Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), looked to be on track for a solid finish on Sunday afternoon in the Quicken Loans 400 at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, but late-race pit strategy proved costly in the end. Busch finished 13th to score his third straight top-20 and second consecutive top-15 finish.
Busch started eighth and steadily gained positions throughout the first half of the race. By lap 115, just past the halfway point of the 200-lap event, Busch had the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet securely in the top-five. The No. 41 remained in the top-10 through several different pit stops in the second half of the race. As pit strategies started to play out, Busch raced to the lead on lap 167 and stayed there until coming to pit road for his final stop on lap 182. It was the second straight week that Busch led laps toward the end of an event, staying ahead of the pack at Michigan for 16 laps and leading five laps in Pocono last weekend.
Busch, who was about 10 laps short on fuel to make it to the end of the event, came to pit road for the final time under green on lap 183 for a splash of fuel and small chassis adjustment.
When Busch returned to racing action just seconds later, he had fallen from the second position to 16th. He raced hard and battled a loose-handling car in the closing laps to finish 13th.
“We had a fast Haas Automation Chevrolet all day, but we let a potentially great finish slip away there at the end,” Busch said. “We were in position all day racing with the leaders. We took advantage of restarts to gain a lot of track position, and everything looked to be on track until the very end. We ended up a little too short on fuel to make it to the end and got loose on our final 20 laps. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but we had good speed today and made some good adjustments. Unfortunately, the strategy didn’t play out the way we’d hoped.”