BUSCH A DESERVING ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
By Zach Tasker
98 times now brave men and women have suited up to the challenge. The greatest spectacle in racing provided another thriller on Sunday afternoon when 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay picked up his first 500 win. Hunter-Reay’s Andretti Autosport teammate Kurt Busch proved that it doesn’t matter what racing discipline you come up through, the Indianapolis 500 is still a race every driver wants to do, and wants to win.
You could tell in Kurt Busch’s ROTY acceptance speech that he was truly humbled by the event and even appeared to be choked up a bit. I think what the 2004 NASCAR champion did was put a lot on the line just for the thrill of racing in the 500. He had nothing to prove, he has been successful in stock cars and is having somewhat of a resurgence in that career. The Las Vegas native decided to put all of his ego and accomplishments to the side to become an Indy rookie and I believe that should be commended. He bounced back great from a race week practice crash that would have shattered the confidence of many drivers.
Busch took the start of the race easy and started picking off drivers one by one towards the mid stages of the race, by the end of 500 miles he was starting to look like a veteran. If Kurt is to do the “double” again next year, one would have to believe he would be a winning contender. As an open wheel loyalist, I feel having a NASCAR driver in the field helps with eyeballs on the sport and gives the 500 credibility as a great challenge. Not that it doesn’t have credibility without Busch, but the 500’s history has always been about the greatest drivers in the world. Formula 1 drivers, stock car drivers and others for over 100 years have tried to capture glory on the brickyard. I salute Kurt Busch on a great job and hope next year he brings some of his friends from down south.