Greg Biffle wins Pure Michigan 400 as Jimmie Johnson's engine expires with four laps to go

BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 19: Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 19, 2012 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

"You've got to be kidding me" was the collective gasp from both Jimmie Johnson and everyone watching the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday, as Johnson's engine expired from the top spot with just four laps remaining.

It set up an overtime finish where Greg Biffle got the jump on Brad Keselowski and Kasey Kahne and held on to win a unpredictable Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway.

It really was Johnson's race to lose and he lost it. Hendrick Motorsports had battled engine problems all weekend with Johnson changing engines on Saturday night, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart suffering motor failures, resulting in everyone wondering when and which Hendrick engine would expire next.

The answer was the 48, whose driver dejectedly walked to his motorhome, changed clothes and left the track right as the race was ending. Johnson had the opportunity to take a stranglehold on the championship entering the Chase but instead left with questions surrounding the entire Hendrick Motorsports organization.

Chevrolet's loss was Ford's gain as Biffle nailed the restart and never looked back. A casual glance will assume Biffle as the beneficiary of good luck. The reality is that Biffle has been a contender at every track this season and more races are won this way instead of the more dominating fashion - just ask Jimmie Johnson.

Instead it's Biffle who has momentum approaching the Chase, as well as the regular season points lead, 21 points ahead of Matt Kenseth and 22 over Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jimmie Johnson fell to fourth, 28 points out of the top spot.

The win is the second of the season for Biffle, third career at Michigan, and 18th of his NASCAR Sprint Cup career.

"Junior gave me a huge push on the restart," Biffle said. "I have to thank him for that. I saw Brad laying back like always and he got a little jump on me. It probably would have been leveled out by turn one."

A note on Mark Martin's dramatic accident, as well as the complete race results can be found after the jump.

The strangest accident in quite some time occurred on lap 64 when Mark Martin was caught in an accident between Juan Pablo Montoya and Bobby Labonte. Martin spun trying to avoid Labonte's sideways car and slid down pit road, t-boning the infield pit entrance. The wall, which does not have any protective barriers, sliced a gap right in the middle of Martin's car.

This will foster a pretty healthy debate over the placement of infield pit road gaps. One option is to eliminate and cover the first opening and have teams use the other openings at speedways. An alternative option would be to widen the opening and install a protective barrier such as tires or water containers.

The chances of a similar accident occurring is small but it's always better to be proactive rather than reactive.

Good race. We'll be guaranteed an even better weekend of racing starting Wednesday night at the revamped Bristol Motor Speedway. The Camping World Trucks and Wheelen Modifieds race on Wednesday, followed by Nationwide and the Sprint Cup Bristol Night Race on Friday and Saturday respectively.

Audiovisual

Scary crash for leader Mark Martin (via TheOfficialNASCAR)

Heartbreak for Jimmie Johnson late in Michigan (via TheOfficialNASCAR)

Race Results

Michigan International Speedway
43rd Annual Pure Michigan 400
UNOFFICIAL Provided by NASCAR Statistics Sunday, 8/19/2012 @ 4:25 PM Eastern UNOFFICIAL
Fin Str Car Driver Team Lap Pts BPts Status TLd LLd
1 13 16 Greg Biffle 3M Ford 201 47 4 Running 3 26
2 19 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Dodge 201 43 1 Running 4 17
3 5 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet 201 41 Running
4 22 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet 201 41 1 Running 2 25
5 8 9 Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford 201 39 Running
6 2 99 Carl Edwards Geek Squad Ford 201 39 1 Running 1 1
7 12 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota 201 38 1 Running 1 19
8 15 39 Ryan Newman WIX Chevrolet 201 36 Running
9 10 27 Paul Menard Menards / Pittsburgh Paints Chevrolet 201 36 1 Running 2 8
10 7 56 Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota 201 35 1 Running 2 12
11 21 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Office Toyota 201 34 1 Running 1 1
12 17 22 Sam Hornish Jr.(i) Shell Pennzoil Dodge 201 0 Running 3 9
13 23 18 Kyle Busch Interstate Batteries Toyota 201 31 Running
14 24 1 Jamie McMurray Bass Pro Shops / Mercury Chevrolet 201 30 Running
15 30 93 Travis Kvapil Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota 201 29 Running
16 20 29 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's Chevrolet 201 28 Running
17 4 17 Matt Kenseth Fifth Third Bank Ford 201 28 1 Running 1 5
18 36 38 David Gilliland Taco Bell Ford 201 26 Running
19 32 31 Jeff Burton Wheaties Chevrolet 201 25 Running
20 41 43 Aric Almirola Eckrich Ford 201 24 Running
21 39 10 David Reutimann TMone.com Chevrolet 200 23 Running
22 28 47 Bobby Labonte Clorox Toyota 199 22 Running
23 37 34 David Ragan Long John Silver's Ford 199 21 Running
24 6 21 Trevor Bayne Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 199 0 Running
25 9 83 Landon Cassill Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota 198 20 1 Running 1 1
26 25 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet 197 18 Running
27 3 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet 195 18 1 Engine 4 23
28 11 24 Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger / AARP Chevrolet 167 16 Engine
29 18 78 Regan Smith Furniture Row / Farm American Chevrolet 154 15 Running
30 26 51 Kurt Busch Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet 135 14 Accident
31 16 20 Joey Logano The Home Depot Toyota 132 13 Running
32 14 14 Tony Stewart MOBIL 1 / Office Depot Chevrolet 109 12 Engine
33 40 32 TJ Bell(i) Southern Pride Trucking / U.S. Chrome Ford 108 0 Transmission
34 31 30 David Stremme Inception Motorsports Toyota 72 10 Electrical
35 1 55 Mark Martin Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota 64 11 2 Accident 2 54
36 35 87 Joe Nemechek(i) AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves Toyota 38 0 Rear Gear
37 29 13 Casey Mears GEICO Ford 36 7 Vibration
38 42 36 Dave Blaney Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 34 6 Vibration
39 43 98 Mike Skinner Phil Parsons Racing Ford 25 5 Electrical
40 34 26 Josh Wise # MDS Transport Ford 21 4 Suspension
41 38 23 Scott Riggs North Texas Pipe Chevrolet 20 3 Suspension
42 27 91 Reed Sorenson(i) Plinker Tactical Toyota 15 0 Overheating
43 33 19 Jason Leffler(i) Plinker Tactical Ford 14 0 Fuel Pressure
# = Rookie, Fin = Finish, Str = Start, Pts = Total Points, BPs = Lap Leader Bns Pts, TLd = Times Led, LLd = Laps Led. (i) Ineligible for driver points in this series
Average Speed: 144.662 MPH Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 46 Mins, 44 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.416 Seconds
Lead Changes: 26 among 13 drivers Cautions: 8 for 35 laps Attendance: 83,000
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.