Kurt Busch’s quest to complete 1100 miles of racing in a single day came to an end about 200 laps short Sunday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Busch started the day competing in his first ever open wheel race, and arguably the biggest, the Indy 500 in Indianapolis.
After starting 13th at Indy, Busch bided his time, avoided several accidents and ended the day in sixth, a stellar accomplishment considering his rookie status.
Once Busch completed the 500 he faced the challenge of making it to Charlotte North Carolina in time for the start just before 6:30 p.m. start. Thanks to extensive preparation bolstered by the experience of his boss Tony Stewart who completed the same feat for the last time in 2004.
Stewart’s jet followed by a short helicopter ride that ended in the front stretch grass delivered Busch to Charlotte Motor Speedway at 4:50 p.m. much to the roar of the crowd who had been watching the Indy 500 on a giant screen at the track.
When the green flag fell, Busch made his way from his last place starting spot and made it as high as the top 15. From there however, he began to struggle falling a lap down at one point. He made up that lap but on lap 230 the engine in his Chevy expired, ending his race and his long day.
“We give it our all, and the way we were clawing our way up there and got a lucky break with the caution one time,” Busch said. “I thought we were making good gains on the car. It was great to race in traffic and to feel the stock car right after driving an IndyCar was a day I'll never forget. I can't let the mood here with the car dampen what happened up in Indy today.”
Busch added that despite his finish at Charlotte he was happy with how the day went.
"It was really a lot of fun,” Busch said. “A lot of preparation, a lot of hard work and a lot of team involvement on the Andretti side and the Stewart-Haas side. It was a dream come true to run at Indy and post a really good finish there. I can't let what happened down here dampen the mood.”
“I'm still really in awe of how well we ran at Indy” he added. “Those Andretti guys gave me a good car to do it with. Tonight, we were clawing our way up. We got a lucky break with one of the yellows. It was nice to run in the packs and side-by-side and feel that NASCAR on the same day as an IndyCar. The motor just expired. It's a tough break. It takes a team if you're going to do 1,100 miles. It's not just one individual. We came up just short. It really means a lot."
Busch said at the end of a long day he felt okay.
“I’m feeling good, actually,” Busch said. “They way that this race was coming to us, the cooler conditions tonight; you know, my hands are a little sore. My feet are a little sore just from working it. And overall, I can stand here with a smile knowing I gave it my all for six months trying to get to this point.”
After working for the goal of doing the double, Busch didn’t hesitate when asked if he would do it again.
“I’d love to do it again,” Busch said. “And at the same time, you’ve got to do it with quality teams. The teams really can make the big difference in all of this. And I have to thank Andretti and I have to thank Stewart-Haas.”