BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Matt Kenseth held off Jeff Gordon this time.
Kenseth easily kept the four-time NASCAR champion at bay in the final laps of yesterday's Nextel Cup race at Michigan International Speedway and won for the third time this season.
The finish lacked the drama of last month's duel in Chicago, when Gordon caught Kenseth and then controversially spun him out of his way to race on by for the victory.
And although Gordon appeared to have a faster car at the end this time -- he charged from 12th place on a restart with 36 laps to go in the 200-lap race -- he ran out of time and finished 10 car lengths behind Kenseth's No. 17 Roush Racing Ford.
``I wish we had a few more laps," Gordon said. ``I needed maybe three more and I would have been on his bumper. I would have liked to show him and everybody else I know how to pass him clean."
Kenseth definitely knew Gordon was coming.
Exchanging radio chatter with Kenseth, crew chief Robby Reiser warned, ``The 24 is coming."
``I know he's coming, but I've been taking care of the tires and we'll be OK," Kenseth calmly replied.
Kenseth said in Victory Lane that he had learned from past mistakes to prepare for the end of the race.
Kenseth solidified his hold on second place in the Cup standings, and is now just 58 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson.
Johnson overcame a flat tire on the second lap to finish 13th. He and Kenseth have all but clinched their spots in the 10-race Chase for the championship with only three races remaining.
Tony Stewart, the defending Cup champion, finished third, and was followed by Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Greg Biffle, all of whom are still fighting for spots in the Chase.