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Gordon’s Restarted Career Continues At MIS

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, August 17 2014

Jeff Gordon won at Michigan on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Christa L Thomas)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Last January, during the annual Sprint Cup Series media tour in North Carolina, Jeff Gordon talked at length about the trouble he has been having with restarts during the double-file restart era. On Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, however, it was a perfect restart with 17 laps to go that led to Gordon’s third victory of the season.

“What a season we’re having,” Gordon told his crew over the radio after sealing the win – the 91st of the four-time champion’s career.

And what a restart it was that got him the win. It came restart with Joey Logano leading the race and Gordon on the low side.

Gordon blew past Logano, who led the most laps in the race, and began his run to the checkered flag.

“I kept getting on that inside lane,” the Hendrick Motorsports driver said in Victory Lane, “and not getting very good restarts. That last restart was it. We had the car to win, our car was amazing, but whoever got out front had a huge advantage so I got a good restart.

“I was able to get to his quarter (panel on the inside). When I got to his quarter…I was able to shoot to the bottom and get by.”

The perfect restart along did not seal the win. Gordon had to hold off Logano a lap later as the two went -side by side up the back stretch.

“He made a heck of an effort,” Gordon said. “I thought he was going to get back by me; he almost did. And I just needed a couple of laps for my tires to come in and all of a sudden we were out front and setting sail and the checkered flag was waving. This is just unbelievably awesome.”

Logano said after the race, “I had a bunch of good ones (restarts). The last one wasn’t the greatest. I got through the gear box good and had the 24 (Gordon) cleared and I should have pulled down in front of him and got that draft but he got up next to me and pulled me back so hard that I couldn’t get away from him. He was able to get position on me into one and once he got that clean air I knew I had one more shot. I knew I was really good into one and that was his weak point. I drove it off there and got him wiggled a little bit getting underneath him and cleared him again but he was able to pull me back again off the corner and then I got loose under him trying to maintain what I had and came in third.”

Kevin Harvick finished second, 1.4-seconds back, while Logano was, as mentioned, third.

Rounding out the top five were Paul Menard and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Gordon started the race from the pole but lost the lead to Logano on the first lap. The Team Penske driver held the lead until the competition caution flag came out on Lap 20. Logano and most of the field pitted but Ryan Newman did not and assumed the lead on the restart.

On the restart lap, Danica Patrick spun and wrecked, bringing out another caution. Jimmie Johnson was credited with being in the lead when the yellow waved.

On Lap 37, another caution flag waved and Johnson subsequently pitted and lost the lead Logano. Chasing him was Gordon and on Lap 59, the four-time champion made the pass for the lead.

Logano moved back to the lead during green flag pit stops which started on Lap 61.

Johnson, pitting out of sequence, moved back to the lead when Logano pitted. On Lap 76, Johnson pitted and gave up the lead. During his stop, his crew went to work on a broken shift lever. With the problem not solved, the six-time champ fell off the pace. Taking the lead was Gordon.

On Lap 97, rookie Kyle Larson clipped the wall and his car caught fire. When the race went green again on Lap 109, Newman had the lead. But less than a lap later, Logano moved to the lead.

Gordon moved back to the lead when he passed Logano during green-flag stops.

Logano pitted under green on Lap 165 of the 200-lap race from second place and leader Gordon came in a lap later.

On Lap 168, in the middle of the pitting cycle, Brad Keselowski, who had cycled to the lead, hit the wall to bring out a caution.

When the race restarted on Lap 174, it did so with Logano P1.

But on yet another restart with 17 laps to go, Gordon, who was running second, blew past Logano to take the lead. A lap later, while racing Gordon for the lead, Logano got loose, wiggled and dropped back to fourth.

Once in the lead, Gordon became to slowly build on his lead over second-place Harvick.

(This story will be updated shortly)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – Pure Michigan 400

Michigan International Speedway

Brooklyn, Michigan

Sunday, August 17, 2014

1. (1) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 200, $213686.

2. (6) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 200, $176343.

3. (2) Joey Logano, Ford, 200, $164326.

4. (7) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 200, $136399.

5. (25) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 200, $109900.

6. (19) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 200, $132106.

7. (21) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 200, $108940.

8. (5) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 200, $135173.

9. (30) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 200, $142151.

10. (11) Greg Biffle, Ford, 200, $133990.

11. (12) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 200, $99515.

12. (20) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 200, $117235.

13. (22) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 200, $108448.

14. (9) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 200, $128279.

15. (10) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 200, $126840.

16. (15) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 200, $104140.

17. (26) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 200, $112348.

18. (14) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 200, $95765.

19. (4) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 199, $119565.

20. (23) Aric Almirola, Ford, 199, $125076.

21. (29) David Gilliland, Ford, 199, $108698.

22. (8) Austin Dillon #, Chevrolet, 199, $133151.

23. (3) Carl Edwards, Ford, 198, $101865.

24. (34) David Ragan, Ford, 198, $105448.

25. (36) Cole Whitt #, Toyota, 198, $86015.

26. (32) Alex Bowman #, Toyota, 198, $94562.

27. (40) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 197, $84690.

28. (33) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 197, $84540.

29. (43) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 197, $83865.

30. (31) JJ Yeley(i), Toyota, 197, $82765.

31. (16) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 196, $81140.

32. (38) Travis Kvapil, Ford, 196, $81040.

33. (37) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, 195, $80965.

34. (41) Alex Kennedy, Chevrolet, 195, $80865.

35. (42) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, 195, $88715.

36. (39) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, Accident, 177, $108573.

37. (27) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 176, $114750.

38. (18) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 170, $124941.

39. (24) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 159, $119646.

40. (35) Michael Annett #, Chevrolet, Vibration, 155, $67805.

41. (28) Trevor Bayne(i), Ford, 153, $63805.

42. (17) Justin Allgaier #, Chevrolet, Accident, 97, $67805.

43. (13) Kyle Larson #, Chevrolet, Accident, 94, $82650.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 141.788 mph.

Time of Race: 02 Hrs, 49 Mins, 16 Secs. Margin of Victory: 1.412 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 8 for 37 laps.

Lead Changes: 20 among 8 drivers.

Lap Leaders: J. Gordon 0; J. Logano 1-21; R. Newman 22-24; J. Johnson 25-37; J. Logano 38-55; J. Gordon 56; J. Logano 57; J. Gordon 58-63; D. Earnhardt Jr. 64-67; J. Johnson 68-75; R. Newman 76-78; J. Gordon 79-99; R. Newman 100-107; J. Logano 108-139; Kurt Busch 140-141; J. Gordon 142-164; Kurt Busch 165; B. Keselowski 166-167; K. Kahne 168-169; J. Logano 170-183; J. Gordon 184-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): J. Logano 5 times for 86 laps; J. Gordon 5 times for 68 laps; J. Johnson 2 times for 21 laps; R. Newman 3 times for 14 laps; D. Earnhardt Jr. 1 time for 4 laps; Kurt Busch 2 times for 3 laps; B. Keselowski 1 time for 2 laps; K. Kahne 1 time for 2 laps.

Top 16 in Points: J. Gordon – 816; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 813; B. Keselowski – 733; J. Logano – 714; M. Kenseth – 709; K. Harvick – 687; J. Johnson – 686; C. Edwards – 679; R. Newman – 679; C. Bowyer – 672; G. Biffle – 660; K. Kahne – 651; A. Dillon # – 638; K. Larson # – 636; Kyle Busch – 620; M. Ambrose – 616.

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, August 17 2014
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