Skip to content

Pure Michigan 400: Jeff Gordon wins third race of 2014, back on top of points

Aug 17, 2014, 4:47 PM EDT

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya) AP

BROOKLYN, Mich. – If Jimmie Johnson is to win a record-tying seventh Sprint Cup championship, he’s going to have to get past Jeff Gordon – and that’s not going to be easy.

Gordon earned his third win of the season Sunday – and the 91st of his Sprint Cup career – capturing the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

He also regained the points lead in the Sprint Cup standings, leading teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., who assumed the points lead after last week’s race at Watkins Glen, by just three points.

The triumph ties Gordon with Hendrick Motorsports teammates Johnson and Earnhardt, as well as 2012 champ Brad Keselowski, for most wins during the 26-race regular season.

After Kurt Busch hit the wall to bring out the caution on Lap 178, Gordon remained patient. Joey Logano was the race leader when the green flag dropped on the restart on Lap 183, but Gordon outmuscled Logano going into Turn 1 of the D-shaped track and never looked back.

“We earned this one, baby, we earned it,” crew chief Alan Gustafson told Gordon on the team radio after he crossed the start-finish line.

After the race, Gordon was understandably ecstatic about his third career triumph at MIS.

“That last restart was it,” Gordon said. “We had the car to win. I got a good restart. Joey was out there by himself, was able to get to his quarter and then was able to get by. I just needed a couple laps for my tires to come in, we were out front, set sail and the checkered flag was waving. This is amazing, this is just fantastic.”

Gordon now has earned the most wins for him since also winning three in the 2011 season.

However, there’s one significant difference to that: he still has 13 more races to go to add to those three wins. The last time Gordon had more than three wins in a season was when he visited victory lane six times back in 2007, when he finished second in the Chase to Johnson.

“Our Chase has already started,” Gordon said. “This team is championship caliber, but it’s going to be tough. We don’t want anything to change when we get to Chicago, just charge for those wins.”

In a sense, the way Gordon won was a case of several elements of déjà vu:

* He won his second race of the season, at the Brickyard 400, with “the restart of my life,” also taking the lead with 17 laps left — just like Sunday. What’s more, the car he won at Indianapolis is also the same one he drove to victory on Sunday.

* Ironically, the last two times Gordon won the Sprint Cup championship – the third and fourth of his career in 1998 and 2001 – he also won at Indianapolis and Michigan in both of those seasons.

* It’s been 13 years since Gordon has won at MIS.

Gordon started the race on the pole, setting a track record during qualifying on Friday with a burst of 206.558 mph around the two-mile track, which has become the fastest track in NASCAR.

Gordon’s pole was also the fastest in NASCAR history since the sanctioning body implemented restrictor plates at both Daytona and Talladega in 1988.

Kevin Harvick finished second for the fourth consecutive race at MIS, tying a NASCAR record for most consecutive finishes at a track set by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett four times in a row at Rockingham.

“We had a solid day, it’s just the 24 (Gordon) had more speed than we did all day,” Harvick said. “I felt like when Joey was out front, he could get away at the short run, we’d kind of even out. But all in all, it was a good day.

“The main focus for our team has been consistency heading into the Chase to make sure we can scramble and do the things we’ve done over the last month. When you have a solid day, finish it off. Those are the things we’ve been able to do. Obviously you want to win, but all in all we had some different goals that are as important leading into the Chase.”

Logano, who led the most laps (86) of the 200-lap event, rallied back to finish third, followed by Paul Menard and Earnhardt.

“It was one too many restarts,” Logano said. “We were battling on these restarts pretty hard. I used every trick in the book I had. … I had the run and then I was clear. I should have pulled up in front of him and got the draft. … Gosh, it’s close. It’s what we need to do before the Chase. We’re doing everything we need to do. … I’m going to relieve that in my mind the next two weeks.”

Finishing sixth through 10th were Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Johnson and Greg Biffle.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Latest Posts
  1. As Alonso nears the Ferrari exit, Bianchi awaits his chance

    Oct 2, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT

    F1 Testing At Silverstone - Day Two Getty Images

    The Marussia driver could be in line to replace Alonso at Ferrari if the Spaniard is released one year early.

  2. Typhoon set to hit Japan on Sunday, putting GP schedule at risk

    Oct 2, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    © UBIMET © UBIMET

    Category four typhoon could force the race to be held on Saturday instead of Sunday.

  3. 2014 Japanese Grand Prix Preview

    Oct 2, 2014, 9:20 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Previews Getty Images

    Umbrellas at the ready! This weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix is going to be a rainy one.

  4. IMSA: Titles on the line at Petit Le Mans

    Oct 2, 2014, 9:03 AM EDT

    Joao Barbosa AP

    Titles on the line at the TUDOR Championship finale in Atlanta.

  5. IndyCar Driver Review: Graham Rahal

    Oct 2, 2014, 12:05 AM EDT

    NTT DATA Qualifying Day - Firestone 600 Getty Images

    Graham Rahal ends P19 after a tough season, but he was better than the stats would indicate.

  6. Merhi, Stevens get Suzuka FP1 outings with Caterham, Marussia

    Oct 1, 2014, 11:59 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Belgium - Qualifying Getty Images

    Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens to run in FP1 at Suzuka.

  7. IndyCar Driver Review: Takuma Sato

    Oct 1, 2014, 11:35 PM EDT

    SatoPost Getty Images

    Results and statistics don’t tell the tale for Takuma Sato’s hard-luck 2014 IndyCar season.

  8. IndyCar Driver Review: Jack Hawksworth

    Oct 1, 2014, 10:57 PM EDT

    HawkTOR AP

    Jack Hawksworth overachieved in his first Verizon IndyCar Series season.

  9. NASCAR AMERICA: Edwards and Kahne on rest of Chase format (VIDEO)

    Oct 1, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    Cheez-It 355 At The Glen - Practice Getty Images

    Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne check in on the Contender round of the new Chase format.

  10. NASCAR AMERICA: Jimmie Johnson on “flying under the radar” (VIDEO)

    Oct 1, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    Sylvania 300 - Qualifying Getty Images

    Jimmie Johnson not a fan of the “under the radar” terminology.

  11. NASCAR Truck penalty for No. 20 team upheld

    Oct 1, 2014, 5:15 PM EDT

    nascarlogo

    A P2 penalty issued to No. 20 NASCAR Truck team upheld after appeal.

  12. Caterham denies future is at risk despite goods being seized

    Oct 1, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    Caterham Getty Images

    Bailiffs seize goods at Leafield, but Caterham issues a statement saying that it is business as usual.

  13. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 pm ET — All 12 drivers in Chase Contenders Round

    Oct 1, 2014, 3:17 PM EDT

    141001-NASCAR-AMERICA

    Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America goes in-depth with all 12 drivers in Round 2 of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, also known as the Contenders Round.

  14. Report: Australian-owned team, driver and sponsor to debut in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2015

    Oct 1, 2014, 2:10 PM EDT

    NCWTS logo

    While Marcos Ambrose is returning to his native Australia after this season, a new Australian-owned team is set to make its debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series next season, complete with an Australian-born driver and Aussie primary sponsor.

  15. Bill Elliott makes awesome $4.2 million real estate deal

    Oct 1, 2014, 1:53 PM EDT

    (Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Bill Elliott figured real estate would be a good investment many years ago, and did that belief ever pay off for the soon-to-be NASCAR Hall of Famer.

  16. Ryan Villopoto leaving American motocross, will race MXGP series for ‘final year of racing’

    Oct 1, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT

    Photo credit: Matt Rice/ProMotocross.com Photo credit: Matt Rice/ProMotocross.com

    Kawasaki officially announced that reigning supercross champion Ryan Villopoto will head to Europe next year to race the MXGP series. Davi Millsaps and Wil Hahn will replace him on the American Monster Energy Kawasaki team.

  17. Will Michael Waltrip survive Round 4 elimination on Dancing With The Stars?

    Oct 1, 2014, 1:08 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy Dancing With The Stars) (Photo courtesy Dancing With The Stars)

    He’s reached the fourth round of Dancing With The Stars, but will NASCAR’s Michael Waltrip and partner Emma Slater make it to the fifth round?

  18. Jeff Gordon is now just 3 top-10 finishes from tying Mark Martin for second on all-time list

    Oct 1, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    (AP Photo/John Raoux) AP

    Jeff Gordon is now just three top-10 finishes away from tying Mark Martin for second most top-10s in a career. And in an ironic twist, Gordon is still seeking his first pole at this Sunday’s race venue, Kansas Motor Speedway.

  19. Honda releases first image of F1 2015 engine, no driver announcement due at Suzuka

    Oct 1, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT

    © Honda © Honda

    More details revealed ahead of Honda’s return to F1 in 2015 with McLaren.

Video from NASCAR America

Drivers discuss new Chase format
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (1581)
  2. K. Harvick (1483)
  3. K. Busch (1339)
  4. J. Coulter (1199)
  5. R. Blaney (1152)