NASCAR Michigan: Biffle takes first Cup win of the season
|By Scott Mitchell||Sunday, June 16th 2013, 20:44 GMT|
Greg Biffle claimed his first NASCAR Sprint Cup win of the season with victory at Michigan.
The Roush Fenway Ford driver took control in the final round of pitstops and held firm to triumph ahead of Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.
Jimmie Johnson looked like he would mount a last-gasp attempt for an incredible win but he hit the wall with just a handful of laps remaining, damaging the right front tyre of his Hendrick Chevrolet.
Biffle's teammate Carl Edwards did not lead for long from pole, making contact with fellow front row man Kurt Busch, which knocked him back to fifth.
Busch led the early stages but spun his Furniture Row Chevrolet at Turn 2 on lap 29, before Joey Logano, Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. had turns leading.
Kasey Kahne then passed Earnhardt and proceeded to pull out a near-four second lead.
However, a blown right front tyre led to a hefty impact with the wall for Kahne at Turn 2 just after the halfway mark.
Earnhardt then assumed the lead but capped a miserable afternoon for the Hendrick squad by blowing his engine, causing the seventh caution of the race.
Johnson's decision to fit four new tyres at the penultimate round of stops while the remainder - led by Edwards, Logano and Biffle - fitted just two would prove crucial for track position.
Biffle then set about passing the pair in front of him and a timely caution just after a green flag stop had him in front for the restart, as Logano took on four tyres and Johnson - who had recovered yet again to run at the front - lost time filling up with more fuel.
Biffle extended his lead in front as Johnson worked his way back through to second - again - and he had closed to 0.5s behind Biffle before his incident three laps from home.
That left Biffle clear to take the win - his second in a row at Michigan, and Ford's 1,000th as a NASCAR manufacturer.
Results - 200 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 2h52m19s 2. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet +2.989s 3. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota +3.243s 4. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota +10.165s 5. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +11.933s 6. Matt Kenseth Gibbs Toyota +12.114s 7. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota +15.450s 8. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford +15.914s 9. Joey Logano Penske Ford +16.383s 10. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet +16.925s 11. Austin Dillon Childress Chevrolet +17.618s 12. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford +17.900s 13. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +18.586s 14. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet +19.054s 15. Trevor Bayne Wood Bros. Ford +22.469s 16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford +22.838s 17. Aric Almirola Petty Ford +24.757s 18. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +27.241s 19. AJ Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Toyota +27.478s 20. Juan Pablo Montoya EGR Chevrolet +28.942s 21. Casey Mears Germain Ford +28.974s 22. David Gilliland Front Row Ford +30.176s 23. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford +32.327s 24. JJ Yeley Baldwin Chevrolet +32.469s 25. David Ragan Front Row Ford +34.701s 26. Mark Martin Waltrip Toyota +36.098s 27. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota +39.129s 28. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet -1 lap 29. David Stremme Swan Toyota -1 lap 30. Denny Hamlin Gibbs Toyota -1 lap 31. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet -1 lap 32. David Reutimann BK Toyota -2 laps 33. Jamie McMurray EGR Chevrolet -4 laps 34. Ken Schrader FAS Lane Ford -5 laps 35. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet -7 laps 36. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota -7 laps Retirements: Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 131 laps Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 103 laps Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 52 laps Josh Wise Front Row Ford 51 laps Mike Bliss Humphrey Smith Toyota 50 laps Michael McDowell Phil Parsons Ford 36 laps Bobby Labonte Phoenix Chevrolet 5 laps