NBC Sports presents “Kurt Busch: 36” on June 8th

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Credit: NBC Sports

NBC Sports announced today that it will present an all-access look into the intense preparation, 200+ MPH competition and extreme logistics surrounding Kurt Busch’s upcoming attempt to win IndyCar’s famed Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.

The 30-minute special, featuring in-depth interviews, on-track footage, team communications and a seat right next to Busch throughout his races against drivers from two elite series, pulsating travel conditions and the limits of his own endurance, will debut on Sunday, June 8, at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

A 60-minute “director’s cut” of KURT BUSCH: 36 will air the following day, Monday, June 9, at 11 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

NBC Sports’ Emmy Award-winning NASCAR production team, led by Executive Producer Sam Flood, teams with the Emmy Award-winning NASCAR Productions to create KURT BUSCH: 36. The program furthers NBCSN’s successful line of “:36” documentaries that chronicle the 36 hours that cover the lead-up, completion and aftermath of a major sporting event. KURT BUSCH: 36 takes the series to another level as it encapsulates two races.

“This attempt at ‘The Double’ ranks among the most unique undertakings in all of sports, because it involves so many factors and storylines, each of which will play out over the course of two iconic races,” said Flood. “We’re looking forward to chronicling the drama and excitement that will build throughout Kurt’s attempt at history.”

The special marks another NASCAR-related programming highlight for NBC Sports Group since reaching an agreement for NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series racing last July. NBCSN launched its daily 5:00 p.m. ET motorsports show, NASCAR AMERICA, in February following the 2014 DAYTONA 500 and coverage of the Sochi Olympics.

“Kurt Busch’s attempt at ‘The Double’ is a challenging endeavor that speaks to the highly competitive spirit of NASCAR drivers,” said Tally Hair, Managing Director, NASCAR Productions. “The special will provide fans with an exclusive, up-close-and-personal look into what will be a grueling but amazing story for Kurt Busch and the racing world.”

Busch, a 25-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner, is currently training to become just the fourth driver to attempt “The Double” by racing in both IndyCar’s Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. This is a feat so grueling that only 3-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart has ever successfully completed all 1100 miles.  No driver attempting to race “The Double” has ever won either event on the day of the attempt.

Busch confirmed that he will drive a Dallara-Honda fielded by Andretti Autosport at Indy on May 25. Upon completion of the Indianapolis 500, Busch then immediately flies approximately 430 miles to Charlotte, N.C. to fulfill his full-time job of driving the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in NASCAR’s longest race of the year.

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.