with our strategy that time, we got behind, but overall we had a really good car, and not as happy as Jeff but happy to run second.”

With Gordon’s victory, Chevrolet secured its 11th straight Manufacturers Championship – the 37th championship for Chevrolet.

Clint Bowyer finished in third while Brad Keselowski finished fourth and Johnson rounded out the top five.  Completing the top 10 were Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray.  The race was slowed 17 times by cautions.