Busch sixth at Indy, exits early at Charlotte
May 25, 2014, Holly Cain, NASCAR.com
RELATED: Full race results | Series standings
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch finished sixth in Sunday's Indianapolis 500 -- the first half of his Memorial Day Weekend Double -- surely having to feel pleased as he boarded a plane immediately after the race. But his night ended early in Charlotte with a blown engine on Lap 278 of 400 in the Coca-Cola 600.
He made the journey from Indianapolis Motor Speedway to Charlotte Motor Speedway in just over an hour to compete in NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600. He arrived in the infield at Charlotte via helicopter at 4:50 p.m. ET.
Busch was not only the top-finishing Indy 500 rookie but the effort also tied the best "Double" showing for a NASCAR driver in the Indy 500 with his Stewart-Haas Racing team owner Tony Stewart, who was sixth in 2001.
Busch's Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay won the race -- the first American to do so since 2006 when NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Sam Hornish Jr. won on a last-lap pass of Sunday's third-place finisher Marco Andretti.
Busch bided his time for most of the race and was running among the top-10 with 20 laps remaining despite steering an Andretti Autosport backup car necessitated after a hard crash during Indy 500 practice on Monday.
A red flag to repair a SAFER barrier at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway following Townsend Bell's single-car accident with 10 laps remaining bunched up the field one last time and Busch restarted sixth on a final re-start with eight laps to go.
Busch, who qualified on the third row, steadily and calculating advanced through the ranks. He was running seventh on a re-start with 21 laps to go dicing it up with the IndyCar Series regulars as if he ran those cars every week as well.
Former Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, who returned to IndyCar this year after seven seasons in the Sprint Cup Series ranks finished one position ahead of Busch in fifth.
With the effort, Busch puts himself in position to join Stewart as the only driver to complete all 1,100 racing miles in one day. Stewart finished sixth in the 2001 Indy 500 and third in the Coca-Cola 600 that night. Only four drivers have attempted the feat, including John Andretti, Robby Gordon, Stewart and Busch. Gordon's effort in 2004 was the most recent before Sunday.