INDIANAPOLIS – Kurt Busch’s attempt to complete The Double just got tougher.
Busch crashed hard into the outside wall at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday as his No. 26 car went through the second turn during practice for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500. Debris flew into the air and one of the tires rolled down the track as the car rolled to a stop on the infield grass.
Busch was checked at the infield medical center and cleared to drive.
He is attempting to become the fourth driver to complete the Indy 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. He will start 12th for the 500 on Sunday if the car can be repaired. If Andretti Autosport uses a different car, Busch would start from the back of the 33-car field.
The 2004 Cup champion is making his IndyCar debut on Indianapolis’ 2.5-mile oval, and he blamed himself for making a mistake.
“I was starting to feel comfortable,” Busch said. “That’s when I made the mistake of just letting my guard down or settling into that long run-type mentality whereas with an Indy car you have to be on edge. You have to keep track of where you are at all times and the adjustments in the car.”
Busch was fortunate that he hit the SAFER barrier, which caused a small fire as the damaged car slid across the track. He climbed out of the cockpit without assistance, walked to the medical vehicle and was quickly given clearance to drive by series medical director Dr. Michael Olinger.
Crew members covered the damaged right side of the car with blankets before moving it into the garage and closing the door.
Kyle Moyer, Andretti’s director of racing operations, said the team would take the car back to its Indy headquarters to determine whether the car could be repaired.
“We’ve already worked our crews to death, trying to work with this schedule,” Moyer said. “But we’ll get it done.”
All Busch can do now is wait.
“This created a lot of work for the Andretti guys. I feel bad for that,” he said. “As a rookie, there’s things you learn and put it up on the edge and get away with and then there’s times when it will bite you. It’s just tough.”