Racingone Rewind: Michigan

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A look back at Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s 18th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win in Sunday's LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway including news, notes and observations by the RacingOne staff.

OneCast
Click Here to watch RacingOne's recap of the LifeLock 400 at Michigan Int'l Speedway. itunes Podcast

Inside Line
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. used fuel mileage strategy to end his 76-race winless streak and roll into victory lane in Sunday's LifeLocl 400 at Michigan.

Keys to Victory Lane
Earnhardt Jr. took the top spot on lap 194 when David Ragan pitted for fuel and then nursed his car home through a green-white-checkered finish to score his first win for Hendrick Motorsports.

Zero to Hero
Brian Vickers started 18th, was in the mix for the lead early and was shuffled back, but fought his way to a third-place finish for his second straight top five.

Hero to Zero
Greg Biffle was also in the mix for a possible win until a pit road penalty for running over an air hose cost him a lap and sent him to a 20th-place finish.

Rookie of the Race
Sam Hornish Jr. was running as high as second, spun out but still topped the freshman with a 22nd-place finish.

Notables
Elliott Sadler took the green flag 27th and came home ninth. Jamie McMurray started 23rd and notched another top-10 finish. And Paul Menard began the day 26th and scored a solid 11th for DEI.

Race to the Chase
Kyle Busch's 13th-place finish increased his series point lead to 32 over Jeff Burton. Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer took the 11th and 12th spots in the standings while David Ragan dropped to 13th.

Top 35 Standings
Michael Waltrip and Scott Riggs moved up to the 34th and 35th spots with J.J. Yeley and Joe Nemechek holding at 36th and 37th.

LifeLock 400 Loop Data Leaders
• Average Running Position: JImmie Johnson - 3.6
• Fastest Early In a Run: Carl Edwards - 172.710 mph
• Fastest Late In a Run: Matt Kenseth - 168.649 mph
• Fastest Laps Run: Brian Vickers - 34
• Fastest on Restarts: Kyle Busch - 175.073 mph
• Most Passes During Green Flag Conditions: Patrick Carpentier - 121
• Laps In Top 15: Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 203
• Quality Passes: Matt Kenseth - 77
• Speed In Traffic: Brian Vickers - 172.131 mph

Pit Stops
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. captured his 18th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win in his 306th career start. Detailed Active Driver Wins
• Earnhardt Jr. won the 169th race for car owner Rick Hendrick. Detailed Active Car Owner Wins
• Earnhardt Jr. became the 10th driver to win at Michigan from the third position. He also became the 256th driver overall to win a race from that position. Starting Position Facts
• Earnhardt Jr. won the 17th race for Chevrolet at Michigan. It was the first win for the manufacturer since Jeff Gordon's win there in this event in 2001. All-Time Manufacturer Wins
• Kasey Kahne (second) posted his fifth top-10 finish in nine races at Michigan.
• Matt Kenseth (third) posted his 12th top-10 finish in 18 races at Michigan.
• With his fourth-place finish, Brian Vickers posted his second straight top-five finish this season.
• Tony Stewart (fifth) posted his first top-five finish since the May 3 Richmond race.
• Jimmie Johnson (sixth) posted his sixth top-10 finish at MIS in 13 starts.
• Carl Edwards (seventh) has finished in the top 10 in all but one of his MIS starts.
• David Ragan (eighth) posted his fourth top-10 finish of the season.
• Elliott Sadler (ninth) posted his fourth top-10 at MIS in 19 starts.
• Jamie McMurray (10th) posted his third top-10 finish at MIS in 11 starts.
• The 203-lap race saw 31 lead changes among 13 drivers and an average speed of 145.375 mph. Lap Summary
• Eight caution flags were thrown for 22 laps.
• The LifeLock 400 lasted 2 hours, 47 minutes, 34 seconds

Lug Nuts
• Junior's win was just what NASCAR needed after a week of tabloid headlines.
• LifeLock just had to get one more spot on TV with Patrick Carpentier spinning out in the end.
• You can bet that one NASCAR official won't be on Matt Kenseth's Christmas shopping list this year.
• Unreal it took Chevrolet seven years to get back into victory lane at Michigan.
• They don't have a win to show for the effort but Roush Fenway is still awfully good at MIS.
• We do believe Team Red Bull is for real.
• Was that Ryan Newman talking to his agent after the race?
• Every time it seems like Greg Biffle is on the verge of re-signing with Roush, something like the pit road miscue Sunday seems to happen.
• Have we had enough of the Black Gold and Bill Engvall promos yet?

Garage Talk
• "I know exactly what they're going to say. But to hell with it." - Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on his fuel mileage victory.
• "It feels like a win. As bad as we’ve been the last couple of weeks, this feels like a win." - Tony Stewart on his fifth place finish.
• "There are a lot of them that disrespect the sport week in and week out and they act like a bunch of 18-year-old punks, which most of them probably are, and they just need to grow up." - Kevin Harvick on some of the young NASCAR drivers.
• "We just got beat on the pit deal again, and we had an official in front of our car that cost us two spots leaving the pits and that really hurt us." - Matt Kenseth

RacingOne Rating
On a scale of one to 10 social security numbers (which race sponsor LifeLock guarantees they'll protect) we'll give Sunday's LifeLock 400 an eight. Yes, it was another Michigan fuel mileage race like we've seen dozens of times in the Irish Hills, but it was pretty entertaining down the stretch. And there was actually some decent racing in the first half as well. Earnhardt, Jr.'s win will be popular with Junior Nation, to be sure, as well as at NASCAR headquarters as it at least stops for a while the bad publicity of late. Now it's time for that great acquired taste of stock car road racing as the series heads to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma out near beautiful Napa Valley. A little vino will help the spectacle go down easier.

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