NASCAR & Auto Racing

Race Rewind: Kurt Busch wins Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan

Kurt Busch leads Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr.during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Mich.
Kurt Busch leads Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr.during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Mich. Getty Images

Kurt Busch didn’t steal a win. He simply grabbed an opportunity when it presented itself.

Busch was leading Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway when the race was called just after 6 p.m. with 62 of 200 laps remaining and severe storms covering the area around the track.

It wasn’t a fluke as Busch had a fast car the whole race, but only led once – the final six laps.

The win is Busch’s second Sprint Cup Series victory of the season and 27th of his career.

Busch won at Richmond, Va., and was already locked in the Chase. This win gives him an added three-point bonus when the 16-driver field is seeded.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was second, Martin Truex Jr. was third, Matt Kenseth was fourth and Joey Logano was fifth.

Turning point

Sunday’s race was halted four times for rain. The last time, with 62 laps remaining, was too much to overcome, especially when lightning forced officials to clear the grandstands of fans. Kyle Larson tried to stretch his fuel until the race came, but it was Busch in the lead when the race was called.

Three who mattered

Kurt Busch: Good timing on a green flag pit stop and a fast car put Busch in position to capitalize on crazy circumstances.

Kevin Harvick: He was in strong position to win when he was forced to pit road while leading on Lap 122 when his right-front tire going down.

Kyle Busch: Win on Saturday, wreck on Sunday. Busch’s hopes to make the Chase took another big hit when he wrecked on a restart while rain was still falling on the track.

Observations

▪  Before the race was 50 laps old, the competition had already been halted three times by rain delays that together stretched more than two hours. NASCAR tried to restart the race again on Lap 60 – while there were still reports of light rain on the track – and shortly thereafter, Kyle Busch careened hard into the wall. If Busch’s wreck in February at Daytona, where there was no SAFER barrier, was on NASCAR, this one was, too. All done in the selfish attempt to get to halfway and not have to return on Monday.

▪  Credit to Kyle Larson and his team for attempting to sneak out of Michigan with a win – which is what he needs to make the Chase this season. Short on fuel and with the skies close to opening up, Larson’s team had him remain on the track and in the lead instead of pitting. He held out to the last minute before pitting for fuel. Less than 10 minutes later, the final caution for rain was displayed.

▪  With his third-place finish, Martin Truex Jr. became the first driver to earn 14 top-10 finishes in the first 15 races since Richard Petty accomplished the feat 46 years ago in 1969.

They said it

“It’s an unbelievable feeling to know what we went through, paced ourselves, and found the lead toward the latter part of the race when the rain came in.” - race winner, Kurt Busch

N@SCAR

Three tweets from Sunday’s race:

Next race

Toyota/Save Mart 350

Where: Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway

When: 3 p.m. June 28

TV: Fox Sports 1

Radio: Performance Racing Network.

Last year’s winner: Carl Edwards

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