The Quicken Loans 400 saw Hendrick Motorsports self-destruct, Ford discovered its missing mojo and a lot more in between. Here are the winners and losers from the NASCAR weekend that was at Michigan International Speedway:
Richard Childress Racing
In all the talk about the problems surrounding the Hendrick cars and Greg Biffle's victory, what was lost in the shuffle is what a successful weekend it was for Richard Childress Racing. Led by Kevin Harvick's runner-up, all four RCR cars placed 14th or better Sunday including a career-best 11th for Austin Dillon. Additionally, Paul Menard continues to hang around the fringes of Chase contention while Jeff Burton has finished no worse than 12th in the last four weeks.
While rival Chevy may have led more laps and probably should have won, it was a Ford-branded car celebrating in Victory Lane. And making the win even more meaningful was that it was the 1,000th NASCAR victory for Ford and fittingly came at Michigan, a place it considers its home track and where it has had great success over the years. Also worth noting, Ford placed three cars inside the top 10 this past weekend, the first time that's happened since Talladega.
Another thing lost amid Sunday's theatrics was Regan Smith's victory the day before in the Nationwide Series race. It was his second win of the year, his third overall since joining JR Motorsports at the end of last season, and gave him a whopping 58-point lead. His arrival has also coincided with the changing fortunes of JRM, which has been transformed from the underachieving operation that it once was into a team on the path to winning its first Nationwide championship.
After back-to-back top-fives upon his return, Denny Hamlin made it look inevitable that he would fight his way into the Chase for an eighth straight season. However, reality is now setting in as a 30th at Michigan has dropped him to 26th in the standings, 86 points behind 20th-place Kurt Busch. And while it's possible he could miraculously qualify for the playoffs, in all likelihood 2013 has become a lost season for Hamlin.
There is not much to say other than it was a woulda-coulda-shoulda weekend for Hendrick, which saw all four cars look like potential winners yet none finished better than 28th due to an assortment of issues.
On the backside of his career and being phased out of his ride at JTG/Daugherty Racing, Bobby Labonte did himself no favors when he lost control of his car and crashed just five laps in. At age 49 and a free agent at the end of the year, it's hard to envision the 2000 Cup champion being a regular competitor next season.