GREG BIFFLE REPEATS AT MICHIGAN

Tough Luck for Junior Nation

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was leading at Michigan when he started losing power with his car on Lap 128. It appears that a sour engine became the kryptonite for the No. 88 Man of Steel car (photo courtesy: Geoff Burke, GETTY IMAGES SPORT)

For Greg Biffle it was a repeat win at Michigan. For the Ford Motor Company it was a 1,000th NASCAR victory.

Biffle captured the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday for his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the season in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion. In the process he pushed Ford to its milestone triumph on the day of the company’s 110th birthday.

It was Biffle’s second consecutive win at MIS. He raced to victory last August where Jimmie Johnson was leading with eight laps remaining when he suffered an engine failure.

This year, Biffle held off a fast-closing Johnson in the late stages of the race, but when Johnson suffered a blown tire, his car scraping the wall with two laps remaining, to capture his fourth triumph at MIS in 21 races and his 19th win overall in 381 Sprint Cup races. Biffle also moved up from 10th to eighth in the Chase standings. The Chase will consist of the Top 10 drivers in points plus the two drivers from 11th to 20th with the most wins after Race 26. The Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 17.

“I knew the 48 (Johnson) was really fast,” Biffle said. “I was really worried about the 48 but once this car got in clean air it was all over. The guy (Johnson) started 10th and was behind me with 10 to go. That's a really fast race car. We're not to that level yet but we're sure a lot closer than we have been. This is really exciting to win the 1,000th for Ford.”

Johnson, who led a total of 16 laps, fell victim to what other race leaders faced during the race, untimely bad luck.

Kurt Busch brushed the wall after leading 21 laps. Kasey Kahne was leading with 97 laps remaining in the 200-lap race when his car hit the wall hard, catching fire. And Dale Earnhardt, Jr., was leading on Lap 127 when his engine expired in a cloud of smoke.

“I don’t know if we had as good a car as Jimmie (Johnson), but we had certainly made some gains on it, even in the last stop,” said Earnhardt Jr. “We’ll get it sorted and we’ll be able to come back here and expect to run strong again. I just hate it.”

Biffle helped Roush Fenway Racing record the its 13th win at Michigan, the most by any team at the fastest track in NASCAR.

“MIS had been a great race track and we've had a lot of success here over the years,” Jack Roush said. “I was as proud to help Ford win its 1,000th race in NASCAR as I was to win the race here on the 100th anniversary of the Ford Motor Company that Greg won as well. Those are two milestones that I've been very proud to be a part of.”

Johnson still holds the lead in the standings, although Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards closed the gap at the top from 51 points to 31 after Race 15 of 36 en route to Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 15-17). The Chase will consist of the Top 10 drivers in points plus the two drivers from 11th to 20th with the most wins after Race 26. The Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 17.

Johnson has still never won a Cup race at Michigan.

“I thought this would be the year,” he said. “Most of the time we’re leading and something happens, but I thought, ‘OK, maybe coming from behind would be the difference.’ But something happened.”

Next up for the Sprint Cup drivers is Sonoma on Sunday, June 23 (3 p.m. EDT, TNT, Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90)—Race 16 of 36 en route to Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 15-17). The Chase will consist of the Top 10 drivers in points plus the two drivers from 11th to 20th with the most wins after Race 26. The Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 17.

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