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Busch crashes during Indy 500 practice

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Updated: 5/21 12:41 pm

Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Kurt Busch escaped injury during a hard crash into the wall during Monday's practice session for the Indianapolis 500.

While running in a group of cars around Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Busch lost control when exiting turn 2 and then made impact into the SAFER barrier. The rear of Busch's No. 26 Andretti Autosport car erupted into flames, as it spun around on the backstretch and then came to a rest on the infield grass. He climbed out of the car under his own power.

The incident occurred roughly 95 minutes into the practice session, which started at noon ET. Busch had just completed a lap at 223.433 mph before his accident. He was checked at the track's infield medical center and then cleared to drive.

"I was starting to feel comfortable, and that's when I made the mistake of just letting my guard down or settling into that long run-type mentality, whereas with an Indy car you have to be on edge," Busch said. "You have to keep track of where you are at all times and the adjustments in the car. Maybe I just didn't keep up with keeping the car underneath me."

On Sunday, Busch qualified 12th for the Indy 500 with a four-lap average speed of 230.782 mph. He will share the fourth row with Juan Pablo Montoya, who competed against Busch in NASCAR from 2007-13, and Scott Dixon, the defending IndyCar Series champion.

Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series champion, is attempting to become the first driver in a decade to compete in both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.

John Andretti, Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon have done the one-day double in the past. Gordon was the last driver to accomplish the feat in 2004. Stewart is the only one who completed all 1,100 miles of racing.

Qualifying for the 600-mile Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway is scheduled for Thursday evening. After qualifying there, Busch will fly to Indianapolis to participate in Friday morning's final practice for the Indy 500 (Carb Day), which is only a one-hour session. There is no Indy 500 practice on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

"If you're going to have [an incident], it's better to have it early in the week, so there's time to work on the car, get back on your horse and get out there again," Busch noted. "The car will need extensive rebuild. We do have Carb Day to shake things down."

If Busch has to rely on a backup car for the Indy 500, he would start from the rear of the 33-car field.

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