Skip to content

With Indy 500 prep complete, Kurt Busch starts looking ahead to the Double

May 23, 2014, 3:05 PM EDT

Today was about getting back on the horse for Kurt Busch.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star is set to become the first driver since Robby Gordon in 2004 to run the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, and he will try to be the second to run all 1,100 miles of that arduous “Double.”

Up to last Monday, his preparations for the ‘500’ in the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda had been relatively smooth. But that all changed when he got loose in Turn 2 and crashed hard in practice.

The Andretti camp has since moved him to one of Marco Andretti’s backup cars for Sunday’s Greatest Spectacle in Racing. And today on Carb Day, Busch took it out on track for the first time since his Monday incident.

He was only 15th-fastest in the final practice session with a quick lap of 224.684 miles per hour. But instead of speed, he was seeking to get more acclimated with running in traffic and dealing with the IndyCar version of the draft – which he considers “much more violent” than what he usually encounters in a stock car.

“It’s just a matter of anticipating what’s in front of you, getting a run on the guys,” said Busch, who will start 12th in the ‘500.’ “With the bigger packs out there, it dirties up the air. It makes you very busy inside the car.

“Today I was able to feel busy, to stay on top of the adjustments, and to communicate to the crew what I think I need for Sunday’s race.”

With his ‘500’ preparation now complete, Busch gave himself a B-minus grade for his Indy efforts while noting the traffic matter. He believes that he’ll need the first half of the race to get used to passing and letting his rivals “feel confident around [me].”

But that’s not keeping Busch from aiming for a high goal in his attempt to do the Double. In 2001, his NASCAR teammate and boss, Tony Stewart, finished sixth at Indy with Chip Ganassi and then third in the Coke 600 for Joe Gibbs.

A similar outcome would be a great performance from “The Outlaw,” who continues to sense that the spotlight on him is getting brighter and brighter.

“As each day gets closer, you’re getting more anxious to get it done because you’ve been preparing for so long, then experiencing so many new things,” he said.

“I’m the least prepared of the individuals who have done the Double. They’ve all come from the open-wheel world and settled into the NASCAR world. For me, the lack of experience in the IndyCar world is what makes this fun, exciting, challenging.

“At the end of the day, it’s just about giving it my best and not making a mistake on Sunday to try to get 1,100 miles in.”

Tomorrow, Busch will be back in Charlotte preparing for the Coke 600 with a pair of Sprint Cup practice sessions (9:30-10:20 a.m. ET, 1-2 p.m. ET) before the Nationwide Series stages its 300-mile race. Busch will start 28th in the ‘600’ on Sunday night.

THROUGH THE YEARS: The Double on Memorial Day Weekend

1994 – John Andretti
Indy 500: Finished 10th…Coca-Cola 600: Finished 36th

1997 – Robby Gordon
Indy 500: Finished 29th…Coca-Cola 600: Finished 41st

1999 – Tony Stewart
Indy 500: Finished 9th…Coca-Cola 600: Finished 4th

2000 – Robby Gordon
Indy 500: Finished 6th…Coca-Cola 600: Finished 35th

2001 – Tony Stewart
Indy 500: Finished 6th…Coca-Cola 600: Finished 3rd (First and only time all 1,100 miles have been completed)

2002 – Robby Gordon
Indy 500: Finished 8th…Coca-Cola 600: Finished 16th

2003 – Robby Gordon
Indy 500: Finished 22nd…Coca-Cola 600: Finished 17th

2004 – Robby Gordon
Indy 500: Finished 29th…Coca-Cola 600: Finished 20th.

*Davy Jones attempted to run The Double in 1995, but failed to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600. He finished 23rd at Indy.

Latest Posts
  1. F1 Paddock Pass: Singapore Grand Prix (VIDEO)

    Sep 19, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Previews Getty Images

    Will Buxton brings you the latest news and interviews from the paddock in Singapore.

  2. Alonso fastest in first practice for Singapore GP

    Sep 19, 2014, 7:33 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Practice Getty Images

    First blood goes to Ferrari in Singapore as Vettel and Vergne hit trouble.

  3. FIA backtracks on F1 radio limits; driver coaching still banned

    Sep 19, 2014, 6:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Austria Getty Images

    Teams put pressure on F1’s governing body to perform u-turn on the planned radio limits.

  4. WATCH LIVE: FP1 for the Singapore Grand Prix

    Sep 19, 2014, 5:45 AM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    FP1 offers the first chance for drivers to get to grips with the Marina Bay Street Circuit in the 2014 cars. Watch live on Live Extra from 6am ET.

  5. Ever wonder what Dale Jr., Danica, and others would look like as Boris Said?

    Sep 18, 2014, 9:21 PM EDT

    (Image courtesy FoxSports.com's Shake and Bake) (Image courtesy FoxSports.com's Shake and Bake)

    While Boris Said was getting ready for this weekend’s IMSA Tudor Championship event at Circuit of the America’s in Austin, Texas, it’s noteworthy to mention that Thursday was his 52nd birthday.

  6. Michael Waltrip challenges Dale Jr. to go Dancing With The Stars

    Sep 18, 2014, 9:02 PM EDT

    (Courtesy Dancing With The Stars) (Courtesy Dancing With The Stars)

    Michael Waltrip took a big step when he agreed to compete on Season 19 of “Dancing With the Stars.” Now, Waltrip has gone and put his foot in his mouth by trying to kick Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the behind, so to speak.

  7. Phoenix track bringing in more muscle for Chase race: UFC legend Chuck Liddell

    Sep 18, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT

    Chuck Liddell (Photo courtesy UFC) Chuck Liddell (Photo courtesy UFC)

    Given how important – and potentially how wild – the ninth and next-to-last race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup will be, Phoenix International Raceway is calling in some extra muscle for drivers who may potentially get out of hand.

  8. Report: NASCAR’s top 9 richest teams worth a collective $1.25 billion

    Sep 18, 2014, 7:04 PM EDT

    (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Owning a NASCAR team is like being a contestant on Wheel of Fortune, they both answer to “Big money, big money.”

  9. NASCAR America video: How New England is helping NASCAR grow

    Sep 18, 2014, 6:29 PM EDT

    nhms logo 2014

    New Hampshire is one of four New England states to host a NASCAR event and is huge to the racing community in the area. Having four tracks that far North allowed the sport to grow from its southern roots.

  10. NASCAR America video: Roush Fenway Racing not competing up to team standards in Chase?

    Sep 18, 2014, 6:17 PM EDT

    ((AP Photo/The Charlotte Observer, Jeff Siner) AP

    On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, analysts Parker Kligerman and Frank Stoddard are split when it comes to the Roush Fenway Racing team. Looking to the Chase, Frank predicts a top 10 finish for Greg Biffle or Carl Edwards, but Parker is less confident.

  11. NASCAR America video: What Chase driver outside the top 12 can still advance?

    Sep 18, 2014, 6:12 PM EDT

    (Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images) Getty Images

    On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, analysts Frank Stoddard and Parker Kligerman both agreed that Ryan Newman is the driver just below the cutoff line with the best chance of moving on in the Chase.

  12. Report: Why Mark Martin wasn’t able to serve as driving coach for Danica Patrick this season

    Sep 18, 2014, 5:44 PM EDT

    (Photo: Robert Laberge/Getty Images) Getty Images

    NASCAR legend Mark Martin was slated to be a driving coach for Danica Patrick in 2014. Now, in an interview with NASCAR Illustrated, we learn what happened.

  13. Flagman struck, killed by race truck at Florida short track

    Sep 18, 2014, 5:16 PM EDT

    (Image courtesy Bronson Speedway) (Image courtesy Bronson Speedway)

    A flagman officiating a race at Bronson Speedway in Archer, Fla., was killed in a racing accident at the track this past Sunday.

  14. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR America at 5 pm ET — Harvick, Biffle, Edwards, New Hampshire racing history

    Sep 18, 2014, 3:51 PM EDT

    140918-NASCAR-AMERICA

    Today’s NASCAR America includes two teams in different directions as we prepare for the second race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Things are looking up for Kevin Harvick’s team, while there’s concern that Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle may not get past the first round of eliminations.

  15. NASCAR legend Mark Martin to serve as grand marshal for unique St. Patrick’s Day parade

    Sep 18, 2014, 3:01 PM EDT

    (Photo: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Mark Martin has received numerous honors in his racing career, but this one could be one of the most unique that will ever be bestowed upon him. Martin will return to his native Arkansas next March to serve as grand marshal for the “2015 World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.”

  16. IndyCar: Brasilia, Brazil race confirmed for March 8, 2015

    Sep 18, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Sao Paulo Indy 300 - Day 3 Getty Images

    IndyCar confirms return to Brazil as first 2015 international race.

  17. Jeff Gordon to set significant milestone Sunday at New Hampshire

    Sep 18, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    jeff gordon 2014 atlanta1 Getty Images

    Jeff Gordon will set a significant milestone in this Sunday’s second race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

  18. 8Star closing on Indy Lights confirmation with Sean Rayhall as one driver

    Sep 18, 2014, 1:07 PM EDT

    Photo: Getty Images Getty Images

    8Star Motorsports’ intentions of joining the Indy Lights grid for 2015 are close to becoming a reality.

  19. Ecclestone: Drivers wanted radio ban

    Sep 18, 2014, 1:05 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Germany Getty Images

    FIA could be forced to backtrack on plans for this weekend, though.

  20. F1’s Modern Wonder: Under the lights, Singapore shines brightly

    Sep 18, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Previews Getty Images

    F1 is renowned for being exuberant and exotic. No event screams it more than the Singapore Grand Prix.

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. K. Busch (1636)
  2. B. Keselowski (1522)
  3. K. Harvick (1430)
  4. D. Mayhew (1333)
  5. J. Gordon (1317)