BROOKLYN, Mich. – Greg Biffle might have had a sense he could win Sunday but the driver from Vancouver, Wash., also had plenty of common sense.
When Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards asked if Biffle, then the race leader, would slow to help Edwards remove trash from his grille with 35 of 200 laps remaining, Biffle declined.
“This is my chance to win today, right here, and (Jimmie Johnson) is coming. I don’t know if you know that or not, but (Johnson) is coming,” Biffle said his response was at the time.
As it turned out, a flat tire ended Johnson’s charge with three laps remaining and Biffle held off Kevin Harvick to win the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway for his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the year.
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The victory was also the 1,000th for Ford Motor Co. in NASCAR competition covering its three national series — Cup, Nationwide and Trucks.
It seemed appropriate Biffle was the driver to reach the milestone, as he has accumulated 19 Cup victories (including four in Michigan), 20 in the second-tier Nationwide Series and 16 in Trucks — all but two while in a Ford.
“As far as the 1,000 wins that Ford has had here in NASCAR, it’s over 50 years, and we’ve been involved just over half of that time,” said Jack Roush, Biffle’s team owner.
“There have been a lot of great teams and a lot of great drivers that have been part of that, and we’re just glad and honored to be a part of that history.”
The victory helped put Biffle in solid position to qualify for the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup this season and thus compete for the series championship – something he said he wasn’t sure he would be able to do a couple of weeks ago.
“We went to Pocono with a good car and finished second, got ourselves 10th in points. When I left there, I still wasn’t a believer that we’re all in the safety zone yet,” Biffle said. “Now, I believe that we’ve gained a little bit more on it, on the setups, and we’re gaining bits and pieces on the aero(dynamics).”
Biffle and his No. 16 team know they still have work to do.
“You’ve got to compete with the top-five cars every week, or you don’t stand a chance in the Chase. We are at that point at Pocono and here, but we’ve got to do that at all these other racetracks, as well,” he said. “I feel like we can be a serious contender over what we’ve just done in these two short weeks. I think (if) we continue to work hard in the next 10 weeks, we’ll be there.”
Martin Truex Jr. finished third, Kyle Busch was fourth and Tony Stewart was fifth.
Johnson, who was forced to pit in the final laps with the tire issue, finished 28th and holds a 31-point lead over Edwards. Biffle is eighth in the standings.
Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw was 38th in the race and is 12th in the standings.
• John Force, 64, ended a 31-event winless streak in the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, beating Cruz Pedregon in the final round of the Funny Car category in Bristol, Tenn. Force has a record 135 career victories.
Other winners were Steve Torrence in Top Fuel and Rodger Brogdon in Pro Stock.