Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jeff Gordon Wins at Michigan

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Jeff Gordon won his third race of the season on Sunday in the Pure Michigan 400 from Michigan International Speedway.

Photo courtesy Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images
Gordon led 69 laps on his way to the victory, but he had to outrun Joey Logano to do so.  Logano led a race-high 86 laps, but Gordon said he knew they had the better car.

“It wasn’t easy, it’s never easy to win at any of these tracks,” Gordon said.  “That last restart was it.  We had the car to win; our car was amazing, but whoever got out front got such a good advantage.”

Gordon said he’s excited for what the rest of the season holds, and that he should have a strong car in the Chase.

“I have to give so much credit to [crew chief] Alan Gustafson,” Gordon said.  “He’s such a good leader, and I knew he had it in him.  Today was more than just a good race car.”

Gordon won the pole, and he led the field to the green flag. Logano took the lead going through Turn 3 after starting the race in second, and he led until Kyle Busch got into the wall on lap 3 to bring out the first caution.

Logano led the field back to the green flag on lap 8, and led again until the competition caution came out on lap 21 following rain on Saturday night.

Jimmie Johnson stayed out under the caution, and he led the field to the green flag on lap 25.  Going through Turns 1 and 2, Danica Patrick got loose and spun in front of the field.  She collected Justin Allgaier, Martin Truex Jr., Trevor Bayne, Aric Almirola, Matt Kenseth and Michael Annett.

Johnson led the field back to the green flag on lap 31, and he led until the caution came out for debris on lap 37.  Johnson pitted under the caution, and that handed the lead to Logano.

Logano led the field to the green flag on lap 41, and he led until Gordon took the lead on lap 59.

On lap 61, a round of green-flag pit stops began when Brad Keselowski pitted.  When the round of stops cycled around on lap 79, Gordon inherited the lead again.  

Kyle Larson brought the caution out on lap 97 when he hit the wall.  Larson’s car caught on fire after getting into the wall, but he was able to get out of the car without incident.

Ryan Newman led the field to the green flag on lap 109, but Logano took the lead going into Turn 1.  Logano gave up the lead on lap 141 to pit.  In the middle of green-flag pit stops, Keselowski hit the wall while leading when he blew a right-front tire on lap 168.

Logano led Gordon to the green flag on lap 174, but the caution came out on the same lap when Brian Vickers spun in Turn 3.

Logano led the field back to the green flag on lap 178.  He and Kurt Busch raced side-by-side for the lead through Turn 1, and he got loose coming off Turn 2.  He slammed into the outside wall, and then brought out the caution on lap 179 when he blew a tire.

Logano led the field to the green flag on lap 184, but Gordon was able to get a good run and clear Logano for the lead.  He was able to pull away from the field to win his third race of the season.

Unofficial results

1. Jeff Gordon
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Joey Logano
4. Paul Menard
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
6. Clint Bowyer
7. Denny Hamlin
8. Brad Keselowski
9. Jimmie Johnson
10. Greg Biffle
11. Ryan Newman
12. Marcos Ambrose
13. AJ Allmendinger
14. Jamie McMurray
15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
16. Kasey Kahne
17. Casey Mears
18. Danica Patrick
19. Brian Vickers
20. Aric Almirola
21. David Gilliland
22. Austin Dillon
23. Carl Edwards
24. David Ragan
25. Cole Whitt
26. Alex Bowman
27. Reed Sorenson
28. Josh Wise
29. Landon Cassill
30. J.J. Yeley
31. Kurt Busch
32. Travis Kvapil
33. Dave Blaney
34. Alex Kennedy
35. Joe Nemechek
36. Martin Truex Jr.
37. Jeff Burton
38. Matt Kenseth
39. Kyle Busch
40. Michael Annett
41. Trevor Bayne
42. Justin Allgaier
43. Kyle Larson

With just three races remaining before the Chase for the Sprint Cup, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway.  The Irwin Tools Night Race is next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. EST on ABC.

Photo courtesy Jerry Markland/Getty Images

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