In a season that was shaping up to be one of his best in ages all Dale Earnhardt Jr. needed was a win to solidify his Chase potential. And, at the scene of his last win four years ago Jr. delivered big crossing the finish line first and claiming victory at Michigan International Speedway for the running of the Quicken Loans 400.
Snapping a long, dry, seemingly endless drought of 143 races, Junior, second in points coming into the race, had the most Top-10s of any of his competitors but lacked a win. Now he has that and an over-sized monkey off of his back.
Junior’s margin of victory over second place finisher Tony Stewart was a commanding 5.393 seconds.
Matt Kenseth ran a solid third place. His teammate Greg Biffle finished fourth. Jimmie Johnson took fifth.
Jeff Gordon had a good run finishing sixth. Clint Bowyer ran seventh and Juan Pablo Montoya took eighth. Marcos Ambrose, the day’s Pole Sitter, finished in ninth. Kevin Harvick ended the day in tenth.
With a strong run on Sunday Matt Kenseth retains the NASCAR Sprint Cup points lead by four points over Dale Earnhardt Jr. Greg Biffle keeps his third place position. Five-time Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson moved up one spot to fourth. Denny Hamlin, who had a fiery accident, finished 34th for the day and dropped one place to fifth.
Sixth through 10th place saw no movement. Kevin Harvick sits sixth and Martin Truex Jr. seventh. Eighth is occupied by Tony Stewart and ninth by Clint Bowyer. Brad Keselowski rounds out the Top-10.
Next week NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers journey to California for the first of two road races. This first one is held at Sonoma Speedway (formerly Sears Point/Infineon Raceway). Coverage begins at 2pm EST on TNT.
After the race, return to this site for my Toyota/Save Mart 350 Race Recap.
Candice Smith is a writer, columnist, and blogger as well as creator of the widely popular Chief 187™ Chatter. Her works have been featured under the pen name Chief 187™ around the Internet including a syndicated post within the Indie Republic Network where she has conducted in-depth interviews with musicians, Mixed Martial Artists, and other personalities as well as waxes poetic on myriad topics. Candice Smith is currently writing her second season of her original column “Why I Love NASCAR” by Chief 187™ on Skirts and Scuffs. Additionally, another of her NASCAR columns can be found at MotorsportsUnplugged.com. She also contributes articles and NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Recaps weekly at WowShaneRadio.com. She began her Internet writing career at Rowdy.com where she honed her blogging skills and reawakened her love of NASCAR. Candice Smith can be heard on air four times a week co-hosting motorsports programs on Internet radio as well as her own racing show “Drafting the Circuits”. She can be reached via Twitter by following @Chief187s. To find out more please visit http://Chief187.com.