The Final Word – A Michigan Nickname is “Water Wonderland”…No Kidding

Rain. Just bloody lovely. Who, outside of California, really needed the wet stuff all that bad? When Alfred, Lord Tennyson said, “Bright and fierce and fickle is the South, And dark and true and tender is the North,” he obviously was not talking about the rains of Michigan. Those black clouds still managed to tease one driver into dreams of winning delights, just before breaking his heart.

Three laps. That proved the difference between Kyle Larson having a great finish at Michigan and having the rain hold off, his car run low of fuel, and him having to hand it over to Kurt Busch. For Busch, he led for the final three under green, the final three under caution, and was the man of the hour when the red and checkered flags followed. Larson wound up 17th and left hoping to yet win his way into the Chase, Busch was left in a rain-soaked celebration for his second triumph of the season. Of course, if there was one who knew just how fickle life could be, that would be Mr. Busch.

It could have been different. When brother Kyle lost control of his car early in the race, he just missed his sibling as his auto hit the fence to end his day dead last. To make a playoff run, he now needs to run an average of 17 points per race better than Justin Allgaier over the next eleven, as well as win one of them. It still can be done, but finishing two of his four runs thus far this season outside the Top 35 just won’t cut it.

All in all, it was a miserable day, with rain coming early, coming often, and ending it more than 120 miles early. Kevin Harvick had the best car, but when he pulled out minus about three lug nuts on a front tire, his return to the pits dashed all hopes for this day, leaving him 29th. That was ten spots behind Jimmie Johnson, as our season leader needed to pit for a fender needing repair and that took him out of the hunt for the day. As for Greg Biffle, somebody told him to drive it like he stole it. Why in hell would he steal that piece of crap? He finished 36th.

Not all was gloom and doom. A pair of Juniors did well, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Martin Truex Jr. coming home second and third, just ahead of Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski. At least the Penske Fords could run.  It was a good day for Trevor Bayne, as he more than helped his bid to stick in the Top Thirty by finishing ninth. His was a Ford that also got there in the end. A pair of XFINITY drivers had decent days, with Ty Dillon (14th) and Ryan Blaney (20th) doing better than most.

Rain last Sunday, no race this weekend, no rain in California. The latest figures I read show 54-million people, most of whom are in California, are suffering drought conditions. Mind you, it is not so bad in the San Francisco area, where NASCAR visits Sonoma June 28th, with reservoirs sitting at over 90 percent capacity and they are still receiving three-quarters of their normal rainfall.

So, if it rains through the next race yet misses much of the rest of the state, that would not just be fickle. It would be downright cruel.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Thornton
A former radio and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, Little League baseball coach, Ron Thornton has been following NASCAR on this site since 2004. While his focus may have changed over recent years, he continues to make periodic appearances only when he has something to say. That makes him a rather unique journalist.

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  1. Hey Ron,
    It was Jeff Gordon who pulled out with minus 3 lug nuts on his front tire. Kevin Harvick had a lug nut cut off his valve stem resulting in a flat tire.
    With all the rain delays I guess you were already on your 2nd six pack by then which would explain how you got confused with the whole lug nut thing.


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