BROOKLYN, Mich. — 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 since 2001.
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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. Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., was 10th and Enumclaw’s Kasey Kahne was 16th.
Gordon completed a sweep at MIS for Hendrick. Jimmie Johnson won the June race on the two-mile oval.
“I think all of our teams are running well, but this is a big, big win,” owner Rick Hendrick said. “It’s great to see Jeff so happy. He’s like a little kid again, so I think it’s going to be really, really important for the momentum he’s carrying right now into the Chase.”
Logano was second to Gordon in qualifying. He led 86 laps and Gordon was in front for 68.
“We can win a championship. I really feel we can do that. That’s the message I want to put out there,” Logano said. “We’ve got to find a little bit more speed to keep up with one car today — 24 car was the best, only because he was good on the long run. We weren’t as good on the long run.”
Power wins at the Milwaukee Mile
WEST ALLIS, Wis. — With traffic ahead and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya closing in from behind, Will Power stepped on the accelerator.
The IndyCar points leader maneuvered through the high-speed gridlock to claim a crucial victory at the Milwaukee Mile.
Power added a little breathing room in the standings over second-place Helio Castroneves and boosted Team Penske’s hopes for a season title with two races to go.
“We’re a well-oiled machine right now with all three cars,” Power said about the team that also includes Castroneves. “If we have a couple more days like this, of course, it’s going to be a great finish.”
A Penske driver has finished second each of the previous four seasons.
Power raced to his third victory this season. Montoya finished second, while Tony Kanaan was third.
Power’s victory ended Ryan Hunter-Reay’s two-year winning streak at the Mile. Hunter-Reay signed a three-year extension before the race with Andretti Autosport.