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

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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.”

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski