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May 26, 2014 - 07:18 AM
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Kurt Busch Makes The Double; Not So Lucky In Charlotte
Posted by: ASkyler on May 26, 2014 - 07:09 AM
Feature Articles
Kurt Busch Makes The Double; Not So Lucky In Charlotte

By Chris Knight, NASCAR Wire Service

With plenty of time to spare following his impressive sixth place finish in the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Kurt Busch wasn’t so lucky in Sunday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (NC.) Motor Speedway.

With help of a private plane to nearby Concord Regional Airport and a high-style 4:50 p.m. entrance by helicopter on the frontstretch at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Busch would become the fourth driver to complete the Indy / Charlotte double joining John Andretti, Robby Gordon and Stewart Haas Racing teammate Tony Stewart.

Busch in his No. 41 HAAS Automation Chevrolet SS would have to start the longest race of the year from the rear, after missing the mandatory driver’s meeting. From the drop of the green flag, Busch had methodically marched his way forward.


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By Lap 10, Busch had moved himself into 37th and continued to inch ahead, patiently working himself into the top-30 and then into the top-25 following the first round of green flag pit stops. Despite losing a lap to the leaders in the process, Busch would take the wave-around following a Lap 107 caution to put himself back on the lead lap.

By Lap 160, Busch found his rhythm finding himself sitting 15th. 31 Laps later he would climb to a race high 13th, but then his night would begin to take a dramatic spiral turn downward. Shortly before the fifth caution, Busch radioed his team that he felt like he had a broken right rear shock. After a lengthy debut with crew chief Daniel Knost, the two agreed to stay on the track and try and "ride it out."

It wouldn’t matter though.

Following the caution, Busch would inform his Stewart-Haas Racing team that his motor was giving up and just 34 Laps after the shock problem surfaced, the motor would expire, generating the sixth caution of the race on Lap 275.

Busch would retire from the event in 40th and complete 906.5 of the anticipated 1100 miles Sunday.

"The motor blew. It acted like it swallowed three cylinders all at once, so it was real slow," said Busch. "It's kind of a shame. It almost symbolizes how tough it's been on the Haas Automation team. 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… 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. That was very special and it takes a big team; it takes a team everywhere. Andretti Autosport gave me a top-five car to try to win the Indy 500 with and Stewart-Haas guys gave me a good car today and the motor just went. Sometimes that happens. All in all, I'm very satisfied. I gave it my all. I trained very hard. I had a lot of people helping out. Thanks to Gene Haas, Tony Stewart, Michael Andretti and this whole group. Everyone worked hard on both sides."

When asked if the 2004 Cup champion would take another shot at performing the double, he wasn’t bashful to answer.

"I’d love to do it again. 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."

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