May 9, 2014, 5:00 PM EST
While his main focus for now is getting his Sprint Cup season back on the right track at Kansas Speedway, Kurt Busch‘s next order of business isn’t far off either.
After running the 5-Hour Energy 400 tomorrow night in Kansas, Busch will be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday for the start of official practice for the 98th Indianapolis 500.
Busch passed his Rookie Orientation Program for Andretti Autosport late last month, but has been preparing himself physically for the Indy 500/Coca-Cola 600 “double” for longer than that.
He is seeking to become the fourth driver in history to do both races on the same day and the second to complete all 1,100 miles of the challenge.
Still, despite his diligent preparation, Busch has been having his aches and pains.
“On the physical side of it, my hands have been very sore after each of the practice sessions just from the death grip on the wheel,” Busch said today at Kansas. “I need to relax more and just let the car come to me instead of me forcing the car.
“So, it’s just getting comfortable with the driver controls and knowing where everything is around me.”
He believes that upper-body strength will be critical for him, and it would seem that he’s making gains in that department as he reported a gain of several pounds in muscle mass – “a noticeable slight difference,” in his words.
As for his workout routine leading up to the double, Busch says he has been flipping between weight training and running, the latter including everyday jogs to and from the gym.
He believes that the hard work will not only pay off for him on Memorial Day weekend, but for years to come on the Sprint Cup side.
“It’s just been a lot of fun to get into more depth in all areas,” he said of his training. “And I feel like that’s going to help me, being 35 years old here in the Cup garage, with another strong ten years.
“Ramping up this format is going to carry and prolong my activity level here.”
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