If the Coca-Cola 600 goes any better than the Indianapolis 500 did for Kurt Busch, he's going to be in territory that only his Sprint Cup Series car owner occupies.
In his first attempt at running both Memorial Day weekend races in the same day, Busch finished sixth in the first leg, tying Robby Gordon and Tony Stewart for the highest Indy 500 finish of any driver attempting both races on the same day.
However, Stewart is the only driver to better that sixth-place finish in the 500 with his 600 finish. In 2001, Stewart finished third in the 600 after his sixth-place run. Busch drives for Stewart-Haas Racing, the team Stewart co-owns, in the Cup Series. He drove the Indianapolis 500 for Andretti Autosport.
Busch started 12th and quickly fell back a few spots. However, that was to be expected. Busch's goal was to complete all 1100 miles of the double – something, too, that only Stewart has done – and forcing passes early was not the way to make that happen.
After staying in the top 20 for much of the first-half of the race, which ran caution-free until the first yellow flag on Lap 150, Busch made his move over the race's final segment and found himself planted in the top 10 throughout the race's rash of late caution flags.
But on the race's final restart, Busch didn't make up any ground as eventual winner and Andretti teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves traded the lead.
Because the race went so long without a caution flag, Busch will have no issues making it to Charlotte, N.C., in time for the start of the 600. It takes approximately 90 minutes to complete the journey between the two cities via private aircraft, and the 500 ended before 3:30 p.m. E.T. The green flag isn't scheduled to wave for the 600 until 6:18 p.m. E.T.
Busch will have to start at the back of the field for the 600 as a penalty for missing the pre-race Sprint Cup Series driver's meeting, which was scheduled for 4 p.m. Though because of the time constraints involved in running both races, attending the driver's meeting is never part of the plan.
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