Greg Biffle took advantage of Jimmie Johnson’s blown engine and held off Brad Keselowski for his third Sprint Cup victory at Michigan International Speedway.
With the win he took the points lead.
Biffle, NASCAR’s quiet man, knew he had a great car but didn’t want to show his had early "yeah, I knew my car was bad ass," he said. I didn’t want to say anything until I got here to victory lane."
"I know they don't talk about us much, but we're going to make a run for the title," Biffle added after his second win of the year.
Keselowski had beaten Johnson out of the pits after the final pit stops taking the lead with 14 laps remaining. But Johnson, who had changed motors before the race, had the most powerful car of the day and retook the lead with 10 laps to go. And Biffle got by Keselowski.
With six laps to go Johnson’s second engine of the weekend blew putting Biffle’s Ford in the lead. But he doesn’t know what would have happened without the motor issues.
"Well, I thought that I knew I would be able to get him then," Biffle added. "I was closing in on him and I don’t know if I would have got him in those eight laps or not but it would have been a hell of a run to the end.
"I found some speed in the top line down there in three and four and was coming on him. I don’t know if I would have got there but we will take them any way we can get them. We had a damn good car today."
"Junior (Earnhardt) (who finished third behind Kasey Kahne’s Chevrolet), gave me a huge push for that win," Biffle said of the final restart. "I have to thank him for that. I saw Brad laying back like always and he got a little jump on me. It probably would have been leveled out by turn one."
After the race Keselowski was laying the foundation of a verbal battle for the championship. Talking about his Penske crew’s fast pit stop which got him out of the pits ahead of Johnson’s he said "it's good to know they're frustrated. They should be."
"The 48 (Johnson) had a dominant car. He and the 16 (Biffle) and the 55 (Martin) had just a lot of speed. We just didn’t have enough to run with ‘em. My guys on pit road and everybody on the team did an excellent job and got us out toward the front.
"I’m very proud of them for that but we just needed that little bit more speed to hold them off and we didn’t have that here today with the Miller Lite Dodge."
Last week’s winner, Marcos Ambrose finished fifth.
There was one tense incident on lap 65 when pole sitter, Mark Martin and Kahne came upon Juan Pablo Montoya and a very loose Bobby Labonte. Coming up on the incident at vast speed differential Martin slowed, he was hit from behind by Kahne and sent into the infield then into the pits.
Trying to straighten out and avoid the inside pit wall his car rotated. His Toyota went door side first into the end of that inside wall just behind the driver’s door. The concrete wall almost cut the car in half. But Martin and the crew teams and officials were not injured.
Johnson wasn’t the only one with motor problems his teammate, Jeff Gordon, and Tony Stewart, who both run Hendrick Motorsports engines, had their issues as well, making it four HMS engines blown.