When it rains, Kurt Busch pours it on

Kurt Busch readies for practice Saturday at Michigan.

Kurt Busch readies for practice Saturday at Michigan.

BROOKLYN, Mich. –  Call him Rain Man.

Remarkably, six of Kurt Busch’s 28 NASCAR Sprint Cup victories have come in races that were either shortened or postponed by rain.

In 2002, he won a rain-shortened event in Atlanta. In 2007, he won at Michigan on a Tuesday, when the race was postponed for two days by rain—and then delayed for an hour from its rescheduled 10 a.m. start by fog.

In 2008, Busch won a rain-shortened race at Loudon. Both his 2015 victories came in events affected by weather—in a race at Richmond postponed by rain from Saturday to Sunday and in a rain-shortened event at Michigan.

Earlier this week, Busch got his 28th NASCAR Sprint Cup victory in a race moved to Monday because of rain at Pocono.

So is it just coincidence, or does Busch have a knack for maintaining his focus in uncertain weather conditions?

“There are quite a few rain-delayed wins that I have—and with all the different teams I’ve been with, with Roush and Penske and Stewart-Haas,” Busch told the NASCAR Wire Service. “I don’t know. I watched ‘Rain Man’ a couple of months ago and I should have practiced up on some of my quotes.

“The rain is definitely something you have to be patient with. It’s something you can’t predict… So you have to be ready at all moments, whenever they’re going to drop the green, and try to stay as levelheaded and focused as possible whenever we get to go. You can’t challenge Mother Nature. It feels good to be able to be ready, to be prepared, and to have a team behind you to go out there and perform at any moment.”

SHORT STROKES

Hendrick-powered cars turned in the top three 10-consecutive-lap average speeds in Saturday’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session at Michigan International Speedway. Jimmie Johnson paced the field at (195.394 mph), followed by Kevin Harvick (195.256 mph) and Tony Stewart (194.638 mph). That bodes well in particular for Stewart, who will start a season-best third in Sunday’s FireKeepers 400. And it’s not bad news for Harvick, who will have to come from 29th after two of his hot laps in the opening round of knockout qualifying on Friday were interrupted by cautions…

Track temperatures clearly make a difference at Michigan. In cooler conditions in Saturday’s first practice, Carl Edwards topped the speed chart at 197.770 mph. When the track warmed up for a second session at noon, Austin Dillon posted the fastest lap at 194.301 mph.

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