Biffle can thank Johnson's wonky engine for Michigan win 0
Greg Biffle (right) celebrates after winning the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway yesterday. (John Harrelson/Getty Images/AFP)
The first thing Greg Biffle should do Monday morning is send a thank you note to the engine shop over at Hendrick Motorsports.
Because if it were not for Jimmie Johnson blowing the engine of his No. 48 HMS Chevrolet with less than five laps remaining in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday, Biffle and the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford would be celebrating second place instead of a win.
That blown engine, by the way, was the third Hendrick power plant to go boom in two days at Michigan International Speedway’s two-mile oval.
Johnson had engine woes Saturday in practice and on Sunday Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon both had their Hendrick engines come apart.
If this turns into a systemic problem with just three races left before the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship begins at Chicagoland on Sept. 16 it spells big trouble not only for Johnson and Stewart but for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne.
All four of those teams are pretty much a lock to make the Chase but do not want to get there with engine issues still unresolved.
Stewart, for one, thinks the problems on Sunday at MIS are just a one-off deal and says he isn’t worried .
“It’s uncommon to have a problem like this (with Hendrick engines),” he said. “It’s not something I’m concerned about having problems with in the future.
“It’s just a bad day and, like I said, we have the best engine department in the world in my opinion.”
Biffle admitted that if the No. 48 Chevrolet hadn’t blown its engine he was pretty sure he wasn’t going to be able to make the pass.
To that point, it Johnson was the class of the field passing his competitors at will.
“I don’t know if I would have got him or not but it would have been a hell of a run to the end,” Biffle said. “I found some speed in the top line down there in (Turns) 3 and 4 and was coming on him.
“I don’t know if I would have got there but we will take (wins) any way we can get them.”
THE DANICA FACTOR
There is no argument that will ever convince Danica Patrick haters that the girl can wheel a race car with he best of them.
I’m sure even her performance Saturday in the Nationwide Series NAPA 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will be dismissed by those folks.
But I have watched a ton more races than the majority of the Danica doubters and I was impressed with what she did on the legendary road course.
She went fender to fender with notorious road hog Jacques Villeneuve and was winning that battle until mechanical issues — first a faulty steering wheel and then a broken rear axle — and not her driving put her out of contention.
A very scary moment early in the Sprint Cup race at MIS when Mark Martin’s
No. 99 Toyota spun out of control coming out of Turn 4 and slammed into the inside retaining wall on pit lane. If he had hit just 10 inches closer to the front of his race car he would have suffered catastrophic injuries. ... A shout out to Damon Sharpe, of Schomberg, Ont., who took his first pole position and his first win in the Canadian Touring Car Championship series in Montreal in the No. 84 Honda Civic. ... And former F-1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr. won the Camping World Truck Series VFW 200 at MIS Friday in the No. 30 Chevrolet Sierra, his first win in 42 career starts. ...Two good finishes on the weekend by Sam Hornish Jr. — second at Montreal and 12th at MIS — bodes well for his efforts to land the seat in the No. 22 Penske Dodge in Cup next season.
NASCAR SPRINT CUP
Greg Biffle passed the wounded No. 48 Chevrolet of five time champion Jimmie Johnson in the dying laps at Michigan International Speedway and then withstood a challenge from the No. 2 Dodge of Brad Keselowski to win the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday in the No. 16 Ford.
The win ended a seven-race drought for Roush Fenway Racing at their home track.
The win also vaulted Biffle over Johnson for first place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.
Keselowski finished second with Kasey Kahne third in the No. 5 Chevrolet with Dale Earnhardt Jr. fourth in the No. 88 Chevrolet.
Marcos Ambrose rounded out the top five in the No. 9 Ford.
It took two overtimes but Justin Allgaier got his first win of the NASCAR Nationwide Series season Saturday in the NAPA 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.
Allgaier caught and then bumped aside Canada’s Jacques Villeneuve on the final lap of the race to take the lead and the win in the No. 30 Chevrolet in front of more than 65,000 frenzied fans.
Sam Hornish Jr. finished second in the No. 12 Dodge with teammate Villeneuve coming home third in the No. 22 Dodge.
NNS Points leader Elliott Sadler was fourth in the No. 2 Chevrolet with Toronto’s Ron Fellows rounding out the top five in the No. 5 Chevrolet.