"Now THIS is drama!"
It was going to be close. Leader Greg Biffle was told he was two laps short on lap 190 from the beginning of the run. Did he have enough to keep the lead and win the race?
Hendrick driver Jimmie Johnson was told by crew chief Chad Knaus to go for it. "It's between you and the five (car)," Knaus said.
After laps of battling, Johnson passed Biffle on lap 194. Biffle, however, stayed with the defending three time series champion and, with one lap to go, passed the No. 48 as he ran out of fuel.
But the lead would be short lived. On the final lap, Biffle himself found himself out of fuel.
"We're this close! I'm gonna run it hard!" Then-second-place Mark Martin told his crew over the radio.
That strategy would catapult Martin to Victory Lane—ironically enough, he'd won at Michigan the last time the series raced there on June 14th, sixteen years ago.
Biffle finished fifth after coasting past the start-finish line. Jimmie Johnson, however, came to pit road for fuel and finished the last car on the lead lap in 22nd. Johnson has never won at MIS.
Unofficially, Martin is eighth in points. 2009 is the second year in a row a Hendrick driver has driven to victory lane in Michigan—MIS is the sight of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s only victory with the team. He finished 14th.
"It's a relief to finally get a finish where we belong," third place Denny Hamlin, who had a miserable Pocono race, said after the race. "We had a good car all day."
"I watched Mark and thought 'Well, you never know what's going to happen'," Carl Edwards said after his fourth place effort. His finish comes after weeks of struggles in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series.
Juan Pablo Montoya ran up front all day and ended the day sixth. Jeff Gordon started last after blowing an engine during practice and finished second.
Tony Stewart finished seventh and remains in the points lead by 47 points.
Thanks to NASCAR on TNT, NASCAR RaceBuddy, and NASCAR.com for the information and quotes used in this article.