Through rain and wrecks and a backup car, Kurt Busch survived to win the Quicken Loans 400 on Sunday. The first 51 laps of the race were stalled by two red-flagged segments lasting two hours and 10 minutes at Michigan International Speedway. Rain appeared to be ready to fall at any point on Lap 129 which caused the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing team elected to keep Kyle Larson on the track despite running low on fuel.
"You can never challenge Mother Nature," Busch said. "She's in charge."
Busch destroyed his primary car in the first practice on Friday, but he lined up third as the race went green and pushed Larson to the lead. Larson held onto the point for three laps before until he was forced to pit for fuel and relinquished the lead to Busch. Busch led just six laps until rain drenched the track and NASCAR called the fifth and final caution.
“It was definitely a challenge, it wasn’t easy, but I have a great group of guys behind me,” said Busch. “It’s amazing when you have team chemistry at the level we do. It’s a team combination all the way around. Tony Gibson led these guys through a back-up car. And the pit crew was there, giving their best. 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, who missed the first three races of the season, moved up to 11th in the point standings and third on the Chase grid. It was his second win of 2015, his 27th career Sprint Cup win overall and his third victory in 20 starts at Michigan International Speedway.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano rounded out the top five. Kevin Harvick had a brutal day and although he led the most laps, a tire stem broke after he pitted from the lead after Lap 119. Harvick finished 29th and ended his run of the top 10s after he was forced to pit again two laps off the pace. That wasn't the case for last weeks winner Truex. The No. 78 Furniture Row Chevy posted its; 14th top 10 of the season in the first 15 races, the first driver to do so since Richard Petty in 1969.
“Awesome race car and another great job by the team,” Truex said. “Just missed it a little bit today, but really proud of our season, really proud to have obviously my name mentioned next to Richard Petty, The King, is pretty special, so thankful for my team and what they've done this year, and hopefully we'll keep this thing rolling.”