Kurt Busch To Run Indy-Charlotte Double

Kurt Busch

Kurt Busch, shown testing a car last year at Indianapolis, will attempt to run the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 this year. (Photo: IndyCar Media)

Kurt Busch will become the first NASCAR Sprint Cup driver to attempt to race in the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day since 2004.

Andretti Autosport confirmed Tuesday morning that Busch would drive a fifth entry for the team at Indianapolis. 

Busch would join John Andretti, Robby Gordon and Tony Stewart as the only drivers to compete in both races in the same day. Gordon was the last driver to do it in 2004. Stewart is the only driver to complete all 1,100 miles. He did so in 2001.

"This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,’’ Busch said. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throw-back I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. 

“While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael (Andretti) over dinner one night on 'what if?' and now it's all becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It's literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn't get much cooler or better than that.’’

Busch said he’ll rely on Stewart for advice during this attempt.

"It's great having Tony (Stewart) as the co-owner of my NASCAR team as, in the weeks leading up to the month of May, it gives me a chance to talk with him about his personal experiences with the ‘Double’ - to anticipate what's next and have things checked off the list so that I'm mentally and physically prepared for the challenge,’’ Busch said. “I owe a big thanks to Tony, Gene Haas, and the partners at Stewart-Haas - including General Motors - for allowing me to fulfill this dream, to challenge myself in motorsports and to do something special in this day and age."

Busch tested a car last May at Indianapolis with Andretti Autosport. He ran 83 laps with a top lap of 218.210 mph. Derrick Walker, IndyCar President of Competition, is pleased to have Busch at Indianapolis this year.

"To add a driver with the résumé of Kurt Busch to the Indianapolis 500 field is a huge gain for IndyCar," Walker said. "We want to see the best 33 drivers put their skills to the test on the biggest stage in motorsports, regardless of which series they come from. To attempt 'the Double' is a tremendous challenge, and we're looking forward to watching Kurt accomplish the feat this May."

Andretti Autosport stated that after Busch runs in the May 10 Cup race at Kansas Speedway, he’ll head to Indianapolis, spending that week practicing. He is expected to make about 10 trips between Indianapolis and Charlotte in May as he competes in the both the Sprint All-Star race and Coca-Cola 600 and qualifies and races at Indianapolis.

Pole qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 will be May 17 - the same day as the All-Star race. Cup qualifying for the Coke 600 is May 22. Final practice for the Indy 500 is May 23. The Indianapolis 500 begins at noon ET on May 25 with the Coca-Cola 600 set for 6 pm ET.

"Fans will appreciate this effort, and I know they'll be as excited as I will watching the clock to see if he can make it to Charlotte in time for our green flag," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Andretti Autosport, which uses Honda power, also will field cars at Indianapolis for Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Carlos Munoz.                

Related Topics:

Kurt Busch, NASCAR, NASCAR Sprint Cup

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