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article imageNASCAR: 'Fantastic group effort' gives Busch second win of season

By John Duarte     Jun 15, 2015 in Sports
Brooklyn - Rain forced NASCAR officials to stop the Quicken Loans 400 just past the halfway point, but the victory was just as sweet for Kurt Busch, who won for the second time this Sprint Cup Series season.
It was not the easiest of victories for Busch, who started 24th in his backup car and fought his way through the field. He said his team deserves all the credit for the win.
“It was a fantastic group effort,” said Busch. “To be able to pull the backup car out and have it prepared as it was and then to have the extra work that went into it.
“To come up from 24th and work our way through and have those restarts, everything unfolded perfectly for us, changes to the car, the restarts, to not break momentum, to end up on the outside lane most of the time, and then to have a shot up front,” he continued. “Our car just kept getting better and better the closer we put it to the front, and that's what you set it up for.”
Busch made the most of his time at the front of the field. He led only six laps, but they were the ones that counted — the last six.
The Quicken Loans 400 was scheduled to go 200 laps at Michigan International Speedway, but Mother Nature had other plans. Rain caused NASCAR officials to park cars four times. The first three red-flag periods alone, on laps 14, 20 and 46, delayed the race more than two hours. When a heavy thunderstorm hit on Lap 136, race officials initially brought out the yellow flag, but were left with no alternative than to call the race when the rain showed no signs of letting up.
Busch said periods when the race is stopped are tough and he tried “to just nibble on some sandwiches.” He added there is little else to do but go back to racing when officials give the go-ahead.
“You don't know when the rain is going to stop. You don't know when the track is going to be dry, and then if the rain is going to come again. You just got to be ready,” said Busch. “It's tough starting and stopping, but that's part of our sport, and how you never can challenge Mother Nature. She's in charge.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second in the race and felt he had one of the best cars on the afternoon, but his restarts were not as good as he needed them to be.
“We didn't take off as well as (Busch),” he said. “We were just kind of tight waiting on the front to work, don't have the good speed that they have the first three or four laps, and that was the difference today.”
Earnhardt said he tried to emulate eventual third-place finisher Martin Truex Jr. at one point and it seem ed to work.
“I was behind Truex at one point and he was fast, and he was loose,” recalled Earnhardt. “I said, I've got to get loose and ran my track bar up and then went forward, starting passing cars, so it was good.”
Truex said being parked waiting for the rain to let up is no fun. He said that once a driver steps in the car and puts the helmet on, he's is mentally prepared to race and it's a “big letdown” if the race is stopped and he has to get out of the car again.
“More than anything, it's just a pain in the but,” he said. “More than anything, we just want to get out there and get racing and put on a good show.”
Despite having a horrible race and finishing out of the Top 10 for only the second time this season, reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick continues to lead the drivers standings. In second place is Truex Jr., who came into the weekend 39 points behind the leader, but closed the gap to 15 points. Joey Logano climbs back into third place overall, 56 points back.
NASCAR nation will have a week off before the Sprint Cup Series schedule resumes with the Toyota-Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway, in California, in June 28, 2015.
More about Nascar, Sprint cup series, michigan international speedway, kurt busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr
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