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.”

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.