Kurt Busch was back in his element Thursday.
Busch was in North Carolina for Sprint Cup qualifying – a welcome return to what he knows best.
“I was on the plane ride back and I’m like, ‘You know, I’m going to be back in my Cup car and be back in the comfort zone,’ ” he said.
The former Sprint Cup champion has had a split focus all month as he prepares for Sunday’s double attempt, hoping to become just the second driver to complete the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. He looked at home Thursday, posting the eighth-fastest speed of 191.042 mph in practice.
That didn’t hold up in qualifying as Busch ended 28th and failed to advance to the second round of the knockout session. Busch’s fastest lap was 189.553 mph, meaning he and his No. 41 team have some work to do before Sunday night much as they have the past few weeks.
While they won at Martinsville Speedway in March to seemingly lock up a spot in the 16-driver championship Chase, Busch stands 28th in Sprint Cup points.
Some might wonder if Busch’s time at Indy is costing him in NASCAR. He says no.
“I’ve been right there along with the Cup guys,” Busch said
Clint Bowyer said many in the garage area are rooting for Busch at his try for history.
“I do believe Kurt has an opportunity to pull that off,” Bowyer said. “That would be something to make all of us in this sport pretty proud.”
Busch is soaking up the experience, and he believes his try can give motorsports a “shot in the arm.” When it’s over, though, he knows he’ll be ready to try to bring his team to the top of Sprint Cup.
“I’ll be back next week and it will be back to normal,” he said.
Alonso bests Hamil- ton in practice run
Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso posted the fastest time in the rain-disrupted second practice session at the Monaco Grand Prix, with Formula One leader Lewis Hamilton second.
Alonso, who is third overall in the F1 championship, clocked a time of 1 minute, 18.482 seconds. Hamilton was .419 seconds behind and four-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel was .535 behind for Red Bull. Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne was fourth best for Toro Rosso.
Hamilton, who has won 26 races, has never started from pole in Monaco despite securing 35 career poles elsewhere.
Johnson honored to vote for Hall of Fame
Reigning NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson was honored and just a little bit anxious about voting for the NASCAR Hall of Fame this week.
For the first time in NASCAR, a current competitor was allowed to help select the five inductees for the 2015 Hall of Fame class. Johnson was part of a 54-member panel that picked Bill Elliott, Wendell Scott, Rex White, Joe Weatherly and Fred Lorenzen for induction into the hall next January. Johnson said he read through the briefing book twice to study up on the 20 nominees.