Jeff Gordon was able to get out in Joey Logano on a restart in the final 20 laps of the 200-lap Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., on Sunday to claim his third win of the 2014 season and his first win at MIS since 2001. Kevin Harvick also got by Logano in the final laps to continue his streak of consecutive second-place finishes at MIS, adding a fourth-straight to the tally.
“It wasn’t easy,” Gordon said. “It’s never easy to win at any of these tracks, especially when aerodynamics and track position mean so much. I thought we learned a lot the last time we were here on track position. Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) just called a perfect race. I kept gettingn on that inside lane and just not getting very good restarts.”
After losing the lead to Gordon, Logano pulled back up beside the eventual race leader, but Gordon got an assist from Harvick to maintain the spot and then Harvick got by Logano for second. Logano also lost third, for a time, to Paul Menard, but was able to get back by in the closing laps. Menard wound up fourth, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five.
“I had a bunch of good ones,” Logano said about his restarts. “The last one wasn’t the greatest. I got through the gear box good and had the 24 cleared, and I should have pulled down in front of him and got that draft, but he got up next to me and pulled me back so hard that I couldn’t get away fromhim. He was able to get position on me into one and once he got that clearn air. I knew I had one more shot. I knew I was really good into one and that was his week point. I drove it off there and got him wiggled a little bit getting undernearth him and cleared him again, but he was able to pull me back again off the corner and then I got loose under him trying to maintain what I had and came in third.”
The yellow flag waved eight times throughout the race, mostly in the first 50 laps and the final 50 laps of the 200-lap race. The first four cautions all came out by lap 36 and the final three all came within the final 32 laps of the event. There was one caution at the midway point of the race.
Logano and Gordon were mainstays up front throughout the race, with Gordon starting on the pole and Logano alongside in second. Logano led a race high 86 laps , while Gordon led 68.
“Whoever got out in front had such a huge advantage,” Gordon said.
Varying pit strategies did put a handful of other drivers up front for a few laps here and there, most notably Ryan Newman. Newman pitted on lap 122, and his team then planned only one more stop through the remaining distance, while everyone else would need two additional stops.
Gordon and Logano, along with most of the race field pitted around lap 139. Then, when Newman made his final stop on lap 162, Gordon, Logano and company then followed a few laps later with their final stops.
After those stops, the sixth caution of the race came on lap 168 and somewhat pushed the reset button on the race with Gordon and Logano up front with everyone on the same pit sequence.
Kurt Busch gpt bu Gordon to take second behind Logano on the restart that followed the lap 168 caution and restarted second to Logano on another restart just a few laps later, but he was the reason for the final caution of the race on lap 178.
Clint Bowyer finished sixth, Denny Hamlin was seventh, and Brad Keselowski eighth. Jimmie Johnson battled a broken shifter lever early but recovered to finish ninth. Greg Biffle rounded out the top-10.