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Johnson, Biffle run dry, Martin wins at Michigan

NASCAR Sprint Cup race
Sunday, June 14, 2009

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Mark Martin
Mark Scheuern/AR1.com
There's an old saying in NASCAR racing that goes like this, "To finish first...... first you have to finish."

Mark Martin has heard that saying many times before and never has it meant any more.

While Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle were running out of gas with just one lap remaining, Martin cruised by to pick up his third win of the season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

The 50-year-old Arkansas native, who started 32nd in the 43-car field, moved into contention in the final quarter of the race and saved fuel while Biffle and Johnson battled it out up front.

Martin, one of the most popular drivers on the circuit, and certainly the pride of the over-50 crowd, calmly hit his marks and ran his race down the stretch, patiently waiting for the frontrunners to falter.

It happened with just over a lap remaining in the 200-lap, LifeLock 400 event at the two-mile Michigan International Speedway.

First Johnson ran out in the tri-oval short of the start-finish line, then Biffle's Ford sputtered going into turn one.

The huge crowd erupted when Martin's CARQUEST/Kellogg's Chevrolet passed first Johnson, then Biffle to grab his third win of the year. He won earlier in the season at Phoenix and Darlington, much to the delight of his peers. Martin is one of the most respected members of the NASCAR industry.

Finishing second behind Martin was four-time champion Jeff Gordon. Denny Hamlin was next and Carl Edwards was fourth. Biffle wound up fifth and Juan Pablo Montoya brought home a sixth-place finish. Two-time champion Tony Stewart was seventh and Kurt Busch eighth. Brian Vickers and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top 10 finishers. Johnson wound up 22nd after dominating most of the afternoon. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., continued to struggle, finishing 14th.

It was cool and overcast when the green flag waved and Kyle Busch assumed a familiar position by streaking ahead of pole winner Vickers before they made it to the second turn. At 10 laps, Johnson had passed Busch for the lead. Vickers was third. Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne and Montoya were next in line.

Joe Nemechek and Tony Raines pulled into the garage before 30 laps had been completed but Johnson took his Chevrolet to a commanding lead of more than six seconds. Kyle maintained second with brother Kurt third. They were followed by Kahne, Stewart, Biffle, Montoya, Vickers, Bowyer and Matt Kenseth. Martin, Carl Edwards and Gordon were moving towards the top 10. Martin went from 32nd to 15th; Edwards from 29th to 16th and Gordon from 27th to 17th.

Once teams had made their first green flag pit stops, Johnson resumed the lead with Kahne, Kyle Busch and Biffle in tow. Kurt Busch was fifth and Stewart sixth. Johnson was obviously the car to beat at this point in the race. Earnhardt, Jr. qualified 30th fastest and had moved to 18th after 50 laps.

Within a few laps, Biffle had moved to second ahead of Kahne. The first caution period of the balmy afternoon came out on Lap 73 when debris cluttered the track. On the double-file, shootout-style restart, Johnson was still the leader as the field bunched up in side-by-side fashion to go at it again. Johnson immediately jumped ahead of Biffle and Montoya held the third position. Kahne was next followed by Kurt Busch, Kenseth, Stewart, who lost time in the pits, Kyle Busch, Earnhardt and Edwards.

At halfway (100 laps), Johnson had a three-second lead over Biffle which he held for most of the race as the laps wound down.

Stewart holds on to the points lead with 47 points over Gordon in second. Defending champion Johnson is in third followed by Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Edwards, Biffle, Martin, Kyle Busch, Hamlin, Kenseth, and Jeff Burton.

Results

FIN

ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 32 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Carquest / Kellogg's 190/5 200 Running
2 27 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet National Guard "Year of the NCO" / DuPont 170/0 200 Running
3 14 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 170/5 200 Running
4 29 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 165/5 200 Running
5 20 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 160/5 200 Running
6 7 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 150/0 200 Running
7 11 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Old Spice 146/0 200 Running
8 5 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 142/0 200 Running
9 1 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 138/0 200 Running
10 9 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios 134/0 200 Running
11 31 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal 130/0 200 Running
12 25 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Best Buy 127/0 200 Running
13 2 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 129/5 200 Running
14 30 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Amp Energy / National Guard 121/0 200 Running
15 23 6 David Ragan Ford UPS 118/0 200 Running
16 15 21 Bill Elliott Ford Motorcraft 115/0 200 Running
17 13 7 Robby Gordon Toyota Red Stag by Jim Beam / Kid Rock 112/0 200 Running
18 12 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 109/0 200 Running
19 4 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 106/0 200 Running
20 16 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Carhartt 103/0 200 Running
21 8 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser 100/0 200 Running
22 3 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 107/10 200 Running
23 18 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army 94/0 199 Running
24 37 07 Casey Mears Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 91/0 199 Running
25 24 20 Joey Logano * Toyota The Home Depot 88/0 199 Running
26 22 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 85/0 199 Running
27 28 43 Reed Sorenson Dodge Reynolds Wrap 82/0 199 Running
28 17 96 Bobby Labonte Ford Ask.com 79/0 199 Running
29 34 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Mobil 1 76/0 198 Running
30 36 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 73/0 198 Running
31 33 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota RaceSavers.com 70/0 198 Running
32 35 171 David Gilliland Chevrolet Charter Air Transport.com 67/0 198 Running
33 10 34 John Andretti Chevrolet Taco Bell 64/0 198 Running
34 38 98 Paul Menard Ford Pittsburgh Paints / Menards 61/0 197 Running
35 43 113 Max Papis * Toyota GEICO 58/0 193 Running
36 19 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet GE Reveal 55/0 192 Running
37 21 82 Scott Speed * Toyota Red Bull 52/0 174 Running
38 26 12 David Stremme Dodge Penske Racing 49/0 159 In Pit
39 6 44 A.J. Allmendinger Dodge Stanley Tools 46/0 144 Running
40 39 66 Dave Blaney Toyota Prism Motorsports 43/0 23 Out of Race
41 42 09 Sterling Marlin Dodge Miccosukee Resort & Gaming 40/0 23 Out of Race
42 40 187 Joe Nemechek Toyota NEMCO Motorsports 37/0 20 Out of Race
43 41 37 Tony Raines Dodge Long John Silver's 34/0 17 Out of Race

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