JOEY LOGANO WINS AT MICHIGAN
Jimmie Johnson suffered engine issues and finished 40th at Michigan. Johnson also saw Clint Bowyer trim 34 points from his championship lead with three races left before the Chase (photo courtesy: Justin Edmonds, GETTY IMAGES SPORT)
Joey Logano started the Pure Michigan 400 on the pole on Sunday after setting a track-record mark of 203.949 miles per hour on Friday. He finished the race right where he started.
Mark Martin appeared ready to add to his overall success at Michigan and become the oldest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner at the track. But Logano chased him down over the last few laps before getting by Martin.
It was a weekend loaded with positives for Logano. He moved from 16th to 13th in the points with three more races remaining until the field is set for the 10-race Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup begins. The win also made Logano the youngest Sprint Cup winner at MIS at 23-years old.
“It’s crazy racing Mark Martin, my childhood hero,” Logano said. “I was able to race against him at Pocono last year for the win. It’s so cool racing against a guy like that. This is unbelievable to win here at Michigan in Ford’s backyard. We needed this for our Chase hopes.”
Kevin Harvick was right behind the battle for the lead and was ready to take advantage of a mistake by any of the top two. He closed quickly and was able to get past Martin, but was not able to pass Logano. It was his sixth top-five finish of the season.
The Richard Childress Racing driver holds firm to his fourth-place position in the series standings with the finish. Just three races remain until the field is set for the 10-race Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup begins. The Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 17.
Harvick had good intentions on the last restart of the race on Lap 177 with just Martin in front of him but said he mistimed his restart.
“You know, we never really got out in front by ourselves but our car was really good,” Harvick added. “I was rolling pretty good on the 55 (Martin) and going to beat him to the start/finish line, so I had to check up and that allowed the 22 (Logano) to kind of make it three wide and get under me and we had to fight back from there.”
Kurt Busch had another strong run after leading 43 of the 200 laps in the race. Busch finished third, and moved up two spots in the point standings to ninth with his 11th top 10 finish of 2013.
Jimmie Johnson, the current points leader, had to start from the rear of the field after he crashed during practice on Saturday. He took the lead 44 laps into the race, but the engine in his backup car expired 10 laps later for a 40th–place finish. Johnson now holds a 41-point advantage over second place Clint Bowyer in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., was also among the race leaders who ran into troubles, finishing 36th after brushing the wall 65 laps from the finish when his right front tire failed. He led for a total of 20 laps.
While Hendrick Motorsports drivers Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. had trouble in the race – teammate Kasey Kahne brought his No. 5 car home in seventh position. The finish helped Kahne move up one spot in the point standings to 11th.
Just three races remain until the field is set for the 10-race Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup begins.
Next up for the Sprint Cup drivers is Bristol on Saturday, August 24 (7:30 p.m. EDT, ABC, Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90)—Race 24 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.