NSCS: Dancing in the Rain; Kurt Busch Wins Waterlogged Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan

RaceChaser Staff Featured, Midwest, NASCAR 0 Comments

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Report by Race Chaser Online Correspondent Ryan O’Hara — Chris Trotman/Getty Images North America photo —

Kurt Busch was at the front of the field when it mattered most.

In this case, he was in the right position during Sunday afternoon’s Quicken Loans 400 when Mother Nature came calling for the fourth time on the afternoon — soaking the track and leaving the remaining 62 laps in doubt.

Busch had taken the lead on lap 133 when reigning Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson’s fuel cell ran dry, and with lightning in the area and waning daylight, NASCAR called the race official just after 6 p.m. Eastern time with 138 laps complete of the scheduled 200.

The call handed Busch a meaningful victory and assuring him a spot in the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, providing he attempts to qualify for the remaining 11 races before the season-ending playoffs begin.

The win was Busch’s second Sprint Cup Series victory of the season (marking his first multi-win season since 2011), the 27th of his career and his third at Michigan.

“The way the race unfolded for us, to come up from 24th and work our way through and have those restarts, everything unfolded perfectly for us with [the] changes [we made] to the car, the restarts,” Busch said following the event, after Victory Lane ceremonies were moved to shelter. “To not break momentum, to end up on the outside lane most of the time, and then to have a shot up front, our car just kept getting better and better the closer we put it to the front, and that’s what you set up for. You set up for the wins… [and] for running out front, and that’s what Tony Gibson did.  I believed in it, and I just took my time but also had to keep working on each of those restarts to get the car towards the front.

The win was also more special to the team with coming in GM and Chevrolet’s home race in the Motor City.

“Winning in Chevrolet’s backyard is all that much more special,” Busch added. “Especially Michigan, they get to keep the Manufacturer’s Cup in their front office, so I hope all the top execs love that trophy because I do, too.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second, a late race restart foiling his chances at victory.

“When it came to the restarts, we didn’t take off as well as the 41,” Earnhardt explained. “We saw the same thing at Charlotte, the 78 and the 41 take off real good. We were just kind of tight waiting on the front to work [and didn’t] have the good speed that they have the first three or four laps, and that was the difference today.”

Earnhardt did admit, however, that neither he nor Busch was any match for the No. 4 team of Kevin Harvick. Harvick made his final pit stop on lap 120, but a lugnut knocked the inner valve stem off the right front tire, causing it to go flat and forcing the defending Sprint Cup champion back to pit road. Harvick finished 29th, two laps down, after leading the most laps (63) all afternoon.

“[Harvick] had the field covered,” the driver of the No. 88 expressed. “I think on the long run, again, we were one of the best cars. Us and the 4 seemed to match each other into that last run and found some good speed running the very top of the groove, had the car turning. It just didn’t work out today.”

Pocono winner Martin Truex Jr. was third, Matt Kenseth was fourth and Joey Logano rounded out the top five.

Larson and crew chief Chris Heroy were trying to stretch the fuel in the No. 42 Chevrolet and sneak their way into the Chase by stealing a win, but were three laps shy of the rains handing the 22-year-old his first-career Sprint Cup win. Larson finished 17th.

While Lady Luck shone on the elder Busch brother, she did not favor the younger Busch.

Kyle Busch lost control on a section of damp pavement in turn three and shot hard into the outside wall on lap 52, drawing the race’s third caution. Busch finished 43rd, out of the race, and may see his slim hopes of attempting to qualify for the Chase slip away into the darkness of the Irish Hills.

In all, the race was stopped four times for rain showers on the afternoon: at laps 14 (59:04), 20 (34:09) and 46 (35:38) before the rain-ending shower drew the fourth and final red flag at lap 138.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series concludes the FOX broadcast portion of the season on June 28 with the Toyota/Save Mart 350 from Sonoma Raceway (3 p.m. Eastern, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM).

Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman contributed to this report.

 

RESULTS: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series; Quicken Loans 400; Michigan International Speedway; June 14, 2015

  1. Kurt Busch
  2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  3. Martin Truex Jr.
  4. Matt Kenseth
  5. Joey Logano
  6. Brad Keselowski
  7. Jamie McMurray
  8. Paul Menard
  9. Trevor Bayne
  10. Clint Bowyer
  11. Denny Hamlin
  12. Carl Edwards
  13. Casey Mears
  14. Ty Dillon
  15. Kasey Kahne
  16. Danica Patrick
  17. Kyle Larson
  18. Ryan Newman
  19. Jimmie Johnson
  20. Austin Dillon
  21. Jeff Gordon
  22. Aric Almirola
  23. AJ Allmendinger
  24. Ryan Blaney
  25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  26. Sam Hornish Jr.
  27. Justin Allgaier
  28. Tony Stewart
  29. Kevin Harvick
  30. Michael Annett
  31. Landon Cassill
  32. Cole Whitt
  33. Brett Moffitt
  34. Josh Wise
  35. David Ragan
  36. Greg Biffle
  37. Jeb Burton
  38. JJ Yeley
  39. Matt DiBenedetto
  40. Mike Bliss
  41. Alex Bowman
  42. David Gilliland
  43. Kyle Busch

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.