Dale Jarrett turned the Kmart 400 into a ho-hum drive at Michigan Speedway.
He took the lead from Jeff Gordon on the 53rd lap today and easily held off NASCAR's poster boy the rest of the way.
This was the second victory of the season for Jarrett, who went into the race leading the Winston Cup series by 51 points over Jeff Burton and by 339 points over Gordon, who has won the series three of the past four seasons.
"That's probably the best race I've ever driven," said Jarrett, whose Ford led by almost 15 car lengths going down the final backstretch at the two-mile oval.
"Sitting as a fan, I'd hate to see a race like that," Jarrett said. "But where I was sitting, there couldn't be anything better than having an almost perfect race car and no cautions to interrupt that."
Jarrett, with no caution flags to slow him, set a race record of 173.997 mph, eclipsing Rusty Wallace's mark of 166.033 set at Michigan on June 6, 1996.
The race was so one-sided that with 10 laps to go, the only real drama was in waiting to see how big Jarrett's margin of victory would be. He was so far ahead of Gordon's Chevrolet most of the time that the CBS television cameras could seldom get their two cars in the same picture.
"It was embarrassing," Gordon said. "Dale had such a strong car. It was a pretty boring day for me, really. I just never did see Dale. He put it on the gas and he was gone."
In the unofficial points report, issued within minutes of the race's end, Jarrett had stretched his Winston Cup lead over Burton -- who finished third -- to 66 points and was 349 points ahead of Gordon, who remained sixth in the standings.
The only real racing came early, resulting in 12 lead changes involving seven different drivers.
Gordon was running in front of Ernie Irvan and Jarrett after 50 laps. Following pit stops by all the leaders, Jarrett swung into the lead on the 53rd lap and was never seriously challenged.
There were two more pit stops along the way, but Jarrett and Gordon were so far ahead that their positions never changed. They ran 1-2 the rest of the afternoon to the chagrin of approximately 160,000 fans who watched under dull gray skies.
With no caution flags, all the cars were able to run wide open the entire race. There was little reason to fear bumping or causing a wreck. The field soon was stretched out, single file, with each car basically doing laps around the track.
Fans began leaving with 25 laps remaining.
"Scratch today," Gordon said after finishing second for the second straight week. "Today was just really odd."
Jarrett was running 6.7 seconds ahead of Gordon after 140 laps. Gordon managed to close the gap to 3.5 seconds with 13 laps remaining, but Jarrett pulled away again, lapping cars that weren't on the lead lap.
And those same lapped cars seemed only to get in Gordon's way as he tried to reel in his rival. Jarrett conceded Gordon's car was probably stronger at the end, but time was running out. Jarrett's margin of victory was .505 seconds, mainly because he finally eased off on the throttle down the stretch. Still, the race took only 2 hours 17 minutes 56 seconds.
This was the first caution-free Winston Cup race since May 10, 1997, at Talladega. That race, at 188.354 mph, remains the fastest average speed in Winston Cup history. It was the third caution-free race at Michigan, the first since 1984.
Jarrett, winning for the 20th time in his career, became the third repeat winner on the circuit this season.
CAPTION: Dale Jarrett displays trophy after second victory of season. He set a race record of 173.997 mph.