Indy 500 Alive for Kurt Busch
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on January 27, 2014 | 4:20 P.M. EST
"It’s actually grabbed better traction the last couple of weeks, it’s gotten me more excited." (Photo: Getty Images)
Busch said Monday during the opening day of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Media Tour that progress has been made to make him the first NASCAR driver to to run in the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day since Robby Gordon last did a decade ago.
Gordon is one of only three drivers to have competed in both races on the same day. The others are John Andretti and Tony Stewart.
Racing both events became too difficult in 2005 when the Indianapolis Motor Speedway moved its starting time to 1 p.m. ET. In 2011, Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials moved the starting time back to noon ET, providing an opportunity for NASCAR drivers to compete in that race and then fly to North Carolina to compete in the Coca-Cola 600.
Busch completed all three phrases of rookie orientation last May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He ran 83 laps in an Andretti Autosport car with a top lap of 218.210 mph.
Busch said that Stewart-Haas Racing co-owners Gene Haas and Tony Stewart have given their approval to his attempt.
“It’s actually grabbed better traction the last couple of weeks, it’s gotten me more excited,’’ Busch said. “The teams that are showing interest, the sponsors and the opportunity is there. I think we’ve even rounded up some partners that will make transportation better.
“I don’t know when we’ll have a decision but we now have to understand how NASCAR’s qualifying procedures will work and the time I cannot be out of the Cup car to go to do Indianapolis stuff. We have to make sure we balance that.’’
Busch said he’s had interest from Andretti Autosport, the team owned by Michael Andretti, and another team he declined to name.
“Andretti is who helped me do my rookie test and I feel the genuine connection with the Andretti Autosport group. When you start something with somebody you want to finish it with (them).’’
If Busch competes in both events, he knows he’ll have plenty of work ahead.
“We have to balance out a lot of different areas,’’ he said. “There’s the schedule from the NASCAR side and the Indianapolis side. There’s my training regimen and commitment I have to up and there’s a financial side of that all has to come to it, too.’’