Busch spun coming out of the second turn on the 2.5-mile oval and slammed hard into the outside wall. It was the biggest crash of the month.
Debris flew into the air, there was a small fire and one of the tires rolled dangerously down the track as the car rolled to a stop on the infield grass.
But the hardest part for Busch was contemplating all the work that must be done now as he becomes the fourth driver to attempt completing the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. Both races will be held Sunday.
“This created a lot of work for the Andretti guys. I feel bad for that,” he said. “As a rookie, there’s things you learn and put it up on the edge and get away with and then there’s times when it will bite you. It’s just tough.”
Busch was checked by IndyCar medical director Dr. Michael Olinger at the infield medical center and immediately cleared to drive.
Busch said he was fine and ready to return to racing Friday when the final 1-hour practice sessions will be held. Busch said it wasn’t a big deal he had to switch cars because he completed his Indy rookie orientation program earlier this month in a different Andretti Autosport car.
“The ability of the Andretti Autosport team to field the car, it doesn’t matter how it starts, or where it comes from, they’ve been very accurate with everything,” Busch said by phone. “I’ll get over it quick. I’ve wrecked cars before.”
In the garage area, crew members covered the damaged right side of the car with blankets before moving in into the garage and closing the door. When some fans attempted to take parts from the car, Andretti Autosport team members chased them down and retrieved the parts.
The team then took the car back to its Indy shop to determine whether the car could be repaired.
“We’ve already worked our crews to death, trying to work with this schedule,” said Kyle Moyer, Andretti’s director of racing operations. “But we’ll get it done.”
Initially, officials said Busch would start from the back of the field if he used another car in the race. Series officials later clarified that would not be the case, something that should help Busch.
He qualified 12th, the outside of Row 4 on the 33-car starting grid. No driver has won Indy after starting 33rd.