Mark Martin wins third race of 2009 campaign
by RacingOne.com staff
BROOKLYN, Mich. - Mark Martin took advantage of both Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle running out of fuel on the last lap to win Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Johnson and Biffle were battling for the lead over the closing laps of Sunday's 200 lap race when both hit empty on their fuel gauges on the white flag lap.First it was Johnson, who was the leader when the one to go flag flew, went dry followed a half lap later by Biffle, who coasted down the backstretch,That allowed Martin to speed by for the top spot and he was able to keep his engine fired despite also sputtering on his fuel load to take the checkered flag.
"My car was good, but I couldn’t run their pace and save gas,” Martin said. “When Jimmie ran out, I said, `Heck, we’re this close. I’m going to run hard. With three quarters of a lap, what can happen?”’
It was the veteran driver's third win of the 2009 season and 38th in his Sprint Cup Series career.Martin notched his fifth career victory and 29th top ten finish in 47 Cup races at MIS.
"This team deserves to be in the Chase,” Martin said. “We’ve been on the outside looking in with all trouble we’ve had. I went for the points.”Jeff Gordon, who started from the back of the field after blowing an engine in practice, came all the way back to finish second, giving Hendrick Motorsports a 1-2 finish.
Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Biffle rounded out the top five.
"The 48 came up there and ran like we weren’t on a fuel-economy run,” Biffle said. “I messed with him a little bit. It made me use too much throttle and burned up the gas. Unfortunately, he came up there and we cat and moused and used up too much gas.”
Johnson led 145 of the 200 laps but was credited with a 22nd place finish.Juan Pablo Montoya, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Brian Vickers and Clint Bowyer completed the first ten finishers.The race was slowed for only three cautions that took up a total of 14 laps.Six drivers exchanged the lead eleven times in a race that took a mere two hours and thirty four minutes to complete.
Tony Stewart finished seventh and kept his Sprint Cup Series point lead which is now 47 over Gordon.The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Infineon Raceway for the first road course race of the season next Sunday in the Toyota/SaveMart 350.