Brooklyn, MI – Greg Biffle delivered Ford its 1,000th win in NASCAR national series competition by taking Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway.
Biffle, who drives the No. 16 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, grabbed the lead during a round of pit stops under caution with 32 laps remaining. Jimmie Johnson had a dominant car throughout the race but was running outside the top-10 for the final restart after he had received extra fuel during his stop.
Johnson quickly charged through the field and moved into second with 10 laps to go. While he was chasing down Biffle for the lead, Johnson ran wide and made contact with the wall in turn 1 with three laps left. His right-front tire had gone down. That allowed Biffle to easily beat Kevin Harvick at the finish.
Ford has now won 715 races in Sprint Cup, 200 in Nationwide and 85 in the Camping World Truck Series.
"A thousand wins for Ford, pretty exciting in NASCAR," Biffle said. "I was really worried about that 48 (Johnson). He was pretty fast. But when this car got in clean air, it was all over."
Four of Biffle's 19 career wins in Sprint Cup have come at Michigan. He won the most recent Sprint Cup race here last August. Biffle also gave team owner Jack Roush his 13th win at this two-mile racetrack.
Biffle led the most laps with 48.
Last weekend, Biffle finished second to Johnson at Pocono. Johnson dominated that race by leading 128 of 160 laps. He finished one lap in 28th at Michigan.
"We had a great race car, and I hated having that problem at the end," Johnson said. "I ran the car really hard to get through all those guys. It must have worn through that right-front tire. It went down, and I went into the wall in turn 1."
Johnson's lead in the point standings is now 31 over Carl Edwards, who finished eighth after starting on the pole.
Johnson's mishap was just one of many problems for Hendrick Motorsports at Michigan. His teammates, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne, did not finish the race.
Gordon, who struggled in Friday's qualifying and started 29th, was involved in an accident with Bobby Labonte on lap 6. Labonte spun around in turn 2 and collected Gordon, with both drivers hitting the wall. Gordon finished 39th and fell from 11th to 16th in points.
"I just can't believe the way this season is going for us," Gordon said. "It seems like we can run all day long where we can't get the car right, but when we finally get the car right, something like this happens."
While leading just past the halfway point, Kahne cut his right-front tire and slammed hard into the wall. The front end of his car erupted into flames as he was climbing out of it.
"Something broke; I don't really know," Kahne said. "I was going into the corner, and something went 'boom.' It turned right and went straight into the wall. It was a hard hit."
Kahne also took a big hit in points after finishing 38th. He dropped from eighth to 12th.
Earnhardt, who won this race one year ago, led 34 laps before his engine expired on lap 132. He finished 37th and went from fourth to seventh in the rankings.
"That car was just flying at the end," Earnhardt said. "We had certainly made some gains on it. I hate that we had engine troubles. They'll figure it out, and we'll get it sorted."
Harvick finished three seconds behind Biffle in the runner-up spot, while Martin Truex Jr. took the third position. Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart rounded out the top-five.
Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer were sixth and seventh, respectively. Joey Logano placed ninth and Jeff Burton 10th.
Danica Patrick finished 13th after starting 37th. It was the first time Patrick competed in a Sprint Cup race at Michigan.
Throughout the weekend here, Sprint Cup drivers and teams paid tribute to Jason Leffler, who was killed in an accident during a sprint car event this past Wednesday night at Bridgeport Speedway in Southern New Jersey. Many teams had a decal in memory of Leffler placed on their cars.
"I know it's been a tough week for a lot of people," Kahne said. "Jason Leffler was a good buddy of mine, and it's neat to see how the racing world and the fans and his friends and everybody has supported him for the last four or five days. That showed the person and the racer that he was. I'm just glad I could say he was one of my good friends."
Biffle dedicated his win on Father's Day at Michigan to Leffler's 5-year-old son, Charlie Dean.
"Happy Father's Day to little Charlie. We're thinking about you." he said.