Kurt Busch, fresh off his inaugural attempt in running the double both the 98th Annual Indy 500 and the 55th Annual Coca-Cola 600, Busch finished 6th at Indy as a rookie driver, the highest placing rookie in the field. Busch started the race 12th at Indy. This evening for the 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Busch, who qualified 28th, started in the rear for missing the driver’s meeting, Busch drove through the field even received the lucky dog.
But his long day of racing will be over early after having raced 906 miles out of the 1,100, after the motor let go in the #41 Haas-Automation Chevrolet.
“It’s kind of a shame it almost symbolizes how tough it’s been this year on the Haas Automation team, we give it our all,” Busch said after his night ended early. “It is a day I’ll never forget… that was very special, all in all I’m very satisfied, I gave it my all.”
Just to give an idea on his journey after the Indy 500 ended, Busch pulled into his pit stall at Indy at 3:17 p.m., with the aid of a state trooper, who stood nearby to help get Busch to the helipad where he grabbed a quick helicopter flight to the airport then a private plane to Charlotte for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race, Busch landed at Charlotte Motor Speedway in a helicopter at 4:50 p.m. with time to spare for the final leg of his journey.
“I do like it enough to do it again,” Busch said Sunday while on pit road at Charlotte Motor Speedway waiting for the start of the Coca-Cola 600. “So we’ll see how thing go tonight. I want to get settled in with the Haas Automation Chevy and give it our best. I need to ignore the 500 miles I just did, I have a job to do now.”
Busch was only the fourth driver, and the first since 2004 to attempt to complete both races. John Andretti, Robby Gordon and Tony Stewart, the difference being the other three drivers were former IndyCar drivers who were successful and then made a transition into NASCAR, then returned to Indy to race the 500. Busch has never driven an Indy car before he started testing and preparing for a possible Indy 500 start, even though he is the former 2004 NASCAR Cup champion, and has 25 career Cup wins.
Before Busch took the green flag, during the pace laps, he said, “Hey everybody, thanks for all the hard work,” he told his crew for the #41. “My job starts right now.”
Tony Stewart, Busch’s teammate at Stewart-Haas Racing, is the only driver to complete all 1,100 miles involved. Stewart, a former open wheel champion, finished sixth at Indy and finished third at Charlotte. Busch finished sixth for his first race at Indy, but like Andretti and Robby Gordon, ended his bid early after an engine failure.