Sunday, June 16, 2013

Greg Biffle gets 1000th NASCAR win for Ford on their home track

Photo courtesy of Ford Racing 
On Sunday, Greg Biffle persevered to win Quicken Loans 400, giving Ford Racing their 1000th win across all NASCAR series and Biffle's second win in a row at the two-mile track in Brookyn, Michigan.

Over the years, Michigan International Speedway came to be known as a Ford track, the House of Roush, and with good reason. In 88 Cup races, Fords and Mercurys won with regularity up until 2008, when Toyota and Chevy traded wins.

Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr., the second and third-place finishers, couldn't catch the Biff. Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart finished in the top five, but Rowdy and Smoke were no match for the No. 16. 

Despite the swirl of grille-clogging hot dog wrappers and other trash that are typical of MIS, the tenacious veteran outlasted Chevy contenders Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray,  and Jimmie Johnson as well as Roush Fenway teammate Carl Edwards to score his 19th career Sprint Cup victory and his fourth at Michigan. 

"What a great race and a great day for Ford," said Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing. "We are celebrating the 110th birthday of Ford Motor Company today, and I can’t think of a better birthday present than this win here this afternoon.”

Biffle said, "It is a pretty special day for us all together. It is Emma’s first victory lane on Father's Day. I am thinking about my dad that couldn’t be here who is hopefully watching. We are thinking about little Charlie Leffler that doesn’t have a father today." 

He went on to point out, "You know, we beat the 48 today and that says a lot. He was really, really fast. Once we got out in clean air we could match up fairly well with the 48. He made a small mistake trying to catch us.” 

From the drop of the green flag it appeared Chevy was out to foil Ford's efforts to celebrate the milestone at the track Ford Motor Company considers their home track. Kurt Busch pushed past polesitter Carl Edwards to lead not only the first lap, but the next twenty. Unfortunately for Busch, he got loose on Lap 29 and spun, damaging the No. 78 and putting him out of contention for the win.

The Bowtie Brigade led nearly half the race, but each one of those Chevy leaders ran into some sort of problem to keep him from capitalizing on the advantage. The Hendrick cars were especially affected.

Kahne blew a tire and hit the wall, bursting into flames. Earnhardt Jr.'s engine broke with no warning. Junior tried limping around the track until the No. 88 Man of Steel Chevy went up in smoke. Jamie McMurray blew a tire and tore up the sheet metal on the No. 1 McDonald's car. 

Johnson was chasing down Biffle when the No. 48 hit the wall. 

"We cut a right-front tire there at the end. I guess just running that hard trying to get through traffic and get to the No. 16 we wore through the right-front."

Still, there were some bright spots for Chevy. All four RCR cars finished in the top 15 - Kevin Harvick in second, Jeff Burton 10th, Austin Dillon 11th, and Paul Menard 14th. Stewart-Haas had Stewart in fifth, rookie Danica Patrick in 13th, the third-best finish of her brief Cup career, and Ryan Newman in 18th.

"It’s nice to just get a decent finish for the team and for GoDaddy." said Patrick. "It’s been rough going since Martinsville. This will hopefully get everyone’s head up a little bit and we will go on. I think we have been strong lately. We just needed to have days like today where we finished it off.” 

Also of note, AJ Allmendinger pulled out a 19th-place finish for JTG Daugherty in the No. 47, while that ride's normal pilot, Bobby Labonte, spun the Phoenix Racing No. 51 on Lap 5, collecting Jeff Gordon in the process.

For the complete unofficial finishing order, click here.

Jimmie Johnson still holds a 31-point lead over Carl Edwards in the championship standings. For the full listing, check here.

Next week the series heads out west to Sonoma for the first road course race of the season and the new group qualifying rules. Stay tuned!

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