BROOKLYN, Mich. — Not only has Jimmie Johnson returned to winning, he’s winning where he’s never won before.
Johnson held off a fast-approaching Kevin Harvick to win Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway, his first at the 2-mile track.
The win is Johnson’s third of the season — all coming in the past four races — and Hendrick Motorsports drivers have now won five consecutive races.
“They’ve been so good at Michigan but couldn’t close the deal,” team owner Rick Hendrick said of Johnson and crew chief, Chad Knaus. “That’s five in a row.”
Brad Keselowski was third, Paul Menard was fourth and Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw was fifth.
Harvick, the pole-winner, took control early, leading the first 18 laps but his run was interrupted twice by accidents.
Brian Vickers broke loose on the first lap and was hit by Travis Kvapil to bring out the first caution. On the restart on Lap 7, Harvick led followed by Gordon.
Right after the restart, Kyle Larson got loose and spun in an incident that also collected Kahne and Martin Truex Jr. On the restart on Lap 12, Harvick continued to lead the way.
Gordon moved into the lead for the first time on Lap 19.
A round of green-flag stops began on Lap 38. Once the cycle was completed on Lap 46, Gordon remained the leader followed by Harvick and Johnson.
Harvick got around Jeff Gordon to retake the lead on Lap 57.
Debris on the backstretch brought out the third caution of the race on Lap 73. Following pit stops, Johnson took over the lead on the restart on Lap 79 followed by Joey Logano and Harvick.
Logano quickly made his way around Johnson for the lead on the restart.
Johnson made his way back around Logano on Lap 92 to move into the lead again.
After 100 laps, Johnson remained the leader followed by Logano, Gordon, Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
David Ragan spun to bring out the fourth caution of the race on Lap 104. All of the lead-lap cars pit for fuel and tires and Harvick took over the race lead on the restart on Lap 108.
A spin by rookie Alex Bowman brought out a caution on Lap 110. Harvick continued to lead on the restart on Lap 114.
Brett Moffitt spun into the infield grass on Lap 115 to bring out the sixth caution of the race. Harvick continued to lead the way on the restart on Lap 120.
Denny Hamlin and Aric Almirola wrecked on Lap 123 to bring out a caution on Lap 123. Most of the lead-lap cars pit for fuel and tires but Harvick, Logano and Matt Kenseth remained on the track and led the way on the restart on Lap 128.
Logano quickly passed Harvick on the restart to take over the lead.
Debris on the track brought out a caution on Lap 148. Once again only some of the lead-lap cars elected to pit and seven remained on the track. On the restart on Lap 153, Jamie McMurray led the way followed by Johnson, Paul Menard, Earnhardt and Gordon.
Johnson passed McMurray for the lead on the restart.
Several cars, including Johnson, began their final green-flag pit stops on Lap 166. Those stops turned the lead over to Kurt Busch.
Once all cars had pit for a final time, Johnson returned to the lead on Lap 192.