Jeff Gordon, driving the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, takes the checkered flag for the 45th Annual Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway, by a margin of victory of 1.413 seconds over 2nd place finisher Kevin Harvick. Jeff Gordon started the race from the pole position, and led for 69 laps of the scheduled 200 laps at the 2 mile oval at MIS.
Gordon has 91 career victories in 748 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. This is Gordon’s third victory of the 2014 season; Gordon also won at Kansas Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This win ties him with Hendrick teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson and Penske driver Brad Keselowski. Gordon has 3 wins at MIS in 44 races at the track.
“So proud of you guys, way to go,” Gordon said on the radio to his crew. “What a season, we’re having.”
Gordon regains the lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings by 3 points over Dale Earnhardt Jr., and is the top seeded driver as they stand now for the Chase. Drivers; A.J. Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin, providing the attempt to qualify for the 3 remaining races prior to the Chase, have sealed their spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion 2014.
Gordon, who started his day on the pole, fought for the top spot the entire race with fellow competitor Joey Logano, who started the race alongside Gordon on the front row. Logano, the class of the field led for 86 laps, combined with Gordon 69 laps for a total of 155 of the schedule 200, making for ¾ of the race.
On the final restart on Lap 184 with Logano and Gordon lined up, Logano led the field into Turn 1 with Gordon diving to the inside and seized the lead from Logano, and leading the remainder of the race. It’s the first time since 2011 that Gordon, four-time series champion, has at least three wins in a season.
NASCAR had announced a rule change, after last weekend’s fatal crash at a dirt track in Upstate New York; that told drivers must remain in their cars until safety personnel or track officials arrived, unless the car deemed too dangerous.
The first incident that show the new rule in effect was when Kyle Larson’s #42 Target Chevrolet exploded in flames after hitting the wall. Larson was unhurt but climbed out of the burning car, but stood beside it until safety personnel arrived to escort him to an ambulance. Larson’s team urged him to exit his race car.
Kevin Harvick finished second, followed by Logano in third, Paul Menard in fourth and Earnhardt Jr. in fifth. Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Keselowski, Johnson, and Greg Biffle finished 6th through 10th respectively. Jeff Burton, while substituting for Tony Stewart, finished the race in 37th place 24 laps down after an earlier accident that also found Matt Kenseth finishing in 38th place 30 laps down.
The next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event is the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway for the ½ mile concrete oval, Saturday, August 23, 2014 with coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC.