Sometimes all it takes is one track to know that things will always work. It doesn't matter what changes, the car, the tire, the weather; the way the track is run consistently remains the same. For one driver, that is what Martinsville is like.
The track has not changed much in it's 66-year history, which is a benefit to those that have run well here.
Aside from one other driver, no one has mastered the track nicknamed the "Paper Clip" better than the driver of the No. 24, Jeff Gordon. Entering Sunday, he won seven races at this track. The problem was that his last win at this track came in 2005, the first year he missed the Chase. This year, he was not originally going to even be in the Chase, but was added due to incidents away from his control.
He's come so close on many occasions to win this year, but there was something about this track that makes him feel extra confident.
When it came down to going for the win, the one guy he had to beat was a driver that outright said he wasn't good at Martinsville, and yet he was one of the more dominating drivers this season. It was Gordon against Matt Kenseth to finish out a day that saw 17 yellow flags, but would end with things under green.
In the end, experience won out, as Gordon made the pass, an held on to finally close the deal on his first win of the 2013 season. The clock hasn't exactly chimed the end of the career for the Drive to End Hunger driver, instead it's just ticking on.
His win also gave three writers a win in the standings, one as well finally getting his first of the 2013 campaign. It also puts a new driver at the top.
Here's where everyone stands after the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500:
Sal Sigala Jr. (2284) Jeff Gordon WON (2)
Rob Tiongson (2280) Brad Keselowski finished 4th (3)
Rob Blount (2267) Jeff Gordon WON (3)
Dustin Parks (2267) Jeff Gordon WON (1)
Misan Akuya (2266) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 8th (3)
Ryan O'Hara (2260) Clint Bowyer finished 3rd (1)
Billy Fellin (2258) Jeff Gordon WON (3)
Kelly Crandall (2252) Jimmie Johnson finished 5th (1)
Patti Rodisch (2250) Jimmie Johnson finished 5th (0)
Kara Martin (2238) Kyle Busch finished 15th (1)
James Broomhead (2214) Jimmie Johnson finished 5th (2)
Michael Hirshbein (2183) Paul Menard finished 22nd (3)
Next Race: The short-track season has ended for NASCAR, but the season still has three events left. Each race keeps getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger. If that is an indication of what's to come, the next race is very appropriate.
Race eight in the Chase heads to the deep south, where usually at this time of the year the biggest thing going on is fans deciding to "Hook em horns" on Saturday afternoons. Instead, it's a Sunday afternoon that will take headlines as NASCAR heads to the Texas Motor Speedway.
Get out the spurs and hats, as writers you must reel in your picks by Thursday, October 31, at 10 p.m. ET for the AAA Texas 500.