Just a couple of days after Kurt Busch captivated the racing world with his attempt at the Memorial Day double, he was back in his Haas Automation Chevrolet, turning practice laps for upcoming Sprint Cup road races.
He was admittedly sore and exhaustion still lingered from the marathon Sunday of 500 miles at Indianapolis, a 45-minute jet flight to Charlotte for an attempt at 600 miles in NASCAR’s longest race. That didn’t end his travels. He headed back to Indy Monday where he accepted the coveted rookie-of-the-year award for his sixth-place finish in the Indy 500.
And then he was up bright-and-early on Tuesday morning to head out for a day of road-course testing.
During Tuesday’s lunch break, Busch was greeted by congratulatory handshakes, high fives and even a few hugs from fellow drivers and members of other teams.
Though he was weary, he admitted he was still basking in the weekend’s events. Even a blown engine Sunday night that cut short his attempt at completing all 1,100 miles of the double didn’t dampen his mood.
“It was a fun adventure,” he said of the month-long quest.
It was an “adventure,” though, that was made much easier by his performance almost two months earlier at Martinsville Speedway when he won the STP 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race. The win likely guaranteed him a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup and dialed back the pressure on the NASCAR side of things as he prepared for Indy.
“The Martinsville win was an incredible insurance policy for everything that has gone on with the Indy car and all the travel schedule and then just not the exact 100 percent detail I needed to give the Cup team,” said Busch. “And so it’s great to have that win in our pocket knowing that as we get closer to the summer months we are eligible for the Chase. But we know we need to do a better job with the Haas Automation Chevy to be more competitive week in and week out. It was great to get that win early to be able to run Indy this month of May without the stress.”
Busch’s STP 500 win was typical Martinsville fare. Driving a Chevy beaten and battered from a long day on the half-mile oval, he charged past Jimmie Johnson with 11 laps to go and held on for the win in a race that saw 33 lead changes and 14 caution periods.
As important as the spring race was to Busch, he says the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 on October 26 is going to be huge for everyone.
“Martinsville is definitely one of the most important races of the year in the Chase because that’s going to be a win and you’re into the finals,” said Busch. “Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix … those three races become the most important races of the year if you are going to be championship eligible.”
Martinsville Speedway PR