Indy 500 qualifying update: Kurt Busch posts a 230-plus lap, completes “dream come true”

3 Comments

Kurt Busch is one of several drivers who are making a second qualification attempt for the Indianapolis 500 this afternoon. After feeling what he called “disconnected” in his first run, Busch was thrilled with his second, which at time of completion moved him from P12 into the Fast Nine at 229.960 at P3.

“The track had me so disconnected this morning,” Busch told the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network after his second run. “I tried so hard lap 1, lap 2, lap 3 and lap 4 this time. The drizzle was hitting the visor. I just said go with it. This is the fun of Indy. Craig (Hampson, engineer) made a good adjustment, I settled down. It takes a team. This Andretti team has helped my inexperience.

“Even if we get bumped out, my heart feels content with what we did today. The way the whole system this has sped up with… it’s a dream come true. I went 230 mph and pretend I can be on the front row. I feel like a nice chapter has been closed. If we’re not we’re fine.”

Busch, driver of Andretti Autosport’s No. 26 Suretone Entertainment Honda, is due to leave from here to get to Charlotte for tonight’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, where Parker Kligerman has deputized for him in the interim in his No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing.

His NASCAR boss, Tony Stewart, has tweeted his support for Kurt’s qualifying run.

Others who have made second runs: Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, Mikhail Aleshin, and Pippa Mann. All have improved from their morning qualifying attempts.

Rookie Sage Karam has also completed his first qualifying attempt, as the high school senior qualified ahead of three of four Chip Ganassi Racing entries in the CGR satellite No. 22 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records/Brantley Gilbert Chevrolet for Dreyer & Reinbold Kingdom Racing.

“It’s a pretty incredible feeling. I’ve been chasing this my whole life,” said Karam, who’s only 19. “I couldn’t have done it without all the people. We’re in a great spot. It’s been a great team effort so far. I wasn’t comfortable so far, but slowly but surely we’ve got more comfortable. I was pretty calm this run.”

Leclerc: No. 16 was third-choice for Formula 1 career

Getty Images
Leave a comment

2018 Formula 1 rookie Charles Leclerc has revealed No. 16 was his third-choice number to use through his grand prix career, with his preferred options having already been taken.

From 2014, drivers were given the chance to pick a number to use through their F1 careers instead of being assigned one depending on their team’s championship position.

Formula 2 champion and Ferrari junior Leclerc was announced in an Alfa Romeo Sauber race seat for 2018 earlier this month, picking No. 16 as his permanent number.

However, the Monegasque racer revealed last week that it was in fact his third choice, with both No. 7 and No. 10 already being taken by Kimi Raikkonen and Pierre Gasly respectively.

“It’s quite simple to be honest: I wanted number 7 first, but Kimi had it,” Leclerc said, as quoted by Crash.net.

“Then I chose 10, but Pierre came to F1 and chose number 10, so then I chose number 16.

“It’s just my date of birth and I could not find anything better. And 1 + 6 = 7, which is my favorite number.”

Leclerc will become the first driver hailing from Monaco to race in F1 since Olivier Beretta, who made nine grand prix starts in 1994 for Larrousse.