Kurt Busch Gerald Wayne ‘Jerry’ Grant

Kurt Busch Gerald Wayne ‘Jerry’ Grant Getty Images for NASCAR

Who was the first driver to top 200 mph in an Indy car? Some would say Tom Sneva at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1977.

 

Others would say “unofficially” Gordon Johncock or Mario Andretti at Indianapolis in 1973.

 

The first was actually the late Gerald Wayne “Jerry” Grant on Sept. 3, 1972 at Ontario (Calif.) Motor Speedway. Grant hit 201.4 mph in his 1,100-horsepower Mystery Eagle for Dan Gurney.

 

Kurt Busch, winner of the 2017 Daytona 500, did a great impression of Jerry Grant, who finished fifth in the 1967 Daytona 500, last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth when he earned the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole with a blistering lap of 200.915 mph.

 

It was the NASCAR track record at Texas and the fastest NASCAR lap ever at a 1.5-mile oval. It was

 

Busch’s 22nd career pole and his first since 2016 at Las Vegas.

 

After finishing ninth in Sunday’s race at Texas, Busch and his NASCAR brethren head to Phoenix Raceway, where Grant finished eighth at Phoenix in an Indy car in 1972.

 

Busch has one win, seven top-five finishes and 17 top-10s at Phoenix. Additionally, the 39-year-old driver has led 751 laps, has an average starting position of 12.1, an average finish of 13.5, and has completed 99.6 percent – 9,012 of 9,051 – of the laps he’s contested there.

 

With only Phoenix and Homestead left on the schedule, Busch is hoping he can finish strong and finish in the top-10 in points.   

 

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Steven B. Wilson

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