Race Cars and Roller Coasters? Kurt Busch Compares

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch experienced gravity-defying rolls and extreme G-force outside his race car yesterday, riding roller coasters with Kansas City fans and media at Worlds of Fun.

Busch compared his experience on the Patriot and Mamba roller coasters to Kansas Speedway’s 1.5-mile track, where he will race on September 28 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kansas 400.

"There’s the sense of acceleration, there’s the top speed. There’s the g-force that you’ll carry through a corner. When you get loaded into your seat, whether you’re in a roller coaster or a race car, you feel that g-force and you’re tossed to the side, the opposite way that you’re going into the corner," Busch said.

The Mamba is a hypercoaster with a maximum G-force of 3.5 at the base of the first drop. The start took Busch and his fellow riders 200 feet high and dropped them at 75 miles per hour. Busch reaches speeds of 180 miles per hour in his stock car on Kansas Speedway’s race track, hitting up to 2 G’s in the corners.

"There were two big long loops pushing you down into the seat, into g-force corners and that’s what we experience for three, four hours when we’re out on the race track," Busch said. "So that two minutes of speed and exhilaration? Multiply it by a few minutes to come up with four hours, and that’s what we feel at Kansas Speedway."

The Mamba holds riders in their seat with a locked lap bar, rather than a harness. Busch said this gave him a sense of freedom and lets him throw his arms in the air, something he doesn’t get to do with the five-point safety harness he wears in his stock car. The Patriot on the other hand, had a harness that went over his head and locked at his waist.

The Patriot is an inverted roller coaster known for its loops, sharp curves, corkscrew and zero-gravity roll. Busch said the twists, turns and quick changes in direction were like making quick maneuvers in a stock car, sometimes to avoid an accident.

He noted the key difference between riding the roller coasters and racing a stock car was that he was no longer the one in control.

"I know that on a roller coaster I’m going in a certain direction, I’m following," Busch said. "In a race car sometimes you’re along for the ride and it’s not pretty when you hit the fence at 180 miles per hour."

To cool off after the roller coaster rides, Busch raced go-karts with a few fans and Kansas Speedway President Jeff Boerger.

"I was flat-footed all the way around," Busch said. "I actually had a race fan that had my little brother’s shirt on – I signed it for him. He was the toughest competition and almost got me. We had to hold on tight and bare knuckle it around there."

Join Kurt Busch and the rest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, September 28 for the Kansas 400. The NASCAR Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300 is Saturday, September 27. Call 866.460.RACE for tickets today.

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