INDIANAPOLIS — Kurt Busch would like to try racing 1,100 miles some Memorial Day weekend.
He’s even asking for help.
Ten minutes after arriving in Indianapolis, the 2004 Cup champion wasted no time in speaking his mind today. He told reporters during a seat-fitting that he would be interested in competing in the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day -- if race organizers can work out the logistics.
“It’s unique and I know he (Tony Stewart) wants to get back in the 500,” Busch said. “I know there’s a business side to it and if we could get the (start) times sorted out, I think you’d get more interest from drivers, teams and sponsors because that’s what the fans want to see.”
Stewart, Robby Gordon and John Andretti are the only drivers who have ever made the attempt. None of the three wound up winning either race. Busch could be the next one to try, and he’s scheduled to test Ryan Hunter-Reay’s car Thursday on Indy’s 2.5-mile oval even though he’s not scheduled to drive in this year’s race.
The track opens Saturday, qualifying is scheduled for May 18-19 and the race is scheduled for May 26.
As 500 organizers confirmed their 33rd driver-car combination, with the addition of 1996 race winner Buddy Lazier to the entry list, Busch wasn’t ruling out the possibility that he could be back on the track come race day.
“I don’t even know how it (the schedules) lay out this year,” Busch said. “But they have faster planes and faster helicopters now.”
And faster cars, presuming the weather cooperates and there are a minimal number of cautions on race day.
Just showing up in Andretti’s shop got Busch’s juices flowing. He acknowledged calling an old friend and a former Penske Racing teammate, 2006 Indy winner Sam Hornish Jr., for advice on what is scheduled to be a 3 ½-hour test run. Busch brought his father along for the ride and the 34-year-old even referred to himself as a kid in a candy store.
Last weekend, Busch was caught in a late wreck at Talladega, his Cup car going airborne before landing on Ryan Newman’s car. Afterward, Newman criticized NASCAR for failing to find a way to keep cars grounded.
The wreck was a hot topic on Tuesday’s NASCAR conference call and, of course, at Andretti Autosport headquarters.
“I’ve been on fire, I’ve been rolling over, I’ve got all the bad stuff out of the way,” Busch joked.
Andretti quickly responded: “Good, I’m glad to hear that, and I’m sure Ryan is glad to hear it, too.”
So what about the opportunity to race at Indy? Andretti was non-committal, though he and Busch both acknowledged it’s possible.
’’We’re going to sit down and go through the whole show and see what happens,” Andretti said.