Kurt Busch Passes Rookie Test At Indy
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on April 29, 2014 | 5:15 P.M. EST
Kurt Busch during his rookie test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo: Patricia Driscoll)
Kurt Busch completed his rookie test Tuesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and is cleared to practice for next month’s Indianapolis 500.
“It was an exciting day,’’ Busch told Motor Racing Network. “It’s an awesome feel to be in an open-cockpit IndyCar, trusting the downforce. It’s a lot of fun.”
Busch is seeking to become only the fourth driver to race in the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day, joining John Andretti, Robby Gordon and Tony Stewart.
Busch had not driven an IndyCar in nearly a year before Tuesday when he climbed into his black-and-white No. 26 car for Andretti Autosport. Busch completed 66 laps with a top lap of 220.844 mph.
Last May, he ran 83 laps in an Andretti Autosport car with a top lap of 218.210 mph.
Busch said his biggest challenge Tuesday was the wind.
“We had a good 20-25 mph wind out of the south, which meant a tailwind down down the back(stretch) and a headwind down the front(stretch). I’m shifting gears just trying to keep up with the headwind and the tailwind.”
Andretti Autosport teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and James Hinchcliffe watched Busch run, along with former NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya.
“They were right there answering my questions and very supportive,’’ Busch said of his teammates. “Hinchcliffe rode around with me in an SUV before I went out. Marco was there to talk about certain certain things he feels on the track. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who just came off a win ... was right there in the mix, too.’’
As part of his test, Busch was required to run laps at particular speeds, working his way to faster speeds.
He’ll be allowed to return May 5 for additional practice before the track opens to all competitors May 11.
“I’ll be able to go full throttle,’’ Busch said of his return there next week. “That should put me at race trim with the other Andretti Autosport guys.’’