NASCAR »

Martin wins at Michigan as leaders’ tanks run dry

Typical Michigan, but with an extra measure of suspense — the guy who wasn't trying to win the race had a victory fall into his lap.

As is invariably the case at Michigan International Speedway, fuel mileage played a key role in Sunday's LifeLock 400, where Mark Martin was the disbelieving beneficiary when the dominant cars of Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle ran out of gas in the final two miles of the 400-mile race.

Conserving fuel, and content with the prospect of a top-five run, Martin, 50, crossed the finish line 2.992 seconds ahead of Hendrick Motorsports team-mate and runner-up Jeff Gordon, whose car also had enough gas in the tank for the final 44-lap green-flag run.

“Old man, you snookered us again,” Gordon said to Martin during the celebration in victory lane, with Martin still incredulous that he had won the race.

In a rough week for Chevrolet — with budget cuts announced in NASCAR's Nationwide and Camping World Truck series and ominous meetings with Sprint Cup owners on the horizon — Martin put his #5 Chevy in victory lane for the third time this year, tying him for the Cup series lead with Kyle Busch.

With his cooling unit and fans off as fuel-saving measures, Martin earned his 38th career win and vaulted five positions into eighth in the series standings, 321 points behind leader Tony Stewart, who finished seventh Sunday. Gordon, who started from the rear after blowing and changing an engine during Friday's practice, remained second in points, 47 behind Stewart.

“We were just on the outside looking in on this Chase thing,” said Martin, who entered the race 13th in points, one spot out of an eligible position for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. “I thought I could run with them (Johnson and Biffle), but I couldn't run that pace and save gas — and we really needed a finish.

“When Jimmie ran out (approaching the stripe to start the final lap), I said, 'I want to run hard! It's three quarters of a lap. What can happen? I can surely make it.' And we ran out coming off of (Turn 4). I can't believe we won this thing.”

Johnson, who led 146 of 200 laps and twice built leads of more than seven seconds, coasted into the pits as Martin was waiting to enter victory lane. After refuelling his #48 Chevrolet, Johnson had to drive around Martin's car to cross the finish line and was credited with a 22nd-place finish as the last car on the lead lap.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mark Martin celebrates his first victory in 98 attempts afte winning, aged 50, in Phoenix   [pic credit: NASCAR/Getty]
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, races Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, leads Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick drives the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet back to pit road after cutting a tyre during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, lead the field to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, stands on pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover sInternational Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, gets in his car during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, gets ready to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, stands on pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, gets ready to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, leads the field after a restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.