NASCAR Sprint Cup 2015 recap: Six Takeaways from Quicken Loans 400 in Michigan

Image courtesy of @NASCAR.
Image courtesy of @NASCAR.

Image courtesy of @NASCAR.

Run a little, rain a little. Run a little, rain a little. That was the theme on Sunday at Michigan before the Quicken Loans 400 was ultimately called due to a torrential downpour.

By virtue of leading when the final red flag waved, Kurt Busch came away with his second victory of the season. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver came out on top while his younger brother finished at the bottom.

Here’s a look at six takeaways from the the Michigan race.

1. Busch League

Sunday couldn’t have been any different for the Busch brothers.

Kurt came away with his second win and moved even further up the Chase Grid to third, just behind teammate Kevin Harvick. Since his three-race suspension to start the season, Kurt has shown speed nearly every week and used some strategy to win the race in a backup car.

Meanwhile, younger brother Kyle was in desperate need of a strong run after wrecking at Dover. He was unable to pull out another top-10 finish to try his hand at making the Chase and sits 35th in the points standings. Kyle missed much of the season with a broken leg, and his chances of making the Chase are looking even more bleak after Michigan.

2. Juuuuuust Short

Kyle Larson’s dreams of winning a race almost came to fruition on Sunday—but Mother Nature had other plans. Larson’s ballsy move was brought on by crew chief Chris Heroy, who was clearly hoping the rain would shorten the race with his driver in the lead.

Larson would have to go to the pits to get fuel to make it the rest of the way, but showed his mettle on the final restart. After pulling ahead on worn out tires and little fuel, Larson held off the likes of Busch and Truex for a while. Had he run the car dry, who knows what might have happened?

3. Truex Keeps on Rollin’

When you can put yourself alone in a category with Richard Petty, you’re doing something right. That’s exactly what Martin Truex Jr. accomplished on Sunday with yet another top-10 finish. Truex’s top 10 was his 14th in 15 points races, something only done by Petty in 1969.

The Furniture Row Racing driver is on a roll and saw his consistency finally pay off when he won at Pocono. Truex clearly isn’t slowing down any time soon and now he gets a week off to revel in his success to start the season.

4. Three Up

Jamie McMurray – The streak continues for Jamie McMurray. For the third straight week, McMurray finished seventh in a points race and remained on the Chase Grid. It also helps that Kurt Busch, who’s already locked into the Chase, took a win. He’s not a lock by any means, but McMurray has a great chance to make his first Chase this year.

Trevor Bayne – It wasn’t his strongest day, but it was Trevor Bayne’s best finish this season. The Roush Fenway Racing driver led the Ford team with a ninth-place result while both Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Greg Biffle missed the top 20. It was like a cherry on top of a burnt pie.

Clint Bowyer – Rounding out the top 10 gave Clint Bowyer his fourth such finish this year. His result wasn’t just a byproduct of the rain coming at a convenient time, either. Bowyer is now just 12 points behind Ryan Newman with the break looming, but he might need more than that if a non-Chase driver wins at Sonoma.

5. Three Down

Kyle Busch – The rollercoaster ride continues for Kyle Busch as he goes from a top-10 finish at Pocono to DFL at MIS. Busch still has 173 points to make up if he plans on getting to the Chase. Oh, and he needs a win, which is never guaranteed with the streak of luck he’s had.

David Ragan – The slide continues for David Ragan with Michael Waltrip Racing. While Bowyer is clearly finding speed, Ragan can’t seem to do the same with his new team. His situation isn’t as dire as Busch’s, but his former replacement driver has now fallen to 24th in the standings, and he can’t seem to get back up.

Greg Biffle – The woes continue for Biffle and RFR. Roush has struggled to find any speed this season, and it was evident from the start that Biffle just didn’t have any again. At a track where he’s won four times, Biffle was not competitive and finished two laps down in 36th. Yeah, it was tough to watch for one of the biggest names in the sport.

6. Three Tweets

 

 

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