Jeff Gordon and Joey Logano swapped the lead all day long at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, but Gordon took over the lead at the right time which launched him to the 91st win of his career in the Pure Michigan 400.
He had qualified on the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and found himself running behind lap leader Joey Logano for much of the day. Logano had been a master of restarts on the day, often times playing games with his competitors and got the upper hand each time. Gordon was able to figure out something with 16 laps to go. Gordon and Logano were lined up for the restart and Gordon powered to the lead. Logano found himself moving backwards in the field and ended up running fourth when things straightened out. He was able to pass Paul Menard in the closing laps to claim the third spot when the race ended.
Gordon now has three race wins on the season. Other three race winners this season include Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Brad Keselowski.
Kevin Harvick can’t quite seem to find clean air at the end of the race as he finished second in this race – his fourth consecutive runner-up finish. He had a strong run for Stewart-Haas Racing who had been in the spotlight for much of the week.
Harvick’s teammate, Kurt Busch, had a strong run for the lead with 22 laps to go but got aero loose and struck the wall as he was attempting to get by Logano for the top spot. He brought out the last caution of the day and finished in the 31st position. Their teammate, Danica Patrick, got loose on lap 24 and collected eight cars in a large accident. She would get back out on the track and finish in the 18th spot.
Jeff Burton substituted for Tony Stewart in the race at Michigan but his day ended early with an electrical issue inside the dashboard in the car. He was unofficially scored in the 37th position.
Jimmie Johnson looked like he would have another rough day on the racetrack but quick actions by his pit crew and crew chief Chad Knaus kept him in a fighting position for a top ten finish on the day. The gear shifter in his car somehow broke and Johnson and his team would have to improvise to keep him in contention. Johnson attempted to use vice grips to get his car to shift while at the same time come up to speed and blend into the traffic running at 200+ mph. The crew was able to give him a more solid way to shift gears during a caution. Johnson would finish ninth.
Brad Keselowski also had a great comeback after overcoming trouble in the race. On lap 169, Keselowski hit the outside wall due to a tire issue. With quick action from his pit crew, Keselowski was able to rejoin the field without losing any laps. He finished eighth.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Kyle Larson had a strong Chevrolet but a blown right front tire would put his good run up into flames. Literally. Larson hit the outside wall hard and the car caught on fire. Under the new NASCAR rule, the only time you can get out of your car due to an accident without any official at the car directing you to do so is when the racecar is on fire. Larson exited the car and safety crews were immediately on the scene. Larson was transported to the infield care center where he was released and reported no physical injuries.
The top ten: Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Paul Menard, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, and Greg Biffle.
Only four spots remain for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Those drivers who have clinched spots in the Chase (assuming these drivers start in the next three races at Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond): Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, AJ Allmendinger and Kurt Busch.
The next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Saturday, Aug. 23 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Bristol Motor Speedway. Performance Racing Network (PRN) will have the radio broadcast and the race will be televised on ABC.