Busch ad­vances his­toric chase

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Michael Marot

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.