Kurt Busch to attempt Indianapolis 500-Coca-Cola 600 ‘Double’

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Kurt Busch will attempt to become the fourth driver to run the Memorial Day “Double” having secured an Indianapolis 500 ride with Andretti Autosport.

Kurt Busch will attempt to run both the May 25 Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600, he announced Tuesday.

Andretti Autosport, owned by Michael Andretti, will field a fifth Dallara-Honda for Busch to drive in the Indy 500. The 2004 Sprint Cup champion will then fly to Charlotte Motor Speedway for that evening's Coca-Cola 600 -- NASCAR's longest race.

"It's literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn't get much cooler or better than that."-Kurt Busch

If Busch does compete at Indy and Charlotte he will become just the fourth driver to run both races in the same day, joining John Andretti, Robby Gordon, and Tony Stewart, who co-owns Busch's NASCAR team.

Busch has not competed in an IndyCar event previously, but did complete the Indy 500 rookie orientation program last year in an Andretti entry. But because of logistics Busch declined to run, instead choosing to focus on his NASCAR commitments.

Busch has the full support of Stewart and SHR co-owner Gene Haas. He will not miss any of his NASCAR obligations, as his itinerary calls for him to fly back-and-forth between Indianapolis and Charlotte. Busch will take part in the May 17 Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte then fly to Indianapolis for Indy 500 time trials on May 18.

Stewart was the last driver to complete the "Double" in 2001, finishing sixth at Indianapolis and third at Charlotte, and the only one to complete all 1,100 miles. And because of Stewart's previous experience running both races, Busch plans to lean on his car owner/teammate for guidance.

"It's great having Tony as the co-owner of my NASCAR team," Busch said in a team statement. "In the weeks leading up to the month of May, it gives me a chance to talk with him about his personal experiences with the "Double" --  to anticipate what's next and have things checked off the list so that I'm mentally and physically prepared for the challenge."

Since last year when Busch entertained the idea of running Indy and Charlotte, NASCAR has revised its Chase for the Sprint Cup format. The new criteria states only that a driver attempt to qualify for every race to retain Chase eligibility. Therefore, Busch could miss the Charlotte race as long as he turns a lap in qualifying and still make the Chase provided he is one of 16 regular season winners.

"This opportunity was a talk with Michael over dinner one night on ‘what if?' and now it's all becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport," Busch said. "It's literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn't get much cooler or better than that."

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