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


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.”

NHRA: New book a celebration of life, love and drag racing

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The overpowering smell from nitromethane that powers Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars in the National Hot Rod Association oftentimes brings fans to tears after getting a whiff of the stuff.

Now there’s a new inspirational book that will also bring tears to the eyes of die-hard drag racing fans.

Veteran crew chief Jim Oberhofer has released “Top Fuel For Life, Life Lessons From A Crew Chief,” a touching homage to both his late wife and persevering and overcoming adversity in the highly competitive world of NHRA drag racing.

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Oberhofer wears a number of hats as vice president of one of the sport’s most veteran and successful teams, Kalitta Motorsports, including serving as crew chief for Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta’s dragster.

Oberhofer relates a number of stories about overcoming adversity in the book, but none more touching than how he watched his beloved wife “Tammy O” lose a long and painful battle to stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.

While Oberhofer has spent his life using wrenches and tools working on 10,000-horsepower engines, his new book shows that he is also a very gifted writer.

Known in the sport as “Jim O,” Oberhofer describes the fight his wife went through in gritty and descriptive prose, but with a foundation built upon what the love of his life meant to him – and continues to mean to him more than two years since she passed away.

“When you take a long hard look at your life, I guarantee you that being a winner has little to do with crossing the finish line,” Oberhofer said. “After many mistakes and a whole lot of heartache, I learned that happiness comes from a deeper, simpler place. That’s the big win.”

“Top Fuel For Life” is available on Amazon for $19.95.

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Report: Ecclestone believes F1 could be sold by year’s end

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Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone on Tuesday said the racing series is up for sale and has as many as three potential buyers.

Ecclestone told The Associated Press that a deal could still be struck by year’s end.

“I think so, maybe this year,” Ecclestone said. “There are three people mentioned to buy. So it’s a case of whether CVC or Mr. Mackenzie wants to sell.”

Ecclestone was referring to F1’s largest and controlling shareholder, CVC Capital Partners co-chairman Donald Mackenzie.

But even if F1 is sold, the 84-year-old Eccelstone doesn’t plan on going anywhere.

“The people that I’ve spoken to … have asked me if I would stay,” Ecclestone told AP.

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