Kurt Busch A Different Kind of Double

This time last year, Kurt Busch was deep  into his attempt at “The Double” – racing in both the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. While he won’t be travelling back-and-forth from Charlotte to Indianapolis this May, he will be attempting to complete a different kind of double for the second time in his Sprint Cup career.

A sweep of NASCAR’s May feature races at Charlotte – winning both the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600 – has been accomplished only seven times. The last driver to score the Charlotte sweep was Busch, now driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), back in 2010.

In the All-Star Race, Busch started from the pole and brushed the wall early but was able to get back to the front of the field after the final mandatory pit stop before the ten-lap shootout to the finish. He went on to avoid a multicar accident late in the race en route to his first All-Star Race victory.

While he celebrated the victory with his team, he quickly set his sights on pursuing the win in the following week’s 600-mile race and adding his name to the impressive, short list of drivers who were able to sweep the two events.

Busch started second in the 600 and turned in a dominant performance, leading a race-high 252 of 400 laps. He beat Jamie McMurray off pit road on his last stop and led the final 19 laps under green for the Coca-Cola 600 win. In doing so, he became the first driver since Kasey Kahne in 2008 to sweep the Charlotte events.

Busch is one of only three drivers who are locked in for Saturday night’s All-Star event by virtue of not one but the following three of the six qualifying criteria – having won a Sprint Cup Series race in 2014 and 2015; being an All-Star Race winner; and being a past series champion. His race win in 2014 came at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway while this year’s win came last month at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. His 2010 All-Star win and 2004 Sprint Cup championship put him in an elite group with Jimmie Johnson and SHR teammate Kevin Harvick as the three drivers able to check each of those three entry requirements.

While Busch still entertains the thought of another attempt at the Charlotte-Indianapolis version of “The Double” someday, his focus this season will be solely on completing another Charlotte sweep.