Earnhardt ends long win drought in Mich.

June 17, 2012 at 7:02 PM

BROOKLYN, Mich., June 17 (UPI) -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. claimed his first victory in 143 races Sunday, ending the long drought by taking the Sprint Cup event at Michigan International Speedway.

Earnhardt logged his first victory in a Sprint Cup Series race since 2008, leading 96 laps and then finishing 5.4 seconds ahead of defending series champion Tony Stewart in the rain-delayed contest.

It was the popular driver's 19th career victory but his first since a June 2008 victory at the same Michigan track.

He had limited his practice time due to engine concerns before the race.

Matt Kenseth retained the top spot on the Sprint Cup points leaderboard with a third-place finish. Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the Top 5.

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