IndyCar Series drivers largely hesitant to compete in Daytona 500

Brendon Thorne

IndyCar Series drivers with NASCAR team affiliations were largely uninterested in running the Daytona 500 someday.

The age old question of which NASCAR drivers will run the Indianapolis 500 is an annual tradition each May but the reverse is rarely brought up. To be more precise, IndyCar stars are rarely approached, or rarely express an interest, about competing in the other big 500-miler down south at Daytona International Speedway each February.

The current crop of IndyCar drivers appeared to have mixed opinions on the topic when they were asked about it during the IndyCar Media Day on Wednesday in Orlando.

Three-time and defending IndyCar champion Scott Dixon drives for team owner Chip Ganassi, who is also an owner in NASCAR but is not interested in running the Great American Race. He is however fascinated with the idea of testing a car and perhaps competing on a road course or short track in the Sprint Cup or Nationwide tours.

"I would love to have a go at a short track or road course," Dixon said of racing in NASCAR. "We have to look at the schedules. I think even on the Nationwide side, if there are some races that don't clash with Mid-Ohio or Road America, I just want to have a go first and see what it's like.

"Those guys are very good at what they do -- it's a very competitive series. I think it would be a lot of fun to have a go in a Nationwide race. It's not something we talk about a lot but maybe a once-a-year thing."

Former Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya spent the past seven seasons in a Stock Car for Ganassi before switching back to open-wheel with Team Penske. Like Ganassi, Roger Penske also owns cars in both disciplines but Montoya isn't interested in returning to a restrictor plate race unless his new boss asked him to.

"No," Montoya said boldly and decisively. "I've got enough things going on. No, no, no, no, no."

His Penske teammate, Ryan Briscoe, says he's never put any consideration whatsoever into it, citing his lack of experience in a stock car. When not competing in the IndyCar Series, Briscoe spends his time in the Sports Car ranks.

"I don't have any experience driving stock cars," Briscoe said. "I think it's a cool idea, but it takes a lot of effort from the team's standpoint as well to make that happen. They probably look more towards guys that have won those races to begin with if someone's going to do it."

Three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves has worked for Penske for over a decade and has asked Penske thrice about running the Daytona but has been shot down each time. Helio explained that he hasn't pressed the issue since.

Mario Andretti and AJ Foyt are the only drivers in history to win the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500. Which IndyCar Series drivers would you like to see compete in the Daytona 500? Tell us in the comments section below.

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