Coca Cola 600: Blown engine ends Busch’s long day
CONCORD, N.C. — Kurt Busch came up short in his bid to finish both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, as his car’s engine failed late in the NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday night.
Busch never competed in an IndyCar race before Sunday, but you would never have known that from his sixth-place finish in Indianapolis.
Ninety-three minutes later, he landed at Charlotte Motor Speedway in plenty of time for the start of the Coca-Cola 600.
Busch had to start at the back of the 43-car field after missing the driver’s meeting. His hopes of running all 600 miles took a hit when he fell a lap down before the race was 50 laps old as Jimmie Johnson set a torrid pace as led 72 of the first 75 laps before Harvick moved to the top spot.
His long day of racing ended on lap 272.
“Kinda of a shame, the way we were crawling our way up,” Busch said after 906 miles of racing. “Day I’ll never forget.
“I gave it my all. The Haas Automation boys gave me a great car. Just blew up.”
He finished in 39th place at Charlotte.
Kurt Busch was running 13th at the halfway mark of the 400-lap event.
Only one driver, NASCAR teammate Tony Stewart, was able to complete all 1,100 miles of the “double” — running both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. Stewart accomplished the feat in 2001, finishing sixth in the 500 and third in the 600. Only four drivers have attempted the double. John Andretti and Robby Gordon are the other two.
Before the start of the 600, Kurt Busch said, “I feel great — the energy from running the race and the adrenalin — I have to focus on what is happening now, and that’s 600 miles. I’m really happy with the finish up there. The Andretti guys were incredible on leading me through the race. All in all, I couldn’t have asked anymore.”
Busch added, “I do like it enough to do it again, but I have a job to do now, like I need to ignore the 500 miles I just did.”
Busch started 12th at Indianapolis and played it very conservatively early as he was running 17th at the halfway point of the 500. He moved into the top 10 with 52 laps to go.
He had a real close call with only eight laps remaining when Townsend Bell, running fifth, spun and slammed into the second-turn wall. Busch had to do low to miss Bell as he came back across the track.
Andretti teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay won the 500, with former NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya finishing fifth.