Dale Earnhardt Jr. finally visited victory lane again after a 143-race winless drought by taking the checkered flag in the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Earnhardt Jr. drove the 88-car to a win four years ago this month at MIS for his last victory. He led 96 of the 200 laps in yesterday’s race, which was delayed almost two hours by rain.
The extra-fast speeds that showed up on the repaved track during practice and qualifying were tempered when NASCAR and Goodyear on Saturday brought in harder tires for the left sides of the cars after blistering started to be a problem.
There were worries the new tires wouldn’t provide enough grip and then the wet weather on Sunday made for another case of the nerves with the rain washing away residual rubber on the track, creating fears about driving on a slick surface. But in the end, it was safe racing with fans now looking forward with much anticipation to the Pure Michigan 400 at MIS on August 19th.
Defending Cup champion Tony Stewart finished second yesterday, followed by current points leader Matt Kenseth. Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top-five.