Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Former NASCAR champ Kurt Busch to try Indy 500-Coke 600 double

   Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, will join Andretti Autosport for the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25. He'll also seek to become the fourth driver to "do the double" by competing in the Coca-Cola 600 in Concord, N.C.

   "To add a driver with the résumé of Kurt Busch to the Indianapolis 500 field is a huge gain for IndyCar," said Derrick Walker, IndyCar Series President of Competition and Operations. "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."
   Busch, 35, who is dedicating the effort to U.S. military personnel serving around the world, said the opportunity "is a dream come true."
   "My dad, a Mac Tools distributor, and I would go to car shows and see Indy cars and he'd say, 'This is about as close as you'll ever get to one of these things' because it was so far removed from what we could dream as a small blue-collar family from Las Vegas," Busch said. "It's just the different opportunities that have come up in motorsports (that have led me) to this biggest moment outside of stock cars.
   "It was a talk over dinner (with his agent, John Caponigro) one night on 'what if?' and now it's all becoming a realty for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti."
   Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway, was excited about Busch's decision.
   "As a past Coca-Cola 600 champion, Kurt Busch knows what a test of endurance 600 miles can be. To race 1,100 is nearly impossible. Our records show that only one driver has ever completed all 1,100 miles of the double in the same day, and that was by Kurt's new team co-owner, Tony Stewart. To even attempt this takes a lot of guts," he said.

   "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."