NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kurt Busch will become the first driver since 2003 to attempt a double duty day racing in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 25th.
The “double duty” requires a diver to start the day racing in the Indianapolis 500 in Indiana in an open wheel IndySeries then fly to Charlotte North Carolina to finish the day racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Three drivers have attempted the feat; John Andretti, Tony Stewart (who is now Kurt Busch’s NASCAR team owner) and Robby Gordon. Andretti was the first driver to attempt the double in 1994; Stewart twice in 1999 and 2001 and Gordon made four attempts the last in 2004. Stewart is the only driver to date to complete all the laps in both races a total of 1100 miles.
“This is really to challenge myself in motor sports,” said Busch in a press release Tuesday morning. “It’s always been a dream of mine.”
Busch turned his first laps in an Indy car in 2013, completing a test day with Andretti Autosport at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
.“That was a whole kid in a candy store moment of experiencing an open-wheel car at 220 mph,” said Busch. “You can definitely get a different appreciation for the track and its heritage with an open-wheel car versus a stock car that I’ve done the last 15 years there. It got my mind going and my juices flowing on ‘I want to do this.’ The adrenaline and excitement was there, but last year just didn’t seem like the right timing. Now 11 months of chewing on the fat and working on the details, I’m more excited than ever to do this.”
For the Indianapolis 500, his entry will complete a stable of five for Michael Andretti’s championship winning IndyCar team.
At the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Busch will race his No. 41 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing.
“I want to pop quiz everyone who’s done (the double) to learn as much as I can to just be able to anticipate what’s next and have things checked off your list so that you’re mentally prepared,” said Busch. “I have to thank Stewart Haas Racing for giving me the chance to fulfill this dream, to challenge myself in motorsports and to do something special in this day and age.”
Busch will start the two week Indy 500 stretch in Indianapolis on May 11. After spending the week testing in the Honda-powered Indy car, Busch will then travel to Charlotte for May 17’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race before heading back to Indianapolis Motor Speedway to qualify for the 500-mile race on May 18. A week outside of the car will then give the Las Vegas native a chance to rest before the 1,100-mile race weekend kicks off with Pole Night at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 22nd, then Carb Day in Indy on May 23. Race day will place Busch in Indianapolis in the morning for the noon start time of the Indianapolis 500 before he makes the trip to Charlotte for the 6 p.m. green flag.
“As a past Coca-Cola 600 champion, Kurt Busch knows what a test of endurance 600 miles can be. To race 1,100 is nearly impossible. Our records show that only one driver has ever completed all 1,100 miles of the double in the same day, and that was by Kurt’s new team co-owner, Tony Stewart,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. “To even attempt this takes a lot of guts. Fans will appreciate this effort, and I know they’ll be as excited as I will watching the clock to see if he can make it to Charlotte in time for our green flag.”
“And it’s even extra special for me that this is happening on Memorial Day weekend,” added Busch. “I really want to dedicate this to all the men and women who defend our freedom.”
Busch is an active advocate of the Armed Forces Foundation (AFF), recently merging his own foundation with AFF, and donating $100,000 to the organization through AFF’s “Kurt Busch Project.” Kurt’s girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, is President and Executive Board Member of AFF.
“We’re constantly working to drive awareness to PTSD and its consequences,” says Driscoll. “Every 65 minutes, a veteran commits suicide. They need to know that help is out there. Hopefully, something as high profile as this can really help get the message to those who need it the most.”
If fans want to support the Armed Forces Foundation, they can text AFF to 50555 to donate $10, or visit www.armedforcesfoundation.org.
Busch has already begun training for this physically demanding endeavor. In fact, his progress will be made public. He currently wears a Basis watch, which captures heart rate patterns, motion, calorie expenditure by activity, multiple sleep stages, including REM—even perspiration and skin temperature. With Basis on board as a sponsor, Busch has agreed to make all of his data public to fans. You can track it at kurtbuschdouble.com.