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Sunday, 17 August, 2014 8:16 PM
Jeff Gordon wins the Pure Michigan 400 from the pole
Gordon celebrates his victory
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Jeff Gordon had a restart to remember as the lap wound down in the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday. He used that momentum to record his third victory of the season, and his third win at track.
For the upstart Joey Logano it was one restart too many, by his own admission.
Gordon used a restart to remember with 17 laps remaining in the 45th annual Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway.
On the last restart of the race, Gordon finally outdueled Logano for the lead after Logano had zoomed ahead on the three previous restarts to keep Gordon at bay in their battle that had materialized into a two-driver race.
Once in front, Gordon eased away to a victory over Kevin Harvick. The very disappointed Logano finished third, followed by Paul Menard and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
It was Gordon’s third triumph this season and 91st in 748 NASCAR Sprint Cup races. The four-time Sprint Cup champion last won titles in 2001 and 1998. Both times he won races at both Indianapolis and Michigan. He has now duplicated that feat this season with three races remaining to set the field for the 16-driver, 10-race championship Chase.
“I kept getting in the inside lane and not getting good restarts and I knew that last restart was going to get exciting with Kurt (Busch) and Joey,” Gordon explained. “Those two are very, very aggressive.”
With Gordon and Logano lined up side by side on a restart with 23 laps to go, Kurt Busch made a very aggressive attempt to pass Gordon and then Logano for the lead but ended up brushing the wall.
That set up the final restart with 17 laps remaining which was all but destined to decide the race winner.
“That last restart was it,” Gordon said. “We had the car to win. Our car was amazing but whoever got out front had such a huge advantage. I got a good restart and Joey was sort of outside by himself. I was able to get to his quarter panel and drag him back. I was able to shoot to the bottom and get by Joey, but he made a heck of an effort and I thought he was going to get back by me.
“He almost did,” Gordon continued. “I just needed a couple of laps for my tires to come in, they did, and all of a sudden we were out front and the checkered flag was waving. This was unbelievably awesome.”
Logano, with his seventh top-10 finish in 12 races at MIS, felt he let this one get away, the last restart his downfall.
“We were battling on those restarts pretty hard, I used every trick in the book I had and I know the 24 (Gordon) was also laying back pretty hard,” Logano said. “Every game that could be played was being played on those restarts.
“I had a really good restart on that last one and I had a run, I was clear, I guess, and I should have pulled out in front of him. Instead, he had enough momentum, got to my quarter panel, pulled me back and he had position on me going into the corner. He carried that momentum into the lead. I’m going to relive that in my mind for the next two weeks.”
In the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, Gordon is now tied with Earnhardt, Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson, each with a total of three victories. All but four drivers are locked into the 16-driver Chase field with three races remaining before the Chase begins.
Greg Biffle, with a 10th-place finish, moved up one position into 16th place, based on total points Sunday. Kasey Kahne is in 17th, trailing Biffle by nine points following his 16th place finish.
Johnny Sauter takes homes the checkered flag in the Careers for Veterans 200
Johnny Sauter and ThorSport Racing teammate Matt Crafton gave the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series fans an exciting finish that came down right to the final few laps.
Sauter won the 15th Annual Careers for Veterans 200 presented by The Cooper Standard Foundation and Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation to take over the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points lead. Crafton finished a close second and moved into second in points on the season, just nine behind Sauter.
The teammates battled for the lead the final three circuits as the fans stood to watch the action at Michigan International Speedway.
10th victory in his 142nd Camping World Truck Series race
came at a record pace. The race average speed of 161.110 mph
was the fastest in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history.
The previous record was 154.737 mph at Texas Motor Speedway
on Nov. 2, 2012.
Sauter was the first to pit for a dash of gas. With four laps remaining Crafton made his quick fuel stop. Sauter was bearing down out of turn four high in the groove as Crafton filtered into the low blend lane while trying to pick up as much speed as possible.
Sauter had enough momentum to pass Crafton and maintain the lead to win by 0.433 seconds.
“I saw him (Crafton) when I was coming out of turn four,” Sauter said. “I was looking down pit road and I could see him. When I got to the restart line I could see smoke coming off his tires. At first I thought I had enough momentum to pass him, but then I wasn’t sure.”
Neither was Crafton.
“If I could have had another lap I might have been able to get up on his bumper to see what I could do,” Crafton explained. “It was not a bad day. It was good for ThorSport Racing, but I wish the finish could have been the other way around.”
Ron Hornaday, Jr., finished third followed by Tayler Malsam and Kyle Busch.
Ryan Blaney led the field to the green flag after using strategy to post the best speed in the final qualifying round. His teammate, Joey Logano recorded a track record lap of 187.647 in the second round of qualifying. That lap eclipsed the previous mark of 185.759 set last year by Jeb Burton.
Source: Michigan International Speedway
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