Monday, June 17, 2013

Biffle Wins the Quicken Loans 400

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Greg Biffle won the Quicken Loans 400 from Michigan International Speedway on Sunday after holding off a challenge from Jimmie Johnson.

Will Schneekloth/Getty Images
Biffle started the day in 19th, and slowly worked his way to the front.  Biffle finally worked his way to the lead on lap 150 when he passed his teammate Carl Edwards for the lead.  After a caution on lap 167, Biffle re-took the lead on the following restart, and he led the final 28 laps on his way to victory.

The win was the 1,000th win for Ford in NASCAR, and it was Biffle's first victory of the season.  Biffle said that he knew Johnson was going to be strong in the final laps.

"We knew the 48 was really fast," Biffle told TNT.  "I was really worried about the 48, but when this thing got into clean air it was over."

Jimmie Johnson had a strong car for most of the day, and until the final laps he was the only Hendrick Motorsports driver to not have a problem.  Jeff Gordon was involved in an accident with Bobby Labonte on lap six.  Kasey Kahne cut down a tire and slammed into the outside wall on lap 104 while he was leading.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. was also leading when his engine dropped a cylinder on lap 127.

Johnson looked like he was headed towards a solid finish, but then he cut down a right-front tire with just three laps to go.  Johnson said that while the day was a struggle, his car was very good.

"We had a great racecar," said Johnson.  "We just struggled maintaining track position, but we drove back up through there."

Carl Edwards started the race on the pole, but Kurt Busch got him loose heading into Turn 1 to take the lead.  Gordon and Labonte wrecked in Turn 2 to bring out the first caution on lap six.  Busch was able to maintain the lead on the following restart, and he led until the competition caution on lap 20.

The race restarted on lap 25, and Joey Logano took the lead away from Edwards, who came out of the pits in first.  Kurt Busch spun on lap 29, ending his chances at a victory, and bringing out another caution.   Logano led on the following green flag, and Edwards took the lead under the next caution on lap 40. 

Jamie McMurray took the lead on the restart on lap 45, and Johnson took the lead away from him on lap 65.  The fifth caution of the race came out on lap 76, and this time Earnhardt won the race off pit road.
Earnhardt pulled away from Johnson on the restart on lap 81.  Kahne took the lead on lap 90, and on lap 104 he blew a right-front tire and hit the wall to bring out the caution.  Kahne's car caught on fire, but he was able to get out of the car safely.

Earnhardt led the race on the following restart, but on lap 127 his engine dropped a cylinder.  That allowed Johnson to take the lead, and the caution came out on lap 130 when Earnhardt's engine let go.

Edwards took the lead on lap 136, and Biffle was able to get the lead away from his teammate on lap 150.  Biffle would only lose the lead under the next caution on lap 167, but he was able to get it back on the next restart, and he went on to win the race.

Here are the unofficial results:

1. Greg Biffle
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Kyle Busch
5. Tony Stewart
6. Matt Kenseth
7. Clint Bowyer
8. Carl Edwards
9. Joey Logano
10. Jeff Burton
11. Austin Dillon
12. Brad Keselowski
13. Danica Patrick
14. Paul Menard
15. Trevor Bayne
16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
17. Aric Almirola
18. Ryan Newman
19. AJ Allmendinger
20. Juan Pablo Montoya
21. Casey Mears
22. David Gilliland
23. Marcos Ambrose
24. J.J. Yeley
25. David Ragan
26. Mark Martin
27. Travis Kvapil
28. Jimmie Johnson
29. David Stremme
30. Denny Hamlin
31. Dave Blaney
32. David Reutimann
33. Jamie McMurray
34. Ken Schrader
35. Kurt Busch
36. Joe Nemechek
37. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
38. Kasey Kahne
39. Jeff Gordon
40. Josh Wise
41. Mike Bliss
42. Michael McDowell
43. Bobby Labonte

Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the west coast to race on the road course in Sonoma, California.  The Toyota Save Mart 350 from Sonoma Raceway can be seen next Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ET, only on TNT.

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