Tom Time Blog: Kurt Busch Goes To Indy!

Tom Baker Carolinas Racing, Featured, MidSouth, Midwest, NASCAR, Northeast, Southeast, Sprints & Midgets, Tom Baker Blog, Verizon IndyCar Series, West 0 Comments

Blog By RaceChaser Senior Editor Tom Baker – Photo Credit Indianapolis Motor Speedway –

Kurt Busch will attempt to qualify for this year’s Indy 500 in an Andretti Autosport prepared car.  How cool is that?

How cool is it that after nearly ten years, someone is finally going to attempt to “do the double” by racing the Indy 500 in the afternoon and the Coca Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race that night?

It seems to me that it’s in the best interest of both Indy and NASCAR to work together and make this work as well as possible.  IndyCar will surely gain a great deal of exposure among the NASCAR crowd that they wouldn’t have otherwise and maybe an extra mark or two in the ratings for the race as well.

NASCAR will also gain additional exposure and curiosity among the IndyCar fans who might tune in to the 600 to see how Kurt completes his feat, especially if he does well in the 500 earlier in the day.  Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart Racing and Andretti Autosport will gain additional exposure for putting together this plan to bring one of NASCAR’s most polarizing stars to the greatest spectacle in racing.

Can Kurt compete strongly in the 500?  Well, that remains to be seen.  He showed promise in passing his rookie orientation test last year.  But let’s be honest, you just don’t jump into either an IndyCar or a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock car and compete for wins against those who run thousands of laps in their cars every year.

Each form of racing is highly specialized unto itself and it can take some considerable “seat time” to master.  I’ve heard Jeff Gordon and others say that’s why they haven’t attempted this feat in the past.  Plus, there’s going to be a lot of time in travel involved in this, possibly as many as 10 or more trips back and forth over the course of the month of May shuttling between Indy activity and his NASCAR commitments.

That can be mentally and physically draining, I would well imagine.  Still, I would think it’s surely doable and how much fun would it be if every year we had a few racers from each side who attempted to run both races?  NASCAR still has A.J. Allmendinger and Danica who have past Indy success, and I would believe that Kyle Larson would be someone who could surely perform well in that environment.

On the IndyCar side it would be tougher because most of those drivers haven’t even driven anything but an open-wheel car other than the recently returned Juan Pablo Montoya.  But it would be entertaining to see a driver like Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan or James Hinchcliffe give it a shot.  Their personalities alone would add value to any race they are involved in.

Kurt, to my knowledge, has little or no other open-wheel experience.  So it seems to me that simply qualifying and finishing the 500 would be a “win” for him, especially if he goes on to finish competitively in the 600 that night.  Grade him on his improvement from beginning to end of the month, not on just his result at Indy.

After all, how many people can say they’ve done both in the same year?  That is a mighty short list that only includes Kurt’s “boss” Tony Stewart, John Andretti and Robby Gordon.

Here’s what else is interesting about the timing of this Indy 500 venture.  Kurt’s “other boss” is Gene Haas, who has applied for the necessary licenses to own a Formula One team beginning in 2015.

Kurt’s already done a bit of NHRA drag racing and he’s tested an Australian V8 Supercar.  If he performs well at Indy and the boss who actually brought him to Stewart-Haas gets his F1 license and gets the team up and running…?

I know, I know.  That’s probably not realistic.  But the thought of a free-wheeling maverick like Kurt being inserted into the middle of the ultra-stuffy wine and cheese F1 crowd does bring a chuckle, doesn’t it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.