Biffle wins at Michigan after Johnson's car falters
Greg Biffle won the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday when leader Jimmie Johnson left the track because of engine trouble with six laps left.
Johnson started the race from the back because of an engine change, but made it all the way to the lead and looked as though he had the superior car after passing Brad Keselowski on lap 191 of 200. But he couldn’t hold on, and Biffle took advantage.
After Johnson faltered, there was a caution for oil on the track. Biffle held off Keselowski by 0.416 seconds in the green-white-checkered finish.
Kasey Kahne finished third in the 400-mile race, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Marcos Ambrose.
Biffle took over the points lead, while Johnson dropped from first to fourth.
Pole sitter Mark Martin was sailing along in the lead for most for the first 65 laps before his race ended in scary fashion. Bobby Labonte went into a spin while Martin was coming up from behind, and Martin went sliding off toward pit road. His car crashed frighteningly into the end of a short, narrow barrier on the interior side of pit road.
The side of Martin’s car was essentially impaled by the end of the wall, just in front of the left rear tire and dangerously close to the driver’s seat. But in the smoky scene that followed, Martin was able to get out and walk away.
“I really feel that was a freak accident. I’m not sure you can ever completely fix something like that,” Martin said. “That was a pretty freak angle that I got it. I’m not sure what you can do. It could have been really bad if I would have got into that hole a little deeper where it would have caught me in the door instead of the crush area back there.”
Johnson started from the back, and so did Earnhardt, who was using a backup car after a mishap in practice Saturday. The two Hendrick Motorsports teammates made a solid run of it, but it was Biffle and his No. 16 Ford that emerged at the end.
It was Biffle’s second win of the year and third career victory at MIS. Keselowski, racing in his home state, settled for second place for the second straight week.
Earnhardt won at MIS in June, snapping a four-year losing streak. The last driver to sweep the two Cup races at MIS was Labonte in 1995.
Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon both had motor problems, finishing 32nd and 28th. Gordon, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards entered the race on the outside looking in for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, which starts next month.
Those three didn’t do much to change that. Edwards finished sixth and Busch was 13th. There are three more races before the Chase starts.