BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) — Jeff Gordon's third Sprint Cup win of the season came down to one crucial restart.
Gordon got the better of Joey Logano and led Sunday's race at Michigan International Speedway with 16 laps remaining. After that, he had little trouble maintaining a comfortable margin over Kevin Harvick, who ended up finishing second.
"Joey, as we rolled up to some of the restarts — not that last one, but some of the other ones — as guys were starting to sort of anticipate it, he was slowing down, and when he slowed down, everybody got bottled up, and then he'd take off," Gordon said. "That last one, I thought he had a good start, but I had a good one, too."
The 43-year-old Gordon won his first Cup race at MIS since 2001, the same year he won his most recent championship on NASCAR's top series. He's now looking like a threat to win another. Sunday's win gave him the series points lead over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.
"There's got to be some advantages to being 43 out there," Gordon said. "I would hope being more patient and using your head a little bit more would be one of them. I think I've always felt like to be a top driver in this series you've got to balance that out with aggressiveness, being smart, utilizing your equipment, making the most of it."
Harvick was second, followed by Logano, Paul Menard and Earnhardt.
Gordon completed a sweep at MIS for Hendrick. Jimmie Johnson won the June race on the two-mile oval.
"I think all of our teams are running well, but this is a big, big win," owner Rick Hendrick said. "It's great to see Jeff so happy. He's like a little kid again, so I think it's going to be really, really important for the momentum he's carrying right now into the Chase."
Logano was second to Gordon in qualifying. He led 86 laps and Gordon was in front for 68.
"We can win a championship. I really feel we can do that. That's the message I want to put out there," Logano said. "We've got to find a little bit more speed."
Here are five more things to know from Sunday's race:
REPLACEMENT: Jeff Burton finished 37th after replacing Tony Stewart in the No. 14 car. Stewart skipped his second straight Cup race after he struck and killed a driver at a dirt-track race in New York the previous weekend.