Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Busch Focused on Chase but Open to Indy 500 Return
By Matt Weaver — @KurtBusch created a memory that he has said will last forever when he competed in the Indianapolis 500 this past May, finishing sixth in The Greatest Spectacle in Racing. On Sunday at Watkins Glen, Busch reaffirmed his desire to give it a second shot.
The Outlaw finished third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen, establishing momentum for his second-consecutive Chase berth. While focused on the remainder of the season and his attempt to win a second Sprint Cup championship, Busch made no secret of his desire to return to Indianapolis next May.
“It’s a bit too early,” Busch said of how close he is to announcing his Indianapolis return. “Right now, our focus is the Chase and trying to keep others from punching their ticket to get in. Today (AJ) Allmendinger got in. We don’t have much news.
“But let’s see how their season ends and how our season goes. Right now I’m focused on this No. 41 car to run for the championship.”
Busch has had a dreadful season of sorts, currently running 23rd in the championship standings in his first season at Stewart Haas Racing and with first year crew chief Daniel Knost. He has a 20.1 average finish after 22 races but locked himself into the Chase earlier this season with a victory at Martinsville.
As a result, Busch has a fresh start approaching once the Chase begins at Chicagoland Speedway next month.
As for his IndyCar experience, team owner Michael Andretti has repeatedly said that he wants Busch back next season if the logistics can pan out. He believes that a second consecutive year of running in the 500-mile Race would establish Busch as one of the favorites.
For his part, Busch is definitely interested.
“I’d like to do it,” he said. “We’ll see how it pans out.”
Busch Enjoyed the Allmendinger, Ambrose Duel
Kurt Busch joked during the post-race press conference on Sunday afternoon that he wished Marcos Ambrose had tried to wreck AJ Allmendinger for the win. After all, if something had happened to both leaders, Busch would have become the beneficiary.
That would have translated his podium into a possible second victory on the season and padding towards the Chase for the Championship. As it stands, Busch enjoyed the view of two of the best road course racers in the world going head-to-head at the historic upstate New York speedway.
“I really thought they did a phenomenal job to beat the heck out of each other and maintain a pace that didn’t allow me to get close enough,” Busch said. “There was just one moment I had, I wanted to go low on the back straightaway. It would have been three-wide, and my right sides would have been in the grass, and I couldn’t quite make it getting into the bus stop (chicane) to clear those two.
“It was just a phenomenal show. Those two deserve a lot of credit. Allmendinger brought home the trophy, and he deserves it. Ambrose gave everything he could. I was just hoping that, yes, those two would get a bit overzealous, and I’d be able to squeak by them and pick up the win for our team.”