Biffle Best at Michigan
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on August 19, 2012 | 4:10 P.M. EST
Greg Biffle captured his third career Michigan victory on Sunday. (Photo: Getty Images)
Biffle ended Roush Fenway Racing’s four-year slump at the two-mile Michigan track by holding off Keselowski in a green-white-checkered finish to score his second win of the year.
The race looked like it belonged to Jimmie Johnson, who worked his way from the rear of the field in a back-up car to take the lead late in the race. But only six laps from finally scoring his first career Michigan victory, Johnson’s engine blew and knocked him out of the race.
That gave Biffle the top spot and he was able to outrun Keselowski in the shootout to the finish.
“It’s an important win,” said Biffle after the race. “We have been working really hard to get back into Victory Lane. Everybody has been working so hard and it’s been awesome to have the support of 3M and Ford and everyone behind us.”
The win vaulted Biffle into the point lead with only three races remaining in the regular season.
“We are going to make a run at the title,” Biffle said. “I know they don’t talk about us a lot, but they will when we get to Vegas.”
Keselowski held on for second in his Miller Lite Dodge to give Penske Racing a solid finish in front of his home state fans.
“Well I think they’re going to start calling me 'Silver Medal' at Penske Racing because we finished second in three out of the last four races,” Keselowski said. “I’m proud of our effort. I just want to get that one more spot. I want to win races and we’ve been running solid and I’m proud of that but we want that one more spot, too.”
Kasey Kahne was involved in an early race incident with Mark Martin, but recovered from that spin to finish third.
“A couple of slower guys spun and then we got caught up in that,” Kahne said. “But it is this team. The guys had the No. 55 car (Martin) basically land in our pit, and they all survived that fortunately. They fixed my car; I had some right front damage there. They patched it up pretty nicely. It didn't drive perfect after that, but it did drive pretty closely to how it was, which was really nice.”
Last June’s Michigan winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fourth with Marcos Ambrose finishing fifth.
Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Paul Menard and Martin Truex Jr. completed the top 10.
Biffle’s point lead is 20 over Matt Kenseth with Earnhardt Jr., Johnson and Keselowski the first five.
The race was filled with attrition, including Johnson’s engine problems. His Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon was knocked out early with a sour power plant, but not before he became upset with another Hendrick teammate in Earnhardt Jr.
“He took me four wide,” Gordon said. “He slipped off Turn 2. I had to check up or wreck all of us. I just didn’t think it was the smartest thing to do, especially to a teammate. But he chose to do it, and that’s fine. That one was pretty close. No big deal.”
Tony Stewart was also sidelined by engine issues with Joey Logano, Regan Smith, Juan Pablo Montoya, Trevor Bayne and Kurt Busch among those who had problems and left with damaged cars.
Martin’s incident with Kahne started with the duo making contact on the front stretch and sliding through the infield. Before it was over, Martin – who won the pole and was leading the race – had his Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota backed into the pit wall after making heavy contact. Martin was uninjured but his car was destroyed.
“I’m disappointed that we got torn up but man what a hot rod,” said Martin. “Big steam under the hood from Toyota and Rodney Childers is such an awesome crew chief. Driving stuff like that – that’s what it’s all about. I’m glad I’m okay and I’m glad to drive that thing – it was awesome.”
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Bristol Motor Speedway next Saturday night.