BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) — Jeff Gordon raced to his third NASCAR Sprint Cup victory of the year, holding off Kevin Harvick on Sunday for his first win at Michigan International Speedway since 2001.
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.
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 1.4 seconds in his No. 24 Chevrolet.
Harvick was second, followed by Logano, Paul Menard and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Gordon completed a sweep at MIS for Hendrick Motorsports. Jimmie Johnson won the June race on the two-mile oval.
Logano was second to Gordon in qualifying, and those two were clearly the cars to beat. Logano led 86 laps and Gordon was in front for 68.
There were eight cautions, including a fairly early one when Danica Patrick’s car spun and Justin Allgaier crashed into her. Nine cars were caught up in that incident, including Matt Kenseth’s No. 20 Toyota.
Kenseth never really recovered, finishing 38th.
Brad Keselowski rubbed against the wall with about 32 laps remaining and finished eighth, remaining winless at this track in his home state. Johnson overcame some problems of his own to finish ninth, his first top-10 showing in six races.
Jeff Burton was 37th after replacing Tony Stewart in the No. 14 car. Stewart skipped his second straight Cup race after he struck and killed a driver at a dirt-track race in New York last weekend.
Gordon won for the 91st time on NASCAR’s top series, and this is his first three-win season since 2011. He took over the lead in the points standings by three points over Earnhardt.
Assuming they attempt to qualify for the final three races of the regular-season, the 12 drivers with victories this season have all wrapped up spots in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Kenseth remains the top driver without a victory in the standings.
Rookie Kyle Larson’s car caught fire against the wall just before the halfway point, and he ended up 43rd.