Published September 12, 2015
Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Kurt Busch will try to become the first driver in a decade to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.
Busch and team owner Michael Andretti announced on Tuesday that Andretti Autosport will field an entry for Busch in the May 25 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His entry will complete a stable of five cars for Andretti's team in that event. Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Carlos Munoz are running a full schedule for Andretti in the IndyCar Series this season.
If he qualifies for the Indy 500, Busch would become just the fourth driver to compete in that race, which is held in the afternoon, and then head to Charlotte Motor Speedway to run in the 600-mile event there, which starts in the evening.
"This is really to challenge myself in motorsports," Busch said. "It's always been a dream of mine."
John Andretti, Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon are those drivers who have raced at Indianapolis and Charlotte on the same day. Gordon was the last one to attempt the double in 2004. Andretti was the first driver who accomplish the feat in 1994.
Stewart is the only driver who completed all 1,100 miles of racing on May 27, 2001, finishing sixth at Indy and then third at Charlotte.
Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, is in his first season as driver of the No. 41 car for Stewart-Haas Racing, which is co-owned by Stewart.
"I want to pop quiz everyone who's done [the double] to learn as much as I can to just be able to anticipate what's next and have things checked off your list so that you're mentally prepared," Busch said. "I have to thank Stewart- Haas Racing for giving me the chance to fulfill this dream, to challenge myself in motorsports and to do something special in this day and age."
Last May, Busch tested an Andretti Autosport car at Indianapolis. It was his second time in an Indy Car.
"That was a whole kid in a candy store moment of experiencing an open-wheel car at 220 mph," he recalled of last year's test at Indy. "You can definitely get a different appreciation for the track and its heritage with an open-wheel car versus a stock car that I've done the last 15 years there.
"It got my mind going and my juices flowing on 'I want to do this.' The adrenaline and excitement was there, but last year just didn't seem like the right timing. Now 11 months of chewing on the fat and working on the details, I'm more excited than ever to do this."
Busch passed IndyCar's mandated rookie orientation program at Indy in 2013, setting the possibility of doing the double into motion, but he chose not compete in last year's race.
"I'm really excited to have Kurt come onboard for the Indy 500," Andretti said. "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 competitive month with us."
The 35-year-old Busch will start the two-week Indy 500 stretch in Indianapolis on May 11, which is the day following the Sprint Cup nighttime race at Kansas Speedway. After spending the week testing at Indianapolis, he will travel to Charlotte for the May 17 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and then return to Indy to qualify for the 500-mile race there on May 18.