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May 22, 2014 - 08:58 PM
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As Kurt Busch Faces Sunday Double, Crash At Indy Was A Valuable Lesson
Posted by: ASkyler on May 22, 2014 - 08:56 PM
Feature Articles
As Kurt Busch Faces Sunday Double, Crash At Indy Was A Valuable Lesson


By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service

CONCORD, N.C.—Kurt Busch often has a unique perspective, but being glad he wrecked his car during practice for the Indianapolis 500—isn’t that taking things a bit too far?

Not when you hear Busch explain it.

"When I made the mistake on Monday, it was because I just started to tell myself, ‘Settle in, get into this 500-mile rhythm, and know that you have 600 miles later on,’" said Busch, who will attempt the Indy 500/Coca-Cola 600 double on Sunday. "It was the setup I had from the previous Thursday, where I was the most comfortable during drafting practice."

"I made some adjustments inside the car, didn’t stay on top of Turns 1 and 2. The south end of the track (Turns 1 and 2) is different than the north end of the track there. The wind angle was the most different, awkward angle that I’ve had during the whole month of May. Turn 2 bit me."

Before flying to Charlotte for the Coke 600, Busch will start the Indy 500 in a backup car. Under IndyCar rules, however, he won’t lose the 12th-place starting position he earned in last Sunday’s qualifying session.

 

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And in Monday’s crash, Busch learned a valuable lesson.

"I’m glad I experienced it," he said. "I might sound stupid by saying that I’m glad I wrecked at 220 mph, but if I didn’t put myself in that position, I would have done that on Sunday, possibly 50 laps into the race. That’s how you have to advance through life is to learn from your mistakes.

"It was a mistake that I wholeheartedly put myself in. It’s because I just started to feel comfortable. I just let my guard down a little bit, and that IndyCar jumped up and bit me."

CHAMPION’S PERSPECTIVE

For six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, voting for members of the sixth NASCAR Hall of Fame class was both eye-opening and gratifying.

For the first time this year, the reigning champion of the Sprint Cup Series was included in the voting panel that selects the five new inductees. Once he experienced the five-hour session in which the merits of the 20 nominees were discussed and debated, Johnson was eager to share the experience.

"That was a huge honor and an amazing day to be a part of," Johnson said. "To sit in a room with so many people that care for our sport and know about our sport and then discuss what took place in eras of time when I certainly wasn’t around… it was a very awesome and unique experience and something I think that is a huge honor and in years to come.

"It’s only going to help drivers in the garage area understand the history of our sport and grow closer and more attached to the people that built this sport. And in a big way, I wish that the garage area could sit in on that discussion and see the respect that the peers and the people on the voting panel have for our industry and for the people involved.

"It wasn’t an easy process to work down to five. All 20 on that list were very deserving to be in the Hall of Fame."

Drivers Bill Elliott, Wendell Scott, Fred Lorenzen, Rex White and Joe Weatherly were elected to the Hall. Predictably, Johnson voted for his boss, team owner Rick Hendrick.

"I spoke to (Hendrick) on the drive up today, just catching up with him, and I’m not sure he feels he should be in there yet," Johnson said. "He’s a competitor out there, and he appreciates the phone calls he received yesterday and the concern from others, but I don’t think he feels like it’s time to be in there yet, although I voted for him.

"I just am so impressed with his stats and what he has done, but I still think there are many more to come."

HOMAGE TO A PIONEER

Richard Petty Motorsports driver Marcos Ambrose likewise is well aware of those who have preceded him, and it was no surprise he issued a statement earlier this week on learning of the death of fellow Australian racer Jack Brabham.

Ambrose’s father Ross Ambrose, co-founder of British race car manufacturer Van Diemen International Ltd., knew Brabham personally.

"My father knew the family a little bit," Ambrose said. "I know David Brabham, and I guess the next generation of Brabhams, and now there’s a third generation of racers coming through, with David and Geoff’s sons coming through doing very, very well in their own racing careers. They are Australia’s version of the Petty family.

"The great thing about Jack Brabham was, not only was he a fantastic race car driver, but he built his own cars. He was the engineer, he was the mechanic, and he was the driver. To think of what he was able to achieve from very humble beginnings… He took himself to Europe and started his own company, building his own race cars for himself…

"Jack is certainly a big figurehead in Australian racing and paved the way for guys like me to go to Europe and have a go. He was a great man. I’ve met him a few times and was sorry to see him go, but he left a great legacy for Australian racing--no doubt."


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