The Indy 500 results from Sunday were great for Kurt Busch, even though he didn’t win the race.
The NASCAR driver made his IndyCar debut in the race, the first leg of his attempt at “The Double.” Busch was trying to become just the second driver to finish the Indy 500 and then jet out to Chartlotte for the Coca-Cola 600 later that same day, but blew an engine in the NASCAR race and was unable to finish.
Still, his IndyCar debut was impressive. Busch finished sixth in the Indy 500, matching fellow NASCAR driver Tony Stewart when he attempted — and completed — The Double back in 2001.
“I’m really happy with the finish up there,” Busch said. “The Andretti guys were incredible on leading me through that race. I love long green-flag runs in races, and of course you have to be ready at the end for restarts. All in all, I couldn’t take anything more away.”
He added, “It is everything I expected. The Midwestern hospitality, the ambience and the backyard feel — but yet the Indy 500 is a grand stage and those people are very proud of their backyard.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay actually won the Indy 500, though Busch was the talk of the race afterward.
The Indy 500 results could mean a turnaround for Busch, who has a reputation as something of a “bad boy” within NASCAR. He is known for his brash behavior on the track and colorful language on the radio.
But after his strong Indianapolis 500 finish, Busch was taking in congratulations from fellow NASCAR drivers on Twitter.
“It was fun to get up on the wheel and be there in the mix with those guys at the end of the race,” Busch told Performance Racing Network. “I’ll tell you though, those top five separated themselves. Congratulations to Ryan Hunter-Reay, all the Andretti guys ran great and we came home sixth. I’m ecstatic. I’m very happy. I had no idea we’d be able to finish that well and it was a great car that helped me do that.”
The full Indy 500 results can be found here.