Who would have thought one day that we would be saying old age and treachery topped youthful exuberance and that Jeff Gordon wouldn't fit the latter role?
That's exactly what happened in Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 at the Michigan International Speedway, though, as the 43-year-old Gordon outdueled 24-year-old Joey Logano on the last restart with 17 laps remaining and pulled away for his third win of the 2014 campaign. His 91st Sprint Cup win allows him to reassume the point lead that he lost with mechanical woes in Watkins Glen last week. It is Gordon's third win at Michigan, following victories in 1998 and 2001, the seasons of his third and fourth Sprint Cup championships.
Logano's charge back at Gordon after the restart was felled when he got loose and slipped behind Kevin Harvick and Menard. The Penske Ford driver was able to get back to third-place with a last-grasp pass of Menard, but Harvick held on for his fourth-consecutive second-place finish at Michigan. Dale Earnhardt Jr. battled back from a pit-road incident in the early stages with Kyle Larson to record a fifth-place result.
Clint Bowyer rebounded from his last-turn spin at Watkins Glen a week ago with a sixth-place result, ahead of fellow Toyota chauffeur Denny Hamlin. Brad Keselowski was leading late during the final cycle of pit stops when his right-front tire went flat and he brushed the wall. Still, he was able to recover for an eighth-place result. Jimmie Johnson likewise rebounded from weeks of poor luck and early woes with a broken shift lever that cost him a lap at one point to finish ninth. Greg Biffle completed the top-10.
The race was notable for the woes by drivers trying to make the Chase via their points position. Matt Kenseth got wrapped up in a six-car pileup on the race's second restart after Danica Patrick got loose and looped her Chevrolet in the middle of the pack. Kenseth was tagged by Aric Almirola and slapped the wall hard, sending him to the garage for repairs. He later returned to the race and finished 38th, 30 laps in arrears to Gordon. Larson, meanwhile, blew a right-front tire and slammed the wall just before the half-way point and was doomed to a last-place result.
In terms of laps led, the event was the Gordon and Logano show. Logano led the way for 86 of the 200 circuits, while Gordon was out front for 69 laps.
There were some post-race words between Johnson and Ryan Newman, who banged doors in the late going as they dueled for 10th position. Newman, clearly unhappy about the contact, confronted Johnson in the garage area following the event.