Late move leads to third-place result for Kurt Busch

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For all drivers and teams scrambling to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup, they’ll have one moment to look back on that either made or broke their chances for the post-season.

Kurt Busch and Furniture Row Racing may have found their ‘made’ moment on a Lap 162 restart in today’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Busch had been at the front of the field earlier but a four-tire stop in the previous caution period had sent him from sixth to 14th going into the green flag. His main competition in the Chase battle were now ahead of him, and with less than 40 laps to go, Busch couldn’t afford to stay behind.

“You can’t run 14th and gain on guys [in the standings],” said Busch, who went to the outside on the restart and proceeded to peel off a staggering eight positions – making up all the ground he had lost on pit road when most of the other drivers opted to go for two tires instead of four.

Busch would move up to fourth by the time another yellow came out at Lap 172, and after momentarily dicing with eventual race winner Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick on the Lap 177 restart, he settled in and raced to a third-place finish that vaulted him into ninth in the Sprint Cup standings.

With three races to go before the Chase begins, Busch and the single-car, Colorado-based Furniture Row Racing are back where they need to be in order to race for a championship.

“We’ll just keep plugging away,” said Busch. “We’ve got three to go and we’re in the mix.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.