In yet another exciting chapter at Michigan International Speedway, Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 car ran to a victory in the 2014 Quicken Loans 400 using smart pit strategy from crew chief Chad Knaus.
It was Johnson's first career win at Michigan.
Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 car led for much of the day, but he had to settle for a second-place finish. Brad Keselowski came in third, and Paul Menard in the No. 27 car finished a respectable fourth.
As for the No. 5 car and Kasey Kahne representing the Team Stream app for Bleacher Report, an early incident forced the team out of contention early, but Kahne ended up finishing fifth.
Even Dale Earnhardt Jr. was excited about Bleacher Report as a sponsor:
Here are the full results for the 2014 Quicken Loans 400:
|Full 2014 Quicken Loans 400 Results|
|7||Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
|18||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|27||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.|
|37||Martin Truex Jr.|
Harvick and the No. 4 team won the pole at Michigan with a track-record 204.557 mph qualifying lap, but the race hardly got started before the first caution flag of the day flew on Lap 1.
Brian Vickers and the No. 55 car got loose and spun off Turn 4. While he avoided serious damage from the wall and other cars initially, he slid across the track and collided heavily with Travis Kvapil in the No. 32 car.
The caution once again flew on Lap 7. Rookie Kyle Larson and the No. 42 car smacked the wall and caused a chain reaction that collected Kahne.
The race remained clean for an extended run that forced green-flag pit stops to occur starting at around Lap 40. Once the stops cycled through, Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 car took the lead.
As is typical for Michigan, the racing was clean throughout most of the green-flag run, but the caution flag once again flew at Lap 72. Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team won the race off pit road, but it wasn't long into the next run that Joey Logano and the No. 22 team sat in first.
Another caution came on Lap 103 when David Ragan spun on the backstretch, giving Kahne the lucky-dog pass and putting him back on the lead lap.
Two more yellow flags over the next 20 laps forced the field to stay close together and would not allow any of the contending drivers to stretch out a lead. Coming off the pits, it was Logano who once again took the lead.
Larson received a pit-road penalty, forcing him to start 19th when the green flag dropped.
Johnson took the lead off the restart, and the race stayed incident-free until the teams once again began cycling through green-flag pit stops. With 30 laps remaining, Kurt Busch held the lead.
On Lap 182, Kahne and the Team Stream-sponsored No. 5 car took the lead. It was a short-lived lead, as Kahne needed to pit, but it was a great moment for the team.
After the green-flag stops cycled through, Johnson moved out in front for the remainder of the race.
|2014 NASCAR Sprint Series Standings|
|3||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||514|
After another great race at Michigan International Speedway, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule moves on as drivers and their teams head to the Sonoma Raceway next week for the Toyota/Save Mart 350.
The race from California will take place on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET and will be televised on TNT. Martin Truex Jr. was the 2013 race champion.
While there are many traditionalist NASCAR fans who don't like the road courses on the schedule, the race at Sonoma is a great chance to see the big stock cars take on the same style of courses as the other big brands like Formula One and IndyCar.
With former track champions such as Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Johnson, Kahne and Kyle Busch all expected in the field for next Sunday's event, the hunt to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship is starting to heat up.
*All stats via NASCAR.com.