The 2004 NASCAR Cup champion, who made a strong impression in the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500, has stated he will not take part in the 100th.
Driving for Andretti Autosport in 2014, Busch impressed everyone on his IndyCar debut by qualifying 12th, finishing sixth and earning Rookie of the Year at IMS, before flying to Charlotte for NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600.
Since then there have been rumors of Busch taking another stab at U.S. racing’s same-day “double”, but the Stewart-Haas Chevrolet racer revealed on his Facebook page this would not be happening in 2016.
He wrote: “After seriously contemplating making another run at “The Double”, and in response to the many questions I receive on the subject as the Month of May approaches, I wanted to state that I will not be participating in this year’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
“I must say this was not an easy decision and it does not in any way reflect upon my desire to compete again in one of the world’s greatest races. It is based solely on a need to maintain the focus and momentum we have built early in this NASCAR season with our #41 Stewart-Haas Racing, Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevy team – hopefully all the way to Homestead and the championship weekend.”
Craig Hampson, his race engineer for 2014, said back then: “Here in our garage or out driving our car around Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he’s seemed really happy and been very team-oriented, and I think that’s great…
“[I] stopped thinking about Kurt as a rookie, because he’d been doing such an excellent job…”
Busch echoed those sentiments today, stating: “My experience with Andretti Autosport and its drivers was so very positive and the way in which the IndyCar fans and media welcomed me, it is undoubtedly one of the highlights of my career both personally and professionally.
“Fortunately, Michael and Indianapolis Motor Speedway have left the door open for a future run, and perhaps one day I will take them up on that. It just won’t be this year.”