Greg Biffle gave Ford a milestone victory in Brooklyn, Mich., – right down the road from company headquarters.
Biffle raced to his second straight Sprint Cup win at Michigan International Speedway, easily holding off Kevin Harvick after points leader Jimmie Johnson smacked the wall in the final laps Sunday. It was the 1,000th victory for Ford Motor Company across NASCAR’s three national series – Cup, Nationwide and Truck.
It was Biffle’s first win since he overtook Johnson to win at MIS in August. Johnson’s engine faltered with six laps left in that race. This time, he was about a second behind Biffle with three laps to go – but a tire give way, and he dropped all the way to 28th.
Harvick was second, 3 seconds behind Biffle. Martin Truex Jr. was next, followed by Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart.
Johnson wasn’t the only big name who ran into trouble. Jeff Gordon was out of contention almost immediately when he hit a spinning Bobby Labonte less than 10 laps into the 200-lap, 400-mile race. Gordon finished 39th, one spot behind Kasey Kahne, who led at the halfway point but appeared to blow a tire and went sliding into the wall.
Hamlin honors Leffler
Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota changed its paint scheme for the race in Brooklyn, Mich., to the one that was used when Jason Leffler drove the car in 2005.
The tribute paint scheme was Hamlin’s idea and approved by Joe Gibbs Racing and sponsor FedEx following Leffler’s death Wednesday in an accident at a dirt track in New Jersey. He was 37.
“He was the reason FedEx came into the sport and it just made sense,” Hamlin said. “We asked the sponsor if it was good and Joe Gibbs Racing found someone Saturday evening to get somebody here and get it done.”
Hamlin finished 30th.
Leffler drove 19 Sprint Cup Series in 2005 with JGR as it launched the No. 11 as its third team.
John Force ended a 31-event winless streak in the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn., beating Cruz Pedregon in the final round.
The 64-year-old Force raced to his record 135th career victory and fourth at Bristol Dragway. He powered his Ford Mustang to 4.148-second run at 305.29 mph, while Pedregon’s Toyota Camry shut off approaching the finish.
Steve Torrence won the Top Fuel event, and Rodger Brogdon topped the Pro Stock field.