In all sports, it’s often said that a win is a win is a win. But in NASCAR, it’s always felt a bit cheap to get a win in a rain-shortened race. Sunday’s Michigan International Speedway race was no different. In the current NASCAR Chase format, a new winner at Michigan would have been a crummy way to get into the 2015 Chase.
But then again, any driver would have taken it. Take Kyle Larson and his No. 42 crew chief, Chris Heroy — had that final red flag of the Sprint Cup race come out slightly early, not only would Larson be celebrating his first Cup race win, but he’d also be celebrating a good chance.
In 2014, Aric Almirola’s summer race win at the Daytona Coke Zero 400 was also rain-shortened, and surely Almirola doesn’t see an asterisk after the win. It got the 43 back into Victory lane for Richard Petty and Richard Petty Motorsports, and got Almirola into the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup. But Almirola didn’t go far into the Chase.
Kurt Busch’s win yesterday at Michigan was his second of the 2015 season and in a way, it seems better for a shorter than advertised race that a repeat winner did it. While he benefits from a higher seeding, it feels less cheap for someone in the middle of a race winning when the skies opened up.
To me, it just feels good for the sport and the current Chase format that a new driver didn’t luck into the Chase. Then again, one could say the same thing about the restrictor plate races. Thoughts? Leave your comments below.