Quicken Loans 400

Track: Michigan International Speedway
Date: 6/17/2012
Car No: 88
Sponsor: Diet Mountain Dew/'Dark Knight Rises'/National Guard
Organization: Hendrick Motorsports

Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove to his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in four years by dominating the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 95 laps and took the checkered flag with a five-second lead over runner-up Tony Stewart.

Despite starting 17th, Earnhardt Jr.'s Diet Mountain Dew/'The Dark Knight Rises'/National Guard Chevrolet began the race very loose and in Earnhardt's words "edgy" as he slipped back to 27th in the race's first 10 laps. Crew chief Steve Letarte elected to add a spring rubber to the No. 88 Chevrolet's left-rear to tighten the car's handling. The change proved to be exactly what Earnhardt Jr. needed as he charged from as low as 36th to the lead before the race's halfway point.

Stewart posed the strongest threat in the race's second half, but faded after he and Earnhardt made their final pit stop under green at lap 163. Earnhardt Jr. stretched his lead once the pair returned to the track and was able to cruise to the victory.