The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

March 4, 2014

Kurt Busch to try Indy 500-Coca Cola 600 double

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kurt Busch and Andretti Autosport announced Tuesday that he will try to become the first driver in 10 years to run the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.

Busch, the 2004 NASCAR champion, will try to qualify for the Indy 500 in a fifth car for Andretti. Should he make the May 25 race, Busch will then fly to Charlotte Motor Speedway to fulfill his full-time job with Stewart-Haas Racing in NASCAR's longest event of the year.

"I'm a fan of motorsports, a student of motorsports, and I view this as a challenge for myself," Busch said in an interview with The Associated Press. "Memorial Day weekend, the central focus of all motorsports is Monaco, Indianapolis and Charlotte and this is a tremendous opportunity to be right in the middle of it."

Only John Andretti, Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon have attempted the grueling, 1,100-mile "double," and no driver has tried since Gordon in 2004.

Stewart, Busch's new co-owner at Stewart-Haas, is the only driver to complete all 1,100 miles. He did it in his second and final attempt, in 2001, when he finished sixth at Indy and third at Charlotte.

An Indiana native who grew up dreaming of winning the Indianapolis 500, Stewart long ago abandoned that goal and passed on an offer last year from Roger Penske to drive one of his cars in the 2013 Indianapolis 500. But he said in January that Busch had his blessing to pursue a seat in this year's race.

Busch first flirted with the idea last May when he completed the Indy 500 rookie orientation program with Andretti. He didn't put a program together to run the 500, and said he's second-guessed that decision at times.

"I took the conservative route and sometimes I kick myself because Carlos Munoz finished second as a rookie in that car last year," Busch noted. "So now I'm challenging myself to do something great in motorsports."

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