Kurt Busch interested in racing Dakar Rally: ‘Reminds me of home’ in the Vegas desert


After dabbling in IndyCar and drag racing, Kurt Busch says the desert of the Dakar Rally could be next.

In an interview with NBC Sports’ Parker Kligerman (video above), Busch said the prestigious off-road raid event is “on the list for sure,” and that he’s talked to Monster Energy, the sponsor of his No. 1 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series, about Dakar. Monster also is a Dakar sponsor, backing U.S. dirt bike riders Ricky Brabec (the first American to win the Dakar Rally) and former Supercross star Andrew Short.

“It’s always a matter of just finding the right timing, doing your research,” Busch told Kligerman. “I need to do something a bit smaller like work around a race in the desert Southwest here in the United States first.”

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver said racing in the Baja 500 or Baja 1000 appeals to him, but the November events usually have conflicted with the NASCAR schedule, which will end this year Nov. 7 at Phoenix Raceway.

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“Date-wise, it never worked out to do that yet, but I sometimes go straight to the top and worry about it later,” Busch said. “That’s what I did with the Indy 500 a few years ago.”

Racing for Andretti Autosport, Busch finished sixth as a rookie in the 2014 Indianapolis 500. In 2011, he made the elimination rounds of an NHRA Pro Stock event.

He’s among many drivers from NASCAR’s premier series seeking to expand their racing horizons recently. After running the Snowball Derby last month, Chase Elliott is scheduled to make his debut next week in the Chili Bowl, which also will include Christopher Bell, Ryan Newman and Kyle Larson. At the end of the month, Elliott will make his debut in the Rolex 24, which also will feature Jimmie Johnson and Austin Dillon.

Since the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, NASCAR severely curtailed practice and qualifying sessions, and Busch said the extra time is having a beneficial impact for moonlighting Cup drivers.

“I think this is a big trend that you’re going to start to see,” he said. “It’s just the time and the new era of motorsports, especially with NASCAR going to just race day. We don’t have practice sessions anymore hardly. That opens up the schedule. We’ve had more time by ourselves. And everybody is looking on the Internet and talking and researching what is out there and what can they can get their hands on and what seat can they get in, so I’m digging this.

“This is something I’ve done my whole life. Whatever I can research to find a race. Heck if it’s even a monster truck. I want to go drive a monster truck and crush cars. Everything is wide open right now.”

Busch said the 2021 Dakar Rally is appealing because of its backdrop in Saudi Arabia, which is the host country for the second consecutive year.

“I love the off-road world,” he said. “The intrigue for me is that it reminds me of home and the desert right outside Vegas. And then the sand dunes section in Stage 4. That is so brutal, especially for the bikes.

“I just love the scenery, I love the competition, and it’s just great to see motorsports on TV already.”

IndyCar results, points after Detroit Grand Prix


DETROIT — Alex Palou topped the results of an NTT IndyCar Series race for the second time this season, extending his championship points lead with his victory in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver, who also won the GMR Grand Prix (and the Indy 500 pole position) last month, holds a 51-point lead over teammate Marcus Ericsson (ninth at Detroit) through seven of 17 races this season.

Ganassi, which placed all four of its drivers in the top 10 at Detroit, has three of the top four in the championship standings with Scott Dixon ranked fourth after a fourth at Detroit.

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Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden is third in the standings after taking a 10th at Detroit. Pato O’Ward slipped to fifth in the points after crashing and finishing 26th

Here are the IndyCar results and points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:


Click here for the official box score from the 100-lap race on a nine-turn, 1.645-mile street course in downtown Detroit.

Lap leader summary

Full lap chart

Best section times

Full section data

Event summary

Pit stop summary

Here is the finishing order in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix with starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Alex Palou, Honda, 100, Running
2. (7) Will Power, Chevrolet, 100, Running
3. (9) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 100, Running
4. (4) Scott Dixon, Honda, 100, Running
5. (13) Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 100, Running
6. (12) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 100, Running
7. (2) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 100, Running
8. (11) Marcus Armstrong, Honda, 100, Running
9. (6) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 100, Running
10. (5) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 100, Running
11. (24) Colton Herta, Honda, 100, Running
12. (17) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 100, Running
13. (8) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 100, Running
14. (20) Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 100, Running
15. (15) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 100, Running
16. (18) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 100, Running
17. (25) Jack Harvey, Honda, 100, Running
18. (14) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 100, Running
19. (23) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 100, Running
20. (19) Benjamin Pedersen, Chevrolet, 97, Running
21. (22) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 97, Running
22. (26) Sting Ray Robb, Honda, 97, Running
23. (21) David Malukas, Honda, 85, Contact
24. (3) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 80, Contact
25. (27) Graham Rahal, Honda, 50, Contact
26. (10) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 41, Contact
27. (16) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 1, Contact

Winner’s average speed: 80.922 mph; Time of Race: 02:01:58.1171; Margin of victory: 1.1843 seconds; Cautions: 7 for 32 laps; Lead changes: 10 among seven drivers. Lap Leaders: Palou 1-28; Power 29-33; O’Ward 34; Palou 35-55; Power 56-64; Palou 65; Rossi 66; Newgarden 67-68; Kirkwood 69; Ericsson 70-76; Palou 77-100.


Click here for the points tally in the race.

Here are the points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:



Engine manufacturers

Pit stop performance

Top 10 in points: Palou 273, Ericsson 222, Newgarden 203, Dixon 194, O’Ward 191, Rossi 176, McLaughlin 175, Power 172, Herta 149, Rosenqvist 148.

Rest of the standings: Grosjean 145, Kirkwood 142, Lundgaard 136, Ilott 116, VeeKay 108, Ferrucci 105, Armstrong 101, Rahal 99, Malukas 91, Daly 88, DeFrancesco 81, Castroneves 80, Harvey 78, Canapino 77, Pagenaud 72, Pedersen 61, Robb 55, Takuma Sato 37, Ed Carpenter 27, Ryan Hunter-Reay 20, Tony Kanaan 18, Marco Andretti 13, RC Enerson 5, Katherine Legge 5.

Next race: IndyCar will head to Road America for the Sonsio Grand Prix, which will take place June 18 with coverage starting at 1 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.