But Martin held on and led Biffle and Carl Edwards to the finish line. Martin jumped from ninth to seventh in the standings, 113 points behind Stewart with six races left in the Chase. “That’s too far back,” said Martin, that pessimism showing up again. “We can go and win us some more and you never now. But it’s going to be a lot harder now than it was going to be if we could have finished in the top 10 at Talladega.” Martin’s crash early in the race Oct. 2 at Talladega Superspeedway relegated him to a 41st-place finish and, worse, cost him valuable points, sending the four-time series runner-up tumbling to ninth place, 138 points out of first. @Roundup Score:Formula One @Roundup Text:SUZUKA, Japan — Stuck behind Giancarlo Fisichella heading into the final lap of the Japanese Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen was debating which side to try to pass on. Fisichella made Raikkonen’s decision easier. “I was thinking which way to go because the inside is more easy to overtake,” Raikkonen said. “But Fisichella was on the inside so I didn’t have much choice. I went to the outside to try to go around him and luckily I made it. I was very happy.” Raikkonen passed on the outside on the first turn on the Suzuka circuit for a stunning win Sunday. The McLaren driver charged from the back of the starting grid to take his seventh victory of the season and ninth of his career. “Just before my last pit stop I was able to go fast,” Raikkonen said. “I wasn’t too far behind and I thought I could get him. I was able to overtake him on the main straight. Luckily, I made it through.” @Roundup Score:NHRA @Roundup Text:ENNIS, Texas — John Force reclaimed the Funny Car points lead Sunday after Frank Pedregon broke on the starting line in the final at the O’Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex. Force drove his Ford Mustang to a 4.797-second finish at 324.05 mph. He holds a 36-point lead over Gary Scelzi, who fouled out for the second time in his nine-year career in the first round of eliminations. “Next week, it can be turned right back around,” Force said. “Next week, I can come out and lose in the first round and they’ll take the points lead again.” Tony Schumacher won Top Fuel and Greg Anderson took the Pro Stock at the $1.5 million race. Schumacher drove his dragster to a win in 4.523 seconds at 331.77 mph, while Anderson defeated teammate Jason Line with a 6.690 at 206.61 effort. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Mark Martin probably is NASCAR’s best known pessimist. As Martin raced toward a victory Sunday at Kansas Speedway that kept his slim championship hopes alive, he couldn’t shake the feeling that something would keep him from Victory Lane. “We got the lead in the first half of the race and just stayed out front, and that’s a formula for heartbreak in my world because, more often than not, something goes wrong,” Martin said. Not this time. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Teammate Greg Biffle did give the 46-year-old Martin a late scare, but the veteran racer remained out front for the 35th victory of his career. It was Martin’s first points victory — he did win an exhibition event in Charlotte in May — since June 2004 at Dover. To do it, Martin had to hold off his Roush Racing teammates — a lot of them. Martin and Biffle led a team sweep of the top three spots and another Roush driver, Matt Kenseth, finished fifth. But the last laugh might belong to Tony Stewart, who finished fourth and extended his Chase lead from four points to 75. It was Stewart’s 15th top 10-finish in the last 16 races and, more important, his third in the first four events of this year’s 10-race Chase for the Nextel Cup championship. Biffle, another of the 10 drivers in the Chase, passed Stewart for second place 30 laps from the end of the 267-lap Banquet 400 and went after Martin. He cut a lead of about 20 car-lengths to less than half of that.