Kurt Busch: No talks yet on a second Indy-Charlotte double

Leave a comment

As he looked back on his May attempt to run all 1,100 miles of the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, Kurt Busch admitted that he ponders over whether he could do it all over again.

“Every day I wake up and I’m like, ‘Yes, let’s do it again,'” Busch said today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before practice began for this weekend’s Brickyard 400.

“Then there are thoughts of ‘I finished sixth, that’s pretty special.’ I don’t know if I could achieve that result again.”

Busch finished a superb sixth for Andretti Autosport in the ‘500‘, which served as his first IndyCar race ever.

But in the ‘600,’ his No. 41 Stewart Haas Racing Chevrolet suffered engine failure and took Busch out with less than 194 miles to go in his bid to complete the Double.

So with that 1,100-mile goal still yet to be reached by him, there figures to be incentive to give it another shot next year.

The Outlaw said today that no talks have yet begun on a 2015 Double program but also noted that he was “more than willing” to run one.

“After the month of May and winding down through June, and just like today coming back to the Speedway, there’s different moments of when it tells me, ‘Yes, let’s go do it again,'” he said. “Then there’s moments of ‘Just wait, let things pan out.’ My focus right now honestly is that 41 car and the Chase that’s coming up.”

“We last year went to — I don’t remember which date it was, and said this has to be our cutoff. So I think we’ll have some talks again. We’ll have some other dinners and time to hang out. We’ll see what presents itself.

“I mean, I’m more than willing to jump back in and try to do a full 1,100 miles because that’s the objective, to complete all 1100. It’s something special and it’s a target, and it’s only been achieved once. It’s very difficult to do.”

Tony Stewart, Busch’s teammate and boss at SHR, remains the only driver to have run all 1,100 miles of the Indy-Charlotte double. He pulled off the feat in 2001, finishing sixth in the ‘500’ and third in the ‘600.’

New study surveys drivers’ opinions on crashes, concussions, more

James Black/IndyCar
Leave a comment

Auto racing safety has continued to improve through the decades, but the sport remains inherently dangerous, according to a new survey.

At the close of 2018, a new organization called Racing Safety United emerged with the intention of reducing drivers’ risk of being harmed.

RSU is made up of more than 30 members including former NASCAR Cup Series competitor Jerry Nadeau, two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Randy LaJoie, NHRA team owner Don Schumacher and motorsports journalist Dick Berggren.

One of RSU’s first initiatives was to determine what current drivers thought of racing safety. The organization developed a 14-question survey and promoted it on select motorsports websites and forums. 

Participants were given the opportunity to disclose their identity or remain anonymous, and those who provided contact information were entered to win a $500 prize (for anonymous participants, the prize funds would be donated to a motorsports charity). 

More than 140 individuals participated in the survey over the course of 12 months. Below are the results of the survey:

Driver status

The vast majority of survey participants (60%) were amateur racers, while 26% of the participants were classified as Semi-Pro/Professional racers. The remaining 14% consisted of other individuals involved in the sport such as team owners and crew chiefs. 

When asked how frequently they race, 58% of driver respondents averaged 10 or more times per year on track, while 42% averaged 10 times or less.

The top five tracks respondents said they raced most often: Road Atlanta (21 votes), Watkins Glen (17 votes), Virginia International Raceway (16 votes), Mid-Ohio (16 votes), and Road America (13 votes).

Vehicular damage, injuries common

Over a third of respondents said they had been injured while racing, and almost two-thirds sasid they had suffered severe vehicle damage while racing

Driver error was cited as the top cause of vehicle damage (42 mentions), followed by concrete walls (26 mentions), mechanical failures (24 mentions), and other drivers (19 mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for better driver training/coaching, energy absorbing walls, and more technical inspections.

Almost a quarter of drivers said they had experienced racing-related concussions, and nearly half the respondents said one or multiple concussions would affect their decision to race in the future. 

Drivers primarily influenced by peers 

Roughly half the drivers said they would consider adopting new safety equipment if influenced by another driver (51 total mentions) and/or if recommended by a sanctioning body (47 total mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for drivers to become safety advocates and educate other drivers and for sanctioning bodies to mandate safety equipment. 

Drivers concerned with concrete walls

Approximately three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said they believed certain race tracks were more dangerous than others. Nearly half the drivers surveyed believe that concrete walls were the primary cause of damage to drivers and vehicles. 

Drivers willing to help

Just more than three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said that they would be willing to join a safety alliance to advocate for safer tracks. Two-thirds of drivers said that they also would be willing to contribute to a motorsports safety fund.

Click here for the full results of RSU’s survey

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter