Kurt Busch Does a Rain Dance, Wins Quicken Loans 400by Kyle Pokrefky June 14, 2015 0 comments
BROOKLYN, Mich. — Mother Nature smiled on Kurt Busch and the No. 41 Haas Automation team at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday evening, dropping heavy showers on the track and prompting NASCAR to call the Quicken Loans 400 in favor of Busch after 138 completed laps.
Busch’s second win of the season comes after leading a total of six laps and taking advantage of a late-pitting Kyle Larson, who tried to stay out as long as he could with a low fuel tank in hopes of an earlier rain out.
The rain-shortened win for Busch comes as the 27th of his career and makes him the third different multi-race winner of the 2015 season.
“It was a fantastic group effort,” Busch said of his third career Michigan win. “To be able to pull the backup car out and to have it as prepared as it was and then to have the extra work that went into it, all the crew members that Tony Gibson [crew chief] leads rolled up their sleeves, jumped right on in it, and we made it a race‑winning backup car. That shows you the depth of Stewart‑Haas Racing.”
Gibson, now a five-time race-winning Sprint Cup crew chief, labelled keeping up with the weather in today’s race as quite the stress inducer.
“[Kurt] drove himself up into the top-five, and we knew from there it was just going to be pit the least amount of times that we needed to pit because of the weather,” Gibson explained. “We could see the storms were starting to build and back build and come. It’s stressful when it rains like that, when it’s off and on and off and on. You’re looking at a radar screen but you don’t know exactly when it’s going to hit.
“It was pretty stressful for everybody but everybody stayed calm and cool. Rick Carelli [spotter] did a great job in the spotting stand keeping Kurt informed. I would keep him informed on the weather and he would tell Kurt. Everyone just worked good as a team today, and it kind of paid off.”
Chevrolet completed a clean sweep of the top-three positions of the race as Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Martin Truex Jr. were both scored in the respective second and third positions.
Enduring through three separate red flag periods before the final period that ultimately forced NASCAR’s hand to call the race, Truex Jr., last week’s winner at Pocono Raceway, described having to sit on pit road for over 150 minutes as a pain.
“More than anything it’s just a pain in the butt,” Truex Jr. stated. “I mean, you get in there, you get ready to go, and you’re like, all right, here we come, getting ready to go green, and it’s raining again. It’s just a pain in the butt.
“Once you get in the car and get the helmet on and get mentally prepared, you’re ready to go, it’s kind of just a big letdown when you’ve got to stop and get out of the car again.”
Rounding out the top-1o in the race were Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Trevor Bayne and Clint Bowyer.
Busch’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Kevin Harvick, wheeled the dominant car of the race as his No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet led a grand total of 63 laps before encountering tire issues that relegated
Following Harvick, 12th-place finisher Carl Edwards led the next highest total of laps with a tally of 41 circuits spent in the lead.
Outside of the four caution flags that waved for precipitation (with one of those originally being a , two other caution flags flew during the race with one being for debris and the other being for a Lap 54 solo accident by Kyle Busch, who veered into the Turn 4 wall by himself shortly after a restart.
Heading into an off week, the Sprint Cup Series will next be in action on Sunday, June 28th at Sonoma Raceway for the Toyota/Save Mart 350.
Top-10 Finishers of Quicken Loans 400
- 41 – Kurt Busch – Chevrolet – Stewart-Haas Racing
- 88 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports
- 78 – Martin Truex Jr. – Chevrolet – Furniture Row Racing
- 20 – Matt Kenseth – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
- 22 – Joey Logano – Ford – Team Penske
- 2 – Brad Keselowski – Ford – Team Penske
- 1 – Jamie McMurray – Chevrolet – Chip Ganassi Racing
- 27 – Paul Menard – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
- 6 – Trevor Bayne – Ford – Roush Fenway Racing
- 15 – Clint Bowyer – Toyota – Michael Waltrip Racing
Top-10 in the Drivers Standings after Round 15 of 36
- 4 – Kevin Harvick – Stewart-Haas Racing – 576 | Leader
- 78 – Martin Truex Jr. – Furniture Row Racing – 561 | -15
- 22 – Joey Logano – Team Penske – 520 | -56
- 88 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Hendrick Motorsports – 508 | -68
- 48 – Jimmie Johnson – Hendrick Motorsports – 506 | -70
- 2 – Brad Keselowski – Team Penske – 480 | -96
- 1 – Jamie McMurray – Chip Ganassi Racing – 464 | -112
- 20 – Matt Kenseth – Joe Gibbs Racing – 456 | -120
- 5 – Kasey Kahne – Hendrick Motorsports – 447 | -129
- 24 – Jeff Gordon – Hendrick Motorsports – 434 | -142
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky
Photo credit: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images