Michigan International Speedway Gave Several NASCAR Teams Some Surprises

By Christy Valdez
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

In a race where many NASCAR teams and manufacturers wanted to win for bragging rights in the motor city, not everyone left Michigan International Speedway happy.

The Quicken Loans 400 may have been the 15th race of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season but for some drivers, it gave them a surprise to either turn around a season or hurt their chances in going up in the point standings.

During the Quicken Loans 400 ,several drivers stepped up to the occasion and even competed for the lead throughout the entire race. For pole sitter Carl Edwards, it started off well and he managed to show he was a competitor for the win until a late caution set him back a bit. Edwards managed to be one of the drivers who stood out throughout the race despite the caution.

Joey Logano even led for a couple of laps in the race and among several of the Ford drivers who were among the leaders, including race winner Greg Biffle. The race at Michigan may have given the Ford teams a boost of confidence heading forward into the season after going through a tough couple of races, it also gave a few other drivers surprises of their own.

Some of the surprises at the finish included a 10th-place finish by Jeff Burton, an 11th-place finish by Nationwide Series driver Austin Dillon and a 14th-place finish by Danica Patrick, who captured her second-straight lead lap finish as well as he third finish within the top 15, with her last best finish being at Martinsville.

Other surprises on the track weren’t what some drivers expecting to get at Michigan. With time running out for Denny Hamlin to try to make it into chase contention or a wild card berth, suffered a 30th place finish.

After winning at Pocono a week ago, Jimmie Johnson was well on his way to challenge for another win, but a blown tire with three laps to go took that opportunity away.

Johnson wasn’t the only Hendrick driver who could have had a chance to win the race, as teammates Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. both led laps in the race and could have competed until they suffered setbacks on the track.

The troubles for the Hendrick organization started early in the race even before setbacks for Johnson, Kahne, and Earnhardt occurred, Jeff Gordon was the first of the team to get caught in a wreck. All the trouble at Michigan made it the first time that all of the Hendrick drivers finished outside of the top-25, something that had not happened since 2005.

After the checkered flag had waved in the air at Michigan, it also led to more surprises but within the points standings.

Some of the big winners moving up in the points are Biffle, Tony Stewart, Martin Truex Jr. and Logano. Biffle moved up two spots to eighth, while Stewart moved into the top 10 after being in 22nd just a few weeks ago. Truex and Logano are currently tied in 13th and just 10 points behind Paul Menard for the second and final wild card spot into the chase.

Meanwhile Kahne, Earnhardt and Gordon slipped within the points. Earnhardt still remains within the top-10 but slipped three spots into seventh. Kahne fell out of the top 10 but is within a wild card position in 11th and Gordon, who previously held that wildcard spot, fell five spots to 16th.

Christy Valdez is a NASCAR writer for Rant Sports. Follow her on Twitter @Knowursports and on Facebook at On The Sidelines With Christy 

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