Kurt Busch attempted to complete “the double” this weekend – the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600. That’s 1100 miles of racing in one day on two tracks that are 575 miles apart, not to mention the fact that it is also in two very different types of race cars. It’s a truly impressive feat for anyone that can complete it. Busch’s attempt, while impressive, came up just a bit short.
Busch started the day in Indianapolis, competing in the world’s most famous auto race – the Indy 500. Though Busch had no experience in open wheel cars, he turned quite a few heads in practice earlier in the week. His race day was actually pretty good as well.
Busch finished the day in sixth position, tying the best previous attempt by a driver attempting the double. Ironically, the person who set that record was Busch’s car owner, Tony Stewart.
Stewart started seventh at Indy in 2001, and finished sixth. On that day, Stewart also became the only driver to compete all 1100 miles in a double attempt. Driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart finished a strong third place at Charlotte in the 600. That’s 1100 miles and two top-six finishes – not bad.
Busch, however, didn’t fare so well. After finishing sixth at Indy, Busch quickly made his way to Charlotte to start the 600. Due to missing the drivers meeting, Busch, per NASCAR rulebook, had to start at the rear of the field. Busch worked his way through the field, and appeared to be on his way to a respectable finish. His day came to an end, however, on lap 230. The engine blew on his No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet.
Engines for the Stewart-Haas team are supplied by Hendrick Racing Engines; several other Hendrick engines also had trouble during the 600. Busch’s teammate, Danica Patrick, also lost an engine as well as Dale Earnhardt Jr.
When it was all said and done, Busch did complete 906 laps of racing in his double attempt. It was a very impressive day regardless of the end result.
Busch was asked to describe his day after dropping out of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night, Busch replied, “Today is a memory I’ll have forever. It was a challenge I put forth for myself. I enjoyed. I soaked it all in up North. I loved racing up in Indy in front of all the Indiana natives and the Hoosiers. They love their speedway up there. That speedway loves them. That’s what I really saw out of that track today. There was a grand stage to stand on represent NASCAR. We brought her home in sixth place. I didn’t think I had anything for those top five guys. They were racing hard. And those were the top five in that series. They’re strong. They’re tough.”