The Dark Knight rises: Earnhardt wins at Michigan

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew/TheDarkKnightRises/National Guard/ Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 17, 2012 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his first NASCAR Sprint Cup series point’s race in 143 starts at Michigan Sunday.  Earnhardt cruised to victory leading 95 of the 200 laps and winning by five seconds over Tony Stewart. The win came in his 450th career start and at the same race he last won in June of 2008.

After waiting out a rain delay of nearly two hours, the field took the green flag under bright blue skies. Early on, the lead was contested among Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and pole sitter Marcos Ambrose, who took the pole on Saturday with the fastest speed in NASCAR in 25 years, 203.241 miles per hour.

While the trio battled out front, Earnhardt, who started 17th, moved his way through the field and four caution periods, taking the lead for the first time on lap 71. From that point Earnhardt, his Chevy carrying a special Batman-The Dark Knight Rises paint scheme he helped design, was the class of the field. His only challenge came from Stewart who took the lead on a restart on lap 88. Stewart would hold the point until lap 109 when Earnhardt reasserted himself back into the lead. MORE>>>

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