Brooklyn, Mich.— Greg Biffle didn’t have the dominant car on the day at Michigan, but that didn’t matter.
When the caution flag came out after the final round of green flag stops when Trevor Bayne’s Ford blew a left-front tire and smacked the turn one wall, the race went from a fuel mileage gamble to an all-out shootout with 14 laps to go.
Before that had even happened, Brad Keselowski was able to take the lead from the Hendrick Motorsports duo of Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in that round of pit stops.
That lead to what most looked to be the restart that would decide the race.
Keselowski and Johnson made up the front row for what wound up being the restart in which the race took it’s biggest turn.
Johnson grabbed the lead from the Michigan native Keselowski as the race came within ten laps to go and looked to have the race in the bag, pulling away from Keselowski and third-place Biffle.
With six laps to go, Johnson’s fate was sealed when the engine expired on his Chevrolet, bringing out the caution for the final time which set up a green-white-checkered finish.
Biffle and Keselowski made up the front row for the two lap dash, with Biffle getting the early jump.
Coming to the white flag, Keselowski made a charge at the lead, attempting to pass Biffle on the inside heading down the front stretch. It was to no avail as Biffle extended his lead over the Penkse Racing Dodge en route to winning Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at the Michigan International Speedway.
“It was a wild race. We struggled with our car throughout the weekend, worked real hard on it overnight,” said Biffle after the race.
“My car was super good at the beginning of the race when the track was green. Once I got on restarts and in traffic, I wasn’t that good.
“We just kept working on it, trying different things. But, we were so good out front. I knew once we got out front we’d be tough to beat.”
This is Biffle’s third win at MIS, and his second win of the 2012 Sprint Cup Series season.
“That pit cycle got us back in the pack, that was really bad, but we got a great restart and made up a bunch of those spots and close up on the 48 at the end.
“I felt like I could catch him(Jimmie Johnson), but passing him might have been another thing. But we’ll never know.
Sunday’s win at MIS puts Roush Fenway Racing as the all-time wins leaders for a team at the track with 12, surpassing the Wood Brothers team in that category.
“The Wood Brothers family is one of my dearest organizations. They did a lot to help us when we got started and we build cars for them today,” said team owner Jack Roush.
“I look up to the Wood Brothers and certainly respect the sacrifices they made over the years to make it a successful organization..”
On top of winning Sunday at MIS, Biffle is also the new Sprint Cup Series points leader, leading Roush Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth heading into next weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“I know that a lot of people don’t expect us to win the championship, and don’t think we can compete for the title. But, we will be a factor when it comes down to Homestead.”
Next up for the Sprint Cup Series is the Irwin Tools Night race at the newly revamped Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night, August 25th.
Pure Michigan 400 Unofficial Results:
1: Greg Biffle
2: Brad Keselowski
3: Kasey Kahne
4: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5: Marcos Ambrose
6: Carl Edwards
7: Clint Bowyer
8: Ryan Newman
9: Paul Menard
10: Martin Truex Jr.
11: Denny Hamlin
12: Sam Hornish Jr.
13: Kyle Busch
14: Jamie McMurray
15: Travis Kvapil
16: Kevin Harvick
17: Matt Kenseth
18: David Gilliland
19: Jeff Burton
20: Aric Almirola
21: David Reutimann
22: Bobby Labonte
23: David Ragan
24: Trevor Bayne
25: Landon Cassill
26: Juan Pablo Montoya
27: Jimmie Johnson
28: Jeff Gordon
29: Regan Smith
30: Kurt Busch
31: Joey Logano
32: Tony Stewart
33: TJ Bell
34: David Stremme
35: Mark Martin
36: Joe Nemechek
37: Casey Mears
38: Dave Blaney
39: Mike Skinner
40: Josh Wise
41: Scott Riggs
42: Reed Sorenson
43: Jason Leffler