Kyle Busch posted his fourth victory of the 2011 season with a victory in the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan Speedway. Busch led 22 laps and held off Jimmie Johnson on a green/white/checkered restart to score the 23rd victory of his Cup series career.
Jeff Gordon started 9th but dropped positions right after the green flag waved. He regrouped to work back up to 9th by lap 10, and was running 6th at the first caution flag on lap 29. After the restart, Gordon moved into the top-5. At lap 52, Gordon took 3rd place and made in-roads on the Roush Racing leaders of Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth. After a caution flag for Bobby Labonte’s spin, Gordon lost position on the ensuing restart. He regrouped and took 5th from Kyle Busch on lap 62. However, overcast skies and wind impacted the handling on the DuPont Chevrolet. Busch re-took the spot from Gordon as he remained in the top-10. A caution at the halfway point brought the field to pit road.
After taking two tires, Gordon moved to 2nd place on lap 110. Three laps later, Gordon took the race lead from Matt Kenseth. He led for 11 laps before Kenseth re-took the lead when Gordon’s water temperature increased due to trash on the front of the car. Gordon ditched the debris by bump-drafting Kenseth and then regained the top spot. He came to pit road for a green flag pit stop on lap 138. Gordon slipped to 2nd after the round of stops. Two laps later he fell to 3rd when Busch went by. As the tires came up to pressure, Gordon passed Busch and Kenseth to take the lead. Final pit stops came under caution with Gordon leaving pit road behind Matt Kenseth. He dropped to 5th on the restart with 25 laps to go while battling a tight handling condition. Mark Martin sent Gordon back to 6th with 12 laps to go. A caution for Kurt Busch’s wall contact set up a green/white/checkered finish. Gordon held on to post a 6th place finish — his third top-6 finish in the last four races.
Road ahead: The annual night race at Bristol Motor Speedway is next on the docket. Before that, Gordon is scheduled for a mid-week test session at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado.
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