(WOMR file photo)
Starting 24th in a backup car, Kurt Busch fought his way to the front of the field through intermittent rain showers and won Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway when a deluge halted the race after 138 of a scheduled 200 laps.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was second when NASCAR red-flagged the event for the fourth time. Martin Truex Jr. was credited with third, followed by Matt Kenseth and Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.
The victory was Busch’s second of the season. He won for the third time at Michigan and for the 27th time in his career.
His victory gave the brothers Busch a Michigan sweep, younger brother Kyle won Saturday’ XFINITY Series race.
“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,” Busch said in Victory Lane.
You know what’s more special about this? Winning in Chevrolet’s backyard. That’s what’s most important about winning in Michigan, so thanks to Chevrolet.”
Especially because his team had put in extra hours to ready a backup car after Busch hit the wall in Friday’s opening practice, the winning driver was very appreciative in Victory Lane!
“Yeah, you have to get down and dirty,” Busch said. “You have to really roll up your sleeves, get your elbows dirty, and put the work into it. And (crew chief) Tony Gibson makes these guys work a little extra hard.
“I always say thanks. I’m always there early with them. And it’s a great team chemistry feel.”
Busch grabbed the lead for the first time on Lap 133 when Kyle Larson’s gas-mileage gamble came up short and he was forced to pit road for fuel just as a storm cell was advancing toward the speedway.
Busch had pushed Larson to the lead after a restart on Lap 130, but Larson hadn’t stopped for fuel since Lap 88, and crew chief Chris Heroy was gambling that the rain would arrive before Larson ran out of gas. As it turned out, the rain came three laps too late for Heroy’s strategy to bear fruit.
The heavy thunderstorm arrived on Lap 136, forcing NASCAR to throw a caution and then to red-flag the race for the fourth time two laps later, with Busch out.
So with this victory, Kurt has been to Victory Lane twice this season and has solidly put his team into The Chase for 2015.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!