MARTINSVILLE, Va. — A NASCAR’s record is absolutely within reach for Jimmie Johnson.

Johnson earned one of four spots in the title-deciding season finale with his ninth career victory Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. The six-time NASCAR champion will race for his seventh championship, which would tie him for the record with Hall of Famers Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt.

“I’ve been trying to ignore this conversation about seven, and now I can’t,” said Johnson, who doesn’t particularly want to start thinking about the stakes just yet.

“I’ll probably lie to all of you guys and say I’m not going to think about it at all. But it’s inevitable. Fortunately, I don’t have to think about it for three weeks. But we’re going to enjoy this and savor it. We’re going to get our ducks in a row for Homestead.”

The victory blocked Joe Gibbs Racing from placing all four of its drivers in the final round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup title. There are only three spots still open for the Nov. 20 finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

JGR’s Carl Edwards had a tire problem and finished 36th – lowest of the eight Chase drivers. Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch are also in trouble after finishing 20th and 22nd.

Brad Keselowski, eliminated from the Chase last week, finished second and was irritated by a lengthy caution when NASCAR struggled to figure out the running order. The caution took 29 laps, and left some grumbling that the order still wasn’t correct when the race restarted.

“I think the stakes are so high, I really wish we would have red-flagged the race, gone, reviewed it and gotten it right,” said third-place finisher Denny Hamlin. “There’s a 100 percent chance it was not right at the end. It changed the running order.

“Hopefully, that doesn’t change what happens going into Homestead. I know that NASCAR is doing everything they can with the scoring they have and things like that. But you have to get it right. It definitely was not right.”

JGR finished third, fourth and fifth with Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch.