Kurt Busch Wants to Double Up (Again)
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on July 25, 2014 | 2:02 P.M. EST
Kurt Busch says he'd like to again run the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. (Photo: Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS - Back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he started his quest to run the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day, Kurt Busch says he’d like to run both races again next year.
Busch said Friday that he’s yet to talk to owner Michael Andretti, who fielded a car for him at Indy this year, but expects to do so.
“I’m more than willing to jump back in and try to do a full 1,100 miles because that’s the objective to try complete all 1,100 miles,’’ Busch said. “It’s something special. It’s a target and it’s only been achieved once.’’
Busch, the fourth driver to compete in both races in the same day, fell about 200 miles short of completing the distance. Only Tony Stewart has run all 1,100 miles in the two races, accomplishing the feat in 2001 when he finished sixth at Indy and third at Charlotte.
Busch’s bid to complete all 1,100 miles ended when his stock car’s engine blew at Charlotte. Although he fell short in that goal, Busch won Rookie of the Year honors at Indianapolis for his performance.
“I really enjoyed it,’’ Busch said of running both events. “Afterwards it felt like it took a week or two to settle back into the Cup rhythm. But overall to have a plaque to say Rookie of the Year, Indianapolis, to qualify at 230 miles an hour for a four-lap average, that was exciting.’’
“I guess there is the one regret. I should have stayed for qualifying on Saturday and tried to stay locked into that Fast 9. My objective was to be top 15. We were knocking on the door. We were third fastest when I left.’’
Indy 500 qualifying was the same day as the Sprint All-Star race in Charlotte. Busch left Indy early to qualify for the All-Star race. A loose lug nut - teams are required to make a pit stop during All-Star qualifying - caused him to start at the rear. It’s where he would have started had he stayed at Indy to try to be in position to win the pole and allowed Parker Kligerman to qualify his Cup car for the All-Star race before arriving for that race.
Since running both the Indy 500 and Coke 600, Busch says he’s thought a lot about doing it again.
“That's been the big question,’’ he said. “Every day I wake up and like, yes, let's do it again. Then there are thoughts of I finished sixth, that's pretty special. I don't know if I could achieve that result again.
“And then (Michael) Andretti will text you, Marco (Andretti) will text you. The relationships from the open-wheel side that I opened up whether it's Jimmy Vasser at KV Racing or Ed Carpenter with his race team. It's really unique to talk to a lot of the team owners and other drivers on the IndyCar side to see if it can and will happen again.’’
For now, though, Busch said his focus is on his Stewart-Haas Racing team. Busch is set to make the Chase with his win at Martinsville Speedway earlier this year, but Busch ranks the lowest among the 11 race winners this season in points at 25th. He’s finished inside the top 20 each of the past six races, his longest streak this season.
“When we unloaded at Pocono in June, that seemed like we were grabbing another gear and our team has found a good rhythm since then,’’ Busch said. “So we're hoping to cash in on some of those set-up notes and procedures that we've been following since.’’