Originally posted on Race Review Online  |  Last updated 6/17/12

The biggest question for the last three years is when will Dale Earnhardt Jr. end his winless drought.

Today, he answered those questions by dominating the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway. It was the first Sprint Cup win for Junior in 143 races and his first since this race at Michigan in 2008. During that winless streak, he had many close calls with seven runner-up finishes, but today he was the man on top.

Junior took control of the race, leading 96 of 200 laps in dominant fashion after the 400-mile event was delayed by rain for over an hour in a half. He outlasted second place finisher Tony Stewart by 5.393 seconds in his No. 88 Chevy for his 19th career Sprint Cup victory.

Roush Fenway Racing's Matt Kenseth and his teammate, pole sitter Greg Biffle, took home the third and fourth place finishing positions. Kenseth kept his points lead going into next weeks race at Sonoma, but it was cut in half by Earnhardt Jr.'s victory as the No. 17 now leads Dale Jr. by four points. Biffle led 37 laps today and remains third in the standings.

Hendrick Motorsports' Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon took fifth and sixth respectively and made it three Hendrick cars in the top six. Johnson passed Denny Hamlin in the standings and now sits fourth heading into next week.

Clint Bowyer, Juan Pablo Montoya, Marcos Ambrose, and Kevin Harvick rounded out today's top 10.

The drivers were very worried about the tire situation with the track being newly paved and speeds at record highs, but the tires really never became an issue today. We saw eight cautions in the race with two of them being competition yellows in the first 50 laps.

Half of the eight cautions actually came in the first 50 laps between the two competition yellows, a first lap spin for Kurt Busch off Turn 2 and a blown engine for Josh Wise on Lap 9.

The other incidents on the day came when Kurt Busch brought out the day's sixth caution with another spin in Turn 2 on Lap 119. On the restart, Joey Logano tried to avoid a slower David Gilliland off of Turn 2, but lost it and collected Gilliland and Kasey Kahne. For the second time in a row, there was an incident on the ensuing restart as Denny Hamlin lost it coming off of Turn 4. As Hamlin brought the No. 11 to pit road, flames engulfed the right side of his FedEx Toyota. Hamlin's day would end as he would fall from fourth to fifth in the standings with the 34th place finish.

That capped a rough 40 laps for JGR as they saw all three of their cars days ruined with Kyle Busch's third straight engine failure, Logano's wreck off Turn 2, and Hamlin's incident. The trio finished 32nd, 34th, and 35th respectively.

The series goes road racing next week in the first of two road courses and should surely shake up the standings once again before heading to a night race in Kentucky the following week.

Race Results

1. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2. 14 Tony Stewart
3. 17 Matt Kenseth
4. 16 Greg Biffle
5. 48 Jimmie Johnson
6. 24 Jeff Gordon
7. 15 Clint Bowyer
8. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya
9. 9 Marcos Ambrose
10. 29 Kevin Harvick

11. 99 Carl Edwards
12. 56 Martin Truex Jr.
13. 2 Brad Keselowski
14. 1 Jamie McMurray
15. 39 Ryan Newman -1
16. 47 Bobby Labonte -1
17. 43 Aric Almirola -1
18. 83 Landon Cassill -1
19. 22 A.J. Almendinger -1
20. 13 Casey Mears -1

21. 31 Jeff Burton -1
22. 27 Paul Menard -1
23. 34 David Ragan -1
24. 33 Austin Dillon R -2
25. 36 Dave Blaney -2
26. 93 Travis Kvapil -3
27. 38 David Gilliland -3
28. 78 Regan Smith -3
29. 55 Mark Martin -5
30. 51 Kurt Busch -6

31. 32 Ken Schrader -7
32. 18 Kyle Busch -43
33. 5 Kasey Kahne -49
34. 11 Denny Hamlin OUT
35. 20 Joey Logano OUT
36. 10 Tony Raines OUT
37. 49 J.J. Yeley OUT
38. 98 Michael McDowell OUT
39. 19 Mike Bliss OUT
40. 87 Joe Nemechek OUT

41. 23 Scott Riggs OUT
42. 26 Josh Wise OUT
43. 21 Trevor Bayne OUT

Sprint Cup Standings

1. Matt Kenseth 565
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. -4
3. Greg Biffle -17
4. Jimmie Johnson -33
5. Denny Hamlin -51
6. Kevin Harvick -61
7. Martin Truex Jr. -68
8. Tony Stewart -74
9. Clint Bowyer -84
10. Brad Keselowski -107

11th-20th Points Behind 10th

11. Carl Edwards -2
12. Kyle Busch -26 (Wild Card #1)
13. Ryan Newman -31 (Wild Card #2)
14. Paul Menard -37
15. Joey Logano -51
16. Kasey Kahne -67
17. Marcos Ambrose -70
18. Jamie McMurray -81
19. Juan Pablo Montoya -81
20. Jeff Gordon -83

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