NASCAR At Michigan: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Gets First Win In Four Years

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ended his 143-race winless streak Sunday, taking the Quicken Loans 400 at the Michigan International Speedway. Michigan had likewise been the sight of his last win in June 2008.

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11 Total Updates since June 16, 2012
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2012 NASCAR Standings: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Makes Big Jump With Win

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is back on the radar after failing to win in 143 consecutive races. His victory at the Quicken Loans 400 also shot him up to second place in the Sprint Cup Series standings. He trails Matt Kenseth by four points.

Former points leader Greg Biffle fell from second to third place after the race.

Here are the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings with 11 races to go until the Chase (NOTE: These are strictly in relation to Chase spots):

  1. Matt Kenseth +109 inside Chase
  2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. +105
  3. Greg Biffle +92
  4. Jimmie Johnson +76
  5. Denny Hamlin +58
  6. Kevin Harvick +48
  7. Martin Truex Jr. +41
  8. Tony Stewart +35
  9. Clint Bowyer +25
  10. Brad Keselowski +2
  11. Carl Edwards -2 from top 10
  12. Kyle Busch -26 (Holds No. 1 Wild Card spot, 1 win)
  13. Ryan Newman -31 (Holds No. 2 Wild Card spot, 1 win)
  14. Paul Menard -37
  15. Joey Logano -51 (-20 from No. 2 Wild Card spot)
  16. Kasey Kahne -67 (-36 from No. 2 Wild Card spot)
  17. Marcos Ambrose -70
  18. Jamie McMurray -81
  19. Juan Pablo Montoya -81
  20. Jeff Gordon -83
  21. Jeff Burton -83
  22. Aric Almirola -86

For all news and information regarding the 2012 Sprint Cup Series, please visit NASCAR Ranting & Raving or check out SB Nation's dedicated NASCAR hub.

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NASCAR At Michigan Results: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Wins Quicken Loans 400

Dale Earnhardt Jr's 143-race winless streak is over.

Earnhardt dominated the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan, leading 96 laps for his first win since this race in 2008. It is only his fourth win in the last eight seasons, since the conclusion of the 2004 season that saw him win six races.

Tony Stewart took second ahead of Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, and Jimmie Johnson. The top-10 was completed by Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Juan Pablo Montoya, polesitter Marcos Ambrose, and Kevin Harvick.

Earnhardt also takes the point lead with the victory, the first time he has stood atop the standings since that 2008 season.

It is a long-awaited moment for Earnhardt's fanbase, which has voted him Most Popular Driver since 2003. Since winning at Phoenix with two races left in that campaign, he added victories at Chicago in 2005, Richmond in 2006, and his two most recent wins at Michigan.

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NASCAR At Michigan: Denny Hamlin Crashes, Goes Up In Flames

There will be no third-straight win for Denny Hamlin in the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan. Hamlin's Toyota spun in traffic after contact with Ryan Newman on a restart. The car hit the grass on the inside of the fourth turn and sheared much of the left front body-work off the car.

As Hamlin limped the car down pit road, it suddenly fireballed. Hamlin was able to get the car stopped and get out as track firefighters doused his Toyota with fire extinguishers.

Hamlin joins his teammates Kyle Busch and Joey Logano as drivers out of the race. Busch blew an engine approaching the halfway point, his third engine failure in as many races. Logano then crashed with David Gilliland and Kasey Kahne on the restart prior to Hamlin's incident.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. currently shows the way with 75 laps remaining. Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, and Greg Biffle round out the top-five.

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NASCAR At Michigan: Kyle Busch Blows Engine For Third Week In A Row

Kyle Busch is out of the race with a blown engine.

No, that isn't a reprint from Dover, nor is it a reprint from last weekend at Pocono. Busch just took his Toyota to the garage at the Michigan International Speedway after 85 laps, ending his day with a blown motor for the third week in a row. Busch tumbled outside the top-10 in points last weekend with his engine failure, and he will likely fall even further this week. Busch did win at Richmond in May to give himself an opportunity to make the Chase via a wild card spot, but as he falls deeper in the standings, drivers like Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman who also have a win move past him to take those spots.

Busch falling out of the race brought the second major roar to the Michigan crowd in the recent laps. The first came when Dale Earnhardt Jr. overhauled Marcos Ambrose for the race lead. Earnhardt currently runs second to Tony Stewart as he looks to claim his first win since winning at Michigan in June 2008.

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NASCAR At Michigan Update: Marcos Ambrose Leads At Lap 50

The fourth caution - the two most recent for NASCAR competition yellows - is out at lap 50 of the Quicken Loans 400 at the Michigan International Speedway. Marcos Ambrose held the lead at the caution flag after a thrilling three-wide pass of Matt Kenseth and the lapped car of Ken Schrader. Kenseth held second, ahead of Mark Martin, Greg Biffle, and Tony Stewart. Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, and the Penske Dodges of A.J. Allmendinger and Brad Keselowski completed the top-10.

The first yellow of the race flew on the third lap when Kurt Busch got loose and spun off the second corner. Busch sustained damage to the left front of his Chevrolet in his first race since being suspended by NASCAR for last weekend's event at Pocono.

The second caution came when rookie Josh Wise's engine blew and oiled down the race track. It was the second engine failure of the race, as Trevor Bayne's Ford - which started seventh - broke a valve spring just after the restart for Busch's incident.

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NASCAR At Michigan: Green Flag Approaches As Track Drying Concludes

The pre-race invocation has been given, both the American and Canadian National Anthems have been performed, and drivers standing near their race car as the green flag approaches for the Quicken Loans 400 at the now-sunbathed Michigan International Speedway.

Some drying in turns one and two and the backstretch remains, but the race will get going sooner rather than later and all 400 miles should be on tap today. That is a much better scenario than the August 2007 race weekend at Michigan, when the race wound up being delayed two days by a deluge of rain before the engines finally fired on Tuesday. The skies threatened that day, but the race was eventually completed with Kurt Busch winning.

Once the green flag drops, a long task will be ahead for Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, and Ryan Newman. Edwards was a victim of some engine gremlins during his qualifying performance Saturday and did not complete his lap. Newman and Johnson, both supposed to start from the top-10, had to change the engines in their Chevrolets and will start from the back of the field. Johnson is still seeking his first win at Michigan, one of only five race tracks on which he has never won, while Newman and Edwards are both two-time Michigan winners.

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NASCAR At Michigan: Rain Delays Quicken Loans 400 Start

Marcos Ambrose will be on the pole for today's Quicken Loans 400 at the Michigan International Speedway just a little bit longer than he anticipated.

Showers have delayed the start of the the race, originally scheduled for 1:19 Eastern. The 2-mile race track generally takes between 90 minutes and two hours to dry after a significant downpour ends, but NASCAR is optimistic that the 200-lap race will go green later this afternoon.

Rain is just the latest kink in a weekend that saw average lap speeds of over 200 miles per hour, including the first qualifying lap of that speed in over a quarter-century. Significant wear on the left side tires during practice forced NASCAR and Goodyear's hand. A significantly harder left-side tire was flown in and mounted for teams use in a practice session last night and today's race. There were no tire issues, but the speeds were down by more than seven miles per hour from the 203.241 average Ambrose blazed to only a couple of hours earlier.

Throw in the rain, which washes all of the rubber laid down by five practice sessions and qualifying - along with Nationwide Series and ARCA practice, qualifying, and races - and it is one more question mark in a long weekend of unknowns.

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NASCAR At Michigan 2012 Starting Lineup: Marcos Ambrose, Kevin Harvick Starting Up Front

Marcos Ambrose captured the pole for today's Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway with a qualifying time of over 200 mph. He will start in the front row on the inside of Kevin Harvick who qualified second.

Points leader Matt Kenseth will start in the sixth position while Dale Earnhardt Jr is further back at No. 17.

Starting lineup for today's NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway:

  1. Marcos Ambrose
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Greg Biffle
  4. Kasey Kahne
  5. Ryan Newman
  6. Matt Kenseth
  7. Trevor Bayne
  8. Tony Stewart
  9. Joey Logano
  10. Jimmie Johnson
  11. Denny Hamlin
  12. Regan Smith
  13. Clint Bowyer
  14. Mark Martin
  15. Aric Almirola
  16. Martin Truex Jr.
  17. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  18. Paul Menard
  19. Jamie McMurray
  20. AJ Allmendinger
  21. Juan Pablo Montoya
  22. Austin Dillon
  23. Scott Riggs
  24. Casey Mears
  25. Brad Keselowski
  26. Kurt Busch
  27. Michael McDowell
  28. Jeff Gordon
  29. Mike Bliss
  30. Josh Wise
  31. Bobby Labonte
  32. Landon Cassill
  33. Jeff Burton
  34. Kyle Busch
  35. David Gilliland
  36. Dave Blaney
  37. Joe Nemechek
  38. David Ragan
  39. Travis Kvapil
  40. Ken Schrader
  41. Tony Raines
  42. Carl Edwards
  43. JJ Yeley

For more on today's race head over to NASCAR Ranting and Raving and SB Nation's NASCAR Racing page.

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NASCAR At Michigan 2012 Start Time, Live Streaming, TV, Radio Schedule And More

NASCAR fans are hoping to dodge some rainy weather today for the running of the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Television coverage for today's race will be provided by TNT beginning at Noon, ET for "Countdown to Green" with actual race coverage beginning at 1 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to drop at approximately 1:16 p.m. weather permitting.

Today's race will be streamed online via Nascar.com's Race Buddy site and will provide a variety of in car cameras and different viewing options. If you are looking for radio coverage of today's race then Motor Racing Network has a list of available radio affiliates in your area.

Weather is expected to play a huge part in today's race as showers and rain are still expected to be in the area close to starting time. A delay is possible but it looks like there is a chance that the race can be gotten in later in the afternoon.

For more on today's race head over to NASCAR Ranting and Raving and SB Nation's NASCAR Racing page.

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Quicken Loans 400 Qualifying Results: Marcos Ambrose Wins Pole At Over 203 MPH

For the first time since Bill Elliott sat on the pole at Talladega in July 1987 with a speed of 203.827, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has an average qualifying speed of over 200 MPH.

Marcos Ambrose of Launceston, Tasmania ran a lap of 35.43 seconds to win the pole for Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 at the Michigan International Speedway, the first top starting spot of his Sprint Cup career. More importantly, his average speed was 203.241 MPH. Ambrose joins Elliott, Cale Yarborough, and Benny Parsons as the only men in the record book with a pole speed above that magic mark of 200. Michigan now holds the distinction of being the fastest track outside of Daytona or Talladega.

The "Thunder from Down Under" beat out Kevin Harvick - who spun on his warmup lap before recovering to turn a lap of 202.037 MPH, Greg Biffle (201.816), Kasey Kahne (201.720), and Ryan Newman (201.427). Rounding out the top-10 were Matt Kenseth, Trevor Bayne, Tony Stewart, Joey Logano, and Jimmie Johnson.

The top-19 drivers all broke the 200 MPH barrier in their average speed. 20th-placed A.J. Allmendinger barely missed it at 199.944 MPH.

The reason for all the speed was the new repaving job on the 2-mile track. Testing lap times routinely topped 200, including a breathtaking 204.708 by Biffle at the end of Friday's second practice. The trade-off for speed was tire durability, as many drivers reported blistering of their left-side tires. Goodyear has flown in an entirely different, more durable left-side compound which the drivers will practice this evening after the NASCAR Nationwide Series 250-miler.

In all, Newman's old track record of 194.232 MPH was utterly demolished. The 40-fastest of the 45 drivers attempting to qualify all beat that mark.

Failing to qualify were David Stremme (one of the drivers who beat Newman's record) and Stacy Compton.

Carl Edwards' engine sputtered on his warmup lap and the car failed to gain much speed as he took the green flag to begin his qualifying run. Aborting the run, Edwards will start at the tail end of the field Sunday.

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NASCAR At Michigan: Denny Hamlin Looks To Continue Quicken Loans 400 Streak

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to the Irish Hills of Michigan for the Quicken Loans 400. Denny Hamlin is the two-time defending event champion.

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