Kurt Busch was checked at the IU Health Infield Medical Center at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and cleared to drive after the No. 26 Suretone car he was driving made heavy right-side contact with the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier 95 minutes into a practice session for the Indianapolis 500.
Busch, running with multiple other cars on the 2.5-mile oval, had just completed a lap of 223.433 mph (his 56th) when the rear of the car wiggled and impacted the SAFER Barrier flush on the right side.
“I was starting to feel comfortable. 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,” said Busch, who qualified 12th in the 33-car field with a four-lap average of 230.782 mph. “You have to keep track of where you are at all times and the adjustments in the car. Maybe I just didn’t keep up with keeping the car underneath me.
“I was trying to find that rhythm and pace myself as I would on (Race Day, May 25) and I just got behind on the adjustments on the car. If you’re going to have (an incident) it’s better to have it early in the week so there’s time to work on the car, get back on your horse and get out there again. The car will need extensive rebuild (but) we do have Carb Day to shake things down.”
Busch will use Marco Andretti’s backup car for Race Day.
Since a back-up car is required for Race Day, according to Rule 22.214.171.124 of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook: If a Qualified Car is involved in a crash, the Entrant may replace the Qualified Car with another Car and start the Race in the Qualified Car’s position. If a Qualified Car is unable to start the Race for any other reason, INDYCAR shall determine if the Entrant is permitted to replace the Qualified Car with another Car and start the Race in the Qualified Car’s position or if the Entrant is required to start the Race from the rear of the starting field.
The incident was the second in practice during the month. On May 14, fellow first-time Indianapolis 500 competitor Jack Hawksworth’s car made contact with the Turn 3 SAFER Barrier. He was checked and cleared to drive. Hawksworth qualified 13th.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the double of competing in the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR race in Concord, N.C., on the same day (and the first since Tony Stewart in 2001 to complete all 1,100 miles of racing).