By any standards, his showing in his very first Indy 500 was a resounding success, as he brought home the Andretti Autosport #26 car in an impressive sixth place after a completely error-free run in his maiden open wheel race in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
"What an unbelievable experience," Busch said after the race. "It is a dream come true to have an Andretti Autosport car to drive at Indy. I'm sure the car was a top five car.
"I was on edge those two restarts, making adjustments, trying to find air," he explained. "I had to lift a little bit in turn two all day. All in all, I'm very pleased. I can't believe the execution of this team. It's a team effort, not just an individual. To be able to post a sixth-place finish was beyond my wildest expectations."
He certainly got the thumbs-up from team owner Michael Andretti.
"Hats off to him, he did a really good job. He came in here with the right mindset. He came in with a lot of experience, but still coming in with the mindset of a rookie, like I said. Went to school and was a great student," said Andretti,
"You could tell the way he ran the first part of the race he fell back, but you could tell he was learning. When he started feeling confident, he started picking them off," he pointed out. "He told me in the end he thought he had a car capable of doing better, but a rookie driver. I said, 'You have nothing to be ashamed of, you did a great month the whole month.'
"It was a pleasure having him on our team," Andretti summed up. "I think everybody on the team really liked having him on. Maybe we'll do it again sometime."
Busch certainly sounded up for the challenge: "I'd love to do it again. And at the same time, you've got to do it with quality teams. The teams really can make the big difference in all of this. And I have to thank Andretti and I have to thank Stewart-Haas.
"Today is a memory I'll have forever. It was a challenge I put forth for myself. I enjoyed it," he said. "I loved racing up in Indy in front of all the Indiana natives and the Hoosiers. They love their speedway up there. That speedway loves them. That's what I really saw out of that track today. There was a grand stage to stand on and represent NASCAR." crash.net