Then all hell broke loose at Martinsville Speedway.
And Ryan Newman won.
Nobody was poised for that on Sunday, which is why fans love short-track racing, why they’ve been belly-aching the past two weeks since the snooze-fest at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Newman did have a Hendrick Motorsports engine, but that doesn’t give Hendrick, Gordon, Johnson or even Earnhardt any solace. They were the class of the field all day — leading 441 of 515 laps — and basically came away with nothing.