Denny Hamlin led Joe Gibbs Racing with an 11th-place finish in today’s Pure Michigan 400 from Michigan International Speedway, while Kyle Busch battled to finish 13th and a mid-race accident would leave Joey Logano back in 31st.
Denny Hamlin qualified his No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota 21st and would battle handling conditions through the early going. Hamlin would remain patient as the FedEx crew worked to help the balance on the car and by the midpoint of the race he was finally able to get some track position and work his way into the top ten. Pit strategies would begin to play a factor and once again shuffle the field leaving Hamlin back in 17th for a restart with just over 50 laps remaining. Hamlin would to gain some additional track position and was able to pick up a bonus point for leading a lap during a final round of green flag pit stops with about 25 laps to go. A caution with 20 laps to go would allow Hamlin to restart 11th on lap 186 and he would hold that position until another caution with five laps to go for a blown engine on the 48 car that set up a green white checker finish. Hamlin would restart 10th and go on to finish 11th over the final two laps.
Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota in 23rd and battled through some early handling conditions as the car was loose into the turns, especially while in traffic. Although the car would improve as the race went on, track position would continue to prove hard to come by and with 50 laps remaining he would find himself racing in the 12th position. He would come to pit road while under green with 34 laps to go asking for help with tight conditions in the center and exit of the turns. A caution with 20 laps to go would allow Busch to restart 10th on lap 186, but he would get caught in the middle three wide and lose a few spots. Busch was racing 13th when another caution came out with five laps to go after the 48 blew an engine while leading the race. He would hold onto the position and go on to finish 13th in a green white checker finish.
Joey Logano started the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota in 16th position and was fast at the drop of the green flag as he managed to drive up into the top 10 during the opening few laps. Logano would get shuffled back in a restart following an early lap-six caution as his No. 20 Camry became extremely loose. He would be racing inside the top 20 and reporting that the car was improving when the 42 car would make contact with his left rear fender. The contact would push Logano into the outside wall and cause a tire rub on his right rear tire. A couple laps later the tire would blow and send him back into the wall once again. Logano would have to bring his Home Depot Camry into the garage for repairs. He would return to the track in an effort to complete the race, but he was forced back into the garage a second time after additional contact from the 42 sent him into the wall once again. He would be able to finish, but was scored 68 laps down in 31st place.
Greg Biffle picked up the win, with Brad Keselowski second, Kasey Kahne third, Carl Edwards fourth and Marcos Ambrose rounded out the top five. There were eight cautions for a total of 34 laps with 31 lead changes among 14 different drivers. The race was extended one lap for a green white checker finish.
With just three races remaining before the field is set for The Chase, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will return to famed Bristol Motor Speedway next Saturday night, August 25. Coverage of the race will be on ABC at 7:30 PM ET (pre-race show starts at 7 PM ET). You can also keep track of all the action every day by following @joegibbsracing on twitter.