NASCAR »

Michigan Cup: Home advantage helps Biffle claim first win of 2013

The race resumed without him and Labonte and made it to the competition caution during which time everyone pitted for tyres. Kyle Busch also got hit with a penalty for passing on pit road which meant that he was sent to the back of the field; to get back into the top ten where he'd started, he would now have to get past 30 cars on a track hardly ideal for overtaking.

But there was worse news for his brother Kurt, who having led the first 20 laps of the race took the restart in third - and crashed after the #78 broke loose in turn 2. There was a lot of damage to the car and he went multiple laps down while the team worked on running repairs, ending his chances of winning here after looking strong all through practice and qualifying.

"The car just broke loose," explained Busch. "We had a really fast car all weekend and it's a shame that we didn't capitalise on what we had. The driver feels the hurt, the same way the crew and the entire organisation does. But these things happen and all we can do is put this behind us and get ready with the same intensity for next weekend's race."

Like Gordon before him, the pain translates to a five place drop in the championship standings putting Busch down into 20th place, although the former Cup champion was still far from giving up on the season. "We've had these misfortunes before and rebounded," he said. "I don't see any reason why we won't do it again."

Penske's Joey Logano picked up the lead for a short time before the Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing #1 car of Jamie McMurray took over at the front and led for 21 laps. Strong as McMurray was looking, however, there were storm clouds rapidly bearing down on him in the shape of the remaining three Hendrick Motorsport cars still in contention: Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne were all on the move and looking very strong indeed, Johnson duly sweeping in to take the lead on lap 64. Ten laps later, the three Hendrick team mates were running in formation at the front and looked to be threatening a Chevrolet lock-out in Ford's backyard.

A debris caution led to a poor restart for Johnson on lap 81 - although many suspected he might still be making a sharp point to NASCAR about their handling of jump-start penalties against him two weeks ago, as he said he'd jumped off the gas in order to avoid inadvertently overtaking Earnhardt who had spun his wheels at the green flag.

"He spun his tyres and almost ran into the side of me trying to control his car," said Johnson after the race. "I wasn't going to get burned on that again so I jumped off the gas and got drilled from behind. Then my tyres were off the ground and I can't go.

"It's an interesting scenario," he mused about the vexatious issue of being judged to have 'jumped' a restart. "The distance outside of the restart box to the start/finish line that area is something that needs to be addressed. There is a game to be played there and you can cause a heck of a pile up and take out 15-20 cars if you are trying to give it back."

As a result of this latest restart mishap, Johnson dropped down to 12th place - but there was plenty of time to move back up again, and in the meantime the race was still in the safe hands of his team mate. All was good in the land of Hendrick, Jeff Gordon's earlier plight notwithstanding.

By the halfway point on lap 100, Kahne had taken over the lead and Johnson was back up into third place behind his two comrades to resume the team lock-out at the front. And then the Hendrick dream day started to unravel, as Kasey Kahne suddenly had a right front tyre blow out on him while leading and he ended up in a hard hit with the wall that set the #5 ablaze as he scrambled out to safety, pausing only to reach back inside the car to trigger the fire suppression system.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Bobby Labonte, driver of the #51 Phoenix Construction Services Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, are involved in an incident early in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 16, 2013 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, climbs from his car after an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 16, 2013 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M/Give Kids a Smile Ford, celebrates with the checkered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 16, 2013 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M/Give Kids a Smile Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 16, 2013 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Will Schneekloth/Getty Images)
Greg Biffle and his team celebrates with Ford Motor Company at the manufacturer`s 1000th win in NASCAR national competition with victory at Michigan International Speedway in the Quicken Loans 400 Sprint Cup race on Sunday June 16 2013. (Photo Credit: Ford Racing Media Relations)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, finishes in ninth place racing with Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS who finishes in eleventh place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet SS, finishes in eighth place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 TaxAct Chevrolet SS, finishes in 7th place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, finishes in sixth place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, Trevor Bayne, driver of the #6 AdvoCare Ford, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Crew members work on the #25 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, driven by Chase Elliott, after being involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Fastenal Ford, is involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, qualifies for third position Friday, March 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Truex, Jr. is third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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 - 2015 Crash Media Group

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