Kurt Busch close to deal to run Indianapolis 500

Jared C. Tilton

Kurt Busch says he’s close to a deal that would allow him to run in this year’s Indianapolis 500. Danica Patrick, however, says she’s not interested in attempting the Indy-Charlotte double.

Kurt Busch is close to becoming the fourth driver to run the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 in the same day, he revealed Monday during the NASCAR Media Tour.

The 2004 Cup champion hoped to attempt the Indy-Charlotte double a year ago, as he completed all three phrases of Indianapolis 500 rookie orientation last May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But a lack of sponsorship and seat-time prevented him from doing so.

"I love the Indy 500, it's an amazing event and everyone should go see it sometime. But as far as me as a driver, I'm not seeking it out anymore." -Danica Patrick

This year though, Busch says there is a "70 percent chance" he will attempt both races. He has the support of Stewart-Haas Racing co-owners Tony Stewart and Gene Haas. Stewart along with John Andretti and Robby Gordon are the only drivers to compete at Indianapolis and Charlotte Motor Speedway on the same day.

"It's actually grabbed better traction the last couple of weeks," Busch said. "It's gotten me more excited and the percentage has gone up and not down. I have Gene's blessing and I have Tony's blessing, and I think we have even rounded up some partners that will make transportation easier."

Busch declined to say which team he would run the 500 for, with the likeliest candidate Andretti Autosport owned by Michael Andretti, which provided a car to Busch last year when he tested at Indianapolis. Another outfit has expressed interest Busch said but he wouldn't divulge the details. He would prefer to align himself with Andretti because of their prior relationship.

"Andretti helped me do my rookie test and I feel a genuine connection with the Andretti Autosport group," Busch said. "And when you start something with somebody, you want to finish it with (them)."

Busch is uncertain when he'll make his final decision and is waiting for the pieces to come together. One potential hurdle is NASCAR's new qualifying process, as the intricacies of the format are still unknown.

But just in case he does decide to run Indianapolis and Charlotte, Busch has already altered his diet and training regimen so he can handle the 1,100 miles the two races encompass.

One driver who will not be joining Busch in attempting the Indianapolis 500 is Danica Patrick.

The current NASCAR driver and former IndyCar pilot said she is focused solely on NASCAR -- though Patrick wouldn't completely reject the notion of returning to her open-wheel racing roots.

"I love the Indy 500, it's an amazing event and everyone should go see it sometime," Patrick said. "But as far as me as a driver, I'm not seeking it out anymore.

"I'm not saying I wouldn't take the opportunity if I felt like I was in a position to win a race. But after last year when it didn't work out, I'm no longer trying to make that happen."

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