Kurt Busch wins rain-shortened Quicken Loans 400 at MIS

Nascar dashboard with steering wheel detached
Nascar dashboard with steering wheel detached

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kurt Busch may just as well have steered The Ark to victory at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, not his back-up car.

Instead, he drove his No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet to the win in the rain-marred Quicken Loans 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race in the water-logged Irish Hills.

When NASCAR called the race because of foul weather at 138 laps of a scheduled 200, at a little after 6 p.m., Busch was leading Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Chevrolet) and Martin Truex Jr. (Chevrolet).

It was Busch’s second victory and seventh top-10 finish in 2015 and his first multi-win season since 2011.

Busch, who crashed in practice and had to go to his backup car for the race, now has three wins and 10 top-10 finishes at MIS in 29 Cup races.

He is now 11th in series points, 150 behind leader and teammate Kevin Harvick (Chevrolet), who was leading the race late until he cut a tire and had to pit.

Harvick finished 29th.

“Fantastic group effort,” said Busch afterwards. “Our car kept on getting better and better. We worked the car from 24th all the way to the front. We had excellent team work, excellent pit stops. Winning in Chevy’s backyard is special.”

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The race turned out to be an aquatic marathon that started shortly after 1 p.m. and mercifully ended under a red flag, water pouring down the main straight at MIS.

“Because of the weather, I didn’t get a lot of opportunities to understand and adjust the car,” said Earnhardt Jr., who drives the No. 88 AMP Energy Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. “We just had to wait on the weather to get moved out, wait on them to dry the track. We just didn’t have the restarts of the No. 41, which had the field covered. But we had great long-run speed.”

Truex, who won last weekend at Pocono, drove a steady race to record his 14th top 10 finish in the first 15 races of the season.

In doing so, he became the first driver since Richard Petty in 1969 to match the King’s performance.

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“We had an awesome car and the team did another great job,” said Truex, driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet. “It was honestly a good weekend for us. I’m just proud to have my name mentioned with Richard Petty. It is pretty special. We’ll keep this thing rolling.”

Rain played havoc with the first 50 laps of the race, which saw three red-flag stoppages as storm cell after cell hit MIS.

Kyle Busch then smacked the outside wall in Turn 4 when his No. 18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota snapped hard right.

Busch, who won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at MIS and has only recently returned to competition after his series wreck at Daytona in February, was unhurt but was forced to drive his car to the garage for repairs.

He was credited with a 43rd-place finish.

Team Penske pair Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski finished fifth and sixth respectively in the Ford Fusions.

The weather drove fans from the stands at one point late in the race as NASCAR and MIS track officials warned spectators to take cover as torrential rain pelted the area, high winds lashed tents and campers and lightning flashed across the sky.

Contact Mike Brudenell: mbrudenell@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter@mikebrudenell.

Triple threat

Sunday was Kurt Busch’s third top-level NASCAR victory at MIS (in 29 races). The wins:

June 15, 2003: Sirius 400

Busch started fourth but didn’t take the lead until Lap 177; he held it the rest of the way.

Aug. 21, 2007: 3M Performance 400

Busch started way back at No. 15 but dominated the field, leading 92 of 200 laps.

Sunday: Quicken Loans 400

Though he led only six laps, Busch was the winner when rain ended things after 138 laps.

Quicken Loans 400 results

Today’s NASCAR results at MIS after 132 laps:

FIN

ST

DRIVER

MAKE

LAPS

1

24

Kurt Busch

Chevy

138

2

14

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Chevy

138

3

9

Martin Truex Jr.

Chevy

138

4

12

Matt Kenseth

Toyota

138

5

11

Joey Logano

Ford

138

6

3

Brad Keselowski

Ford

138

7

25

Jamie McMurray

Chevy

138

8

17

Paul Menard

Chevy

138

9

20

Trevor Bayne

Ford

138

10

32

Clint Bowyer

Toyota

138

11

13

Denny Hamlin

Toyota

138

12

4

Carl Edwards

Toyota

138

13

27

Casey Mears

Chevy

138

14

22

Ty Dillon

Chevy

138

15

1

Kasey Kahne

Chevy

138

16

19

Danica Patrick

Chevy

138

17

16

Kyle Larson

Chevy

138

18

23

Ryan Newman

Chevy

138

19

8

Jimmie Johnson

Chevy

137

20

7

Austin Dillon

Chevy

137

21

6

Jeff Gordon

Chevy

137

22

26

Aric Almirola

Ford

137

23

31

AJ Allmendinger

Chevy

137

24

5

Ryan Blaney

Ford

137

25

33

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Ford

137

26

30

Sam Hornish Jr.

Ford

137

27

36

Justin Allgaier

Chevy

137

28

15

Tony Stewart

Chevy

137

29

2

Kevin Harvick

Chevy

137

30

35

Michael Annett

Chevy

137

31

29

Landon Cassill

Chevy

137

32

40

Cole Whitt

Ford

137

33

37

Brett Moffitt

Ford

137

34

39

Josh Wise

Ford

137

35

18

David Ragan

Toyota

136

36

21

Greg Biffle

Ford

136

37

38

Jeb Burton

Toyota

136

38

41

J.J. Yeley

Toyota

136

39

43

Matt DiBenedetto

Toyota

136

40

42

Mike Bliss

Ford

136

41

28

Alex Bowman

Chevy

84

42

34

David Gilliland

Ford

Accident, 64

43

10

Kyle Busch

Toyota

Accident, 52 ___

This article was written by Mike Brudenell from Detroit Free Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.