Kurt Busch has had his eye on competing in the Indianapolis 500 for some three years, and his desire was heightened after testing at Indianapolis in 2013. Until recently, he thought the interest of others had tapered off but once again, there seems to be a renewed interest and he projects a 70 per cent possibility at this time.
For Busch to race at Indianapolis, a lot of pieces have to come together, including availability of a car, sponsorship, scheduling around the same-day Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, qualification and practice requirements, approvals from IndyCar and NASCAR officials and on and on. Even though the challenges seem staggering, Busch is not deterred.
“I am serious about doing the double, and there are a lot of green lights on different hurdles to be overcome, and it continues to grab traction,” Busch said while at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday. “I am excited about it, and I have to look at it as a dream come true or is it a business opportunity. When you are talking with guys like (Michael) Andretti, you want to push aside the business side for the love of the sport.”
Knowing the physical demands it will take on his body, Busch added, “If I commit to this and the sooner the better, that same day I am going to hire a trainer to get me ready for doing the two races in the same day.”
Busch had intended to race in the IndyCar finale at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, but it didn’t happen, although he watched it closely. “To me the way that race unfolded, the slow and steady (driver) rode his way to win the race. Will that happen at Indy? I don’t think so. I was really intrigued with what I saw during my test in May and what I saw in October”
The former Sprint Cup champion said he didn’t know what to expect the first time out in an IndyCar, but he readily adapted. “I was white-knuckled for three quarters of the test but once I settled in and held in wide open and after a full stint of fuel, the comfort level was starting to settle in. When Michael (Andretti) started to make changes to give me more speed, I suggested we stop while we were ahead.”
As for running laps wide open, Busch said he had to talk to himself for an extended period for it to happen. “It was a long conversation within a few seconds where I kept asking myself if I was ready,” he said while sporting a big grin. “Holding it wide open for four corners in a row is an experience I will never forget. It was an experience of a lifetime.”
Busch grooves on challenges and new experiences, and even though there are many hurdles to address, he says he’s ready. And his presence may well give a shot in the arm to IndyCar and to NASCAR.