Confirming RACER.com’s report of earlier this morning, Andretti Autosport officially announced that NASCAR veteran Kurt Busch will endeavor to become only the fourth driver in history to contest the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s 600-mile race at Charlotte on the same day this May. Busch will make his first career Indianapolis 500 qualifying attempt behind the wheel of an Andretti Autosport Indy car. His entry will complete a stable of five for Michael Andretti’s championship-winning IndyCar team. The move follows Busch’s test day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the Andretti team team, in which he passed the mandated Rookie Orientation program effectively setting the possibility of the “double” into motion.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” declared Busch. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback 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.”
Team owner Michael Andretti added: “I’m really excited to have Kurt come onboard for the Indy 500. He did a great job for us when he tested last year. He’s obviously a natural talent and we feel he is going to take to the Indy car quickly and have a competitive month with us.”
What lies in front of Busch is a grueling challenge, not only on the race day itself – scheduled for Sunday, May 25, when Busch will race 1,100 miles in two races, in two cities, in two totally different cars, but in practicing and qualifying his Andretti Autosport Indy car in addition to competing in three NASCAR race weekends around Indianapolis 500 activities.
The 35-year old Busch will start the two-week Indy 500 stretch in Indianapolis May 11, fresh from the NASCAR race in Kansas. After spending the week testing the Honda-powered Indy car, Busch will log some serious air miles traveling between Indianapolis and Charlotte so he can qualify for the 500-mile race and practice and qualify for the NASCAR All-Star race and that Series’ 600-mile race. In total Busch will likely make more than 10 trips between the cities – the most important and time sensitive being race day. Race day will place Busch in Indianapolis in the morning for the noon ET start time of the Indianapolis 500 before he makes the trip to Charlotte for the 6 p.m. ET green flag.
While the “double” will be a new experience for Busch, it will actually be Andretti Autosport’s second time participating in the feat. Robby Gordon (who along with John Andretti and Tony Stewart are the three previous drivers to contest the “double”) competed in both races in 2003, filling in at Indianapolis for an injured Dario Franchitti who at the time drove for Andretti Autosport.
Busch, and advocate for and representative of The Armed Forces Foundation, will be dedicating his Memorial Day mission to those who continue to inspire him each day – the men and women serving around the world in the United States Military. Fans can show their support by texting AFF to 50555 to pledge $10 to the cause.
Fans will have the opportunity to follow Busch through his action-packed month of May on AndrettiTV.com, with details coming soon.