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Racing Royalty: Busch watches wife play polo with a prince

July 28, 2018

Kurt Busch walks out from the garage area after practice for Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series auto race, Saturday, July 28, 2018, in Long Pond, Pa. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

LONG POND, Pa. (AP) — Kurt Busch found another sport that suits him: The former NASCAR champion traveled to England to watch his wife play polo with a prince.

The 2004 NASCAR Cup champ hit the sights in London and cheered on wife Ashley during a charity polo match with Prince Harry. Ashley Busch is an accomplished polo player and was recruited to compete in the Sentebale ISPS Handa Polo Cup at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club with the Sentebale St. Regis team.

She shared a page in the program with teammate Harry and both biographies said they learned to play polo at a young age.

“I got teary-eyed just watching it,” Busch said. “This is happening. This is Ashley playing with royalty.”

Busch cheered for his wife and tweeted watching her play with the prince “was a top 5 moment in my life.” Busch has met NASCAR’s King (Richard Petty) but in England, he was introduced to Prince Harry and wife Meghan.

“After the game, there was a chance to go back to the players’ tent,” Busch said. “I was with Ashley and was one of her grooms, still all dressed to the nines, but helped with the gear and her equipment. That’s when I got to chitchat with them for a little bit.”

Busch said he called Harry “royal highness” when they met. Once the formal introductions ended, Busch could call him sir.

“Ashley’s playing level fit really well with his playing level,” Busch said. “By halfway, they were starting to pass the ball to each other. Harry passed the ball up and assisted Ashley on a goal she got. They were talking about, ‘Follow me up on the right! Clean up leftovers.’”

They even did it without a crew chief.

Nacho Figueras, who extended the invitation, and Miguel Mendoza completed the team.

“It reminded me of my trip to the White House won I won the championship,” Busch said.

Ashley Busch was still in England for related polo events while Kurt qualified Saturday at Pocono Raceway for this weekend’s Cup race.

He was impressed with Harry’s polo skills.

“It seemed like the Duke of Sussex wanted to play more on the defensive side and blocked a couple of shots from going in, similar to what a goalie would do,” Busch said.

The former Meghan Markle presented the winning team with the trophy.

“Megan was very polite,” he said. “You could see how she ramped up her excitement once she got comfortable with the game. And there she was to present the trophy just like Princess Diana.”

Busch has traded horsepower for horses and tried his hand a few times at polo.

“I’m in first gear, though. Once the horse tries to go to second gear, I’m pulling back,” he said, laughing.

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