It had been 13 years since Jeff Gordon’s last victory at Michigan – which came during the same season as his most recent championship on NASCAR’s top series.
One of those droughts is finally over. Can the 43-year-old driver end the other as well?
“Certainly things are going well – there’s no doubt about that,” Gordon said. “I’m as shocked as anybody else.”
Gordon raced to his third Sprint Cup victory of the year, holding off Kevin Harvick on Sunday for his first win at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan, since 2001.
Gordon broke the track qualifying record Friday when he took the pole at 206.558 mph. He followed that up with his third Cup victory at MIS – and took over the points lead from Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.
After a series of cautions, Gordon came off the final restart well and led with 16 laps remaining. He fought off a challenge from Joey Logano and maintained a comfortable margin over Harvick, winning the 400-mile race by 1.412 seconds in his No. 24 Chevrolet.
“Joey, as we rolled up to some of the restarts – not that last one, but some of the other ones – as guys were starting to sort of anticipate it, he was slowing down, and when he slowed down, everybody got bottled up, and then he’d take off,” Gordon said. “That last one, I thought he had a good start, but I had a good one, too.”
Harvick was second, followed by Logano, Paul Menard and Earnhardt.
Gordon completed a sweep at MIS for Hendrick. Jimmie Johnson won the June race on the 2-mile oval.
Pole-sitter Will Power fended off Juan Pablo Montoya to win the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin, giving a huge boost to Team Penske’s season title bid.
The 33-year-old Australian added to the slim lead he had in the standings over teammate Helio Castroneves. A Penske driver has finished second each of the previous four seasons and five of the last six.
Power raced to his third victory of the season, and his first on an oval. Montoya, another Penske driver, finished second. Tony Kanaan was third.
Power’s victory ended Ryan Hunter-Reay’s two-year winning streak at the Mile. Hunter-Reay won the Indianapolis 500, but his championship hopes took a hit after exiting following 168 laps with mechanical problems.
Hunter-Reay was third in the standings entering the race. His day had started on a high note after signing a three-year extension with Andretti Autosport to stay in the No. 28 car.
Top Fuel driver Morgan Lucas won for the third time in his career at Brainerd (Minnesota) International Raceway to close the rain-plagued Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.
The Funny Car final between John Force and Ron Capps, and the Pro Stock semifinals and final were postponed due to darkness and inclement weather following a day filled with multiple rain delays.
Racing in those categories will be made up later in the month.