Busch advances historic chase
INDIANAPOLIS» Indianapolis is quickly becoming Kyle Busch’s favorite racing venue.
He won the pole position Saturday as he chases an unprecedented third consecutive NASCAR Brickyard 400 victory Sunday.
Busch earned the top qualifying spot on his final lap with a speed of 187.301 mph on the 2.5-mile oval. Kevin Harvick was second at 186.332, and Jamie Mcmurray qualified third.
It’s the second consecutive year Busch has claimed the Indianapolis pole. The only other Cup drivers with back-to-back pole wins at the Brickyard are Jeff Gordon in 1995 and 1996 and Ernie Irvan in 1997 and 1998.
Busch is trying to become the second driver to win three consecutive races at Indy. Former Formula One star Michael Schumacher won the U.S. Grand Prix four times in a row, all on the road course.
Ten years ago, Busch met his future wife, Samantha, at the 2.5-mile oval.
Last year, he pulled off a rare sweep by winning both poles and both races on Brickyard 400 weekend. It’s the last time Busch celebrated a Cup win and now that he’s back at the historic 2.5mile oval, he doesn’t want to wait until next September to make a return trip.
He’d like to add a May stop to his already full 2018 schedule and attempt the fabled double bill of the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-cola 600.
“I had it (a deal) done last year, sold it and everything,” Busch said when asked about competing in the Indy 500. “I had a boss that said no.”
Busch, the 2015 Cup champion, hasn’t given up on his dream; he’s just putting it on hold temporarily this weekend as he chases history and tries to end a 12month victory drought.
He couldn’t have picked a better place to come. Over the past two years, Busch has been the most dominant stock-car driver at Indy.
The two-time defending Brickyard champion has led 168 of the last 189 laps here, including a record 149 out of 170 last year when he won from the pole. He also won the 2015 and 2016 Xfinity Series races from the pole, giving him four consecutive wins at Indianapolis.
Even as Busch talks about winning an unprecedented third straight Brickyard, the thrill of taking a shot in Indycar’s marquee race — and trying the 1,100-mile Memorial Day weekend double — remains a major attraction for the 32-yearold driver.
“I thought I had a great opportunity to do it (in May), but I’m kind of glad it didn’t come together because (Fernando) Alonso kind of stole the headlines the last time it was done,” Busch said. “It would be fun. It would be a unique opportunity. The thing that scares my boss is that I’ve never driven those cars.”
Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. and Erik Jones qualified sixth and ninth, respectively, for Sunday’s race.