Jimmie Johnson finally wins at Michigan

BROOKLYN, Mich. Jimmie Johnson finally won a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.

The six-time series champion won Sunday for the first time in 25 Cup starts at MIS, outlasting pole winner Kevin Harvick by 1.214 seconds. It was Johnson’s third victory in four races — and the fifth in a row for Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports. Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. also have won for Chevy and Hendrick during the streak that doesn’t count Jamie McMurray’s win for Chevy in the Sprint All-Star race last month.

Brad Keselowski finished third Sunday after two straight runner-up showings at Dover and Pocono. Paul Menard was fourth, followed by Kasey Kahne, Gordon and Earnhardt in the 400-mile, 200-lap race.

Johnson had finished in the top five four times previously at Michigan, including a second-place showing in August 2011. He lost in August 2012 when his engine faltered with six laps remaining.

Johnson led after 164 laps Sunday before stopping to pit and giving up the lead. He was back in front with about 10 laps to go following a cycle of pit stops by other drivers, and the No. 48 Chevy led by a comfortable margin down the stretch.

Hendrick had four drivers in the top seven.

Johnson is trying for his seventh Cup title, which would tie the mark shared by Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt. This was his 69th career victory, and he’s the first driver with three wins in 2014.

There are now only four tracks on the current schedule where Johnson has never won — Kentucky, Watkins Glen, Chicagoland and Homestead-Miami.

It’s the third time Hendrick has won five straight races. The team accomplished the feat twice in 2007, including a six-race streak.

Gordon’s sixth-place finish was enough to keep him atop the points race, with Johnson moving up two spots to second.

Ford had won the last three Cup races at Michigan, with Joey Logano prevailing last August and Greg Biffle winning twice before that. Keselowski couldn’t extend that streak, and Logano finished ninth.

It was a rough day for Roush Fenway Racing, which has a record 13 Cup victories at Michigan. Biffle finished 20th and Carl Edwards was 23rd.

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