Kurt Busch looking into running 2014 Indy 500 (Fontana First? No) UPDATE #2 Kurt Busch isn’t giving up on participating in next year’s Indianapolis 500, but competing in an IndyCar Series race this year — he was targeting the Oct. 19 season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. — won’t happen.
The reason: The deadline has passed without a sponsor signing up to run with Andretti Autosport.
“The date’s gotten too far down the road where we needed to notify Chevrolet that we needed an extra engine to go to Fontana,” said Busch, who tested at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 9. “It’s not eliminating Indianapolis next year.
“I was just hoping to have more of my homework done, have more experience and more of an education, which would have meant to race Fontana this year and to be better prepared for Indianapolis next year.”
Busch acknowledged that his attention right now is on competing for a Sprint Cup championship in the 10-race Chase that begins Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway. After that, he’ll join Stewart-Haas Racing.
“(IndyCar) was something that was very important in the month of May this year; it’s not as important with it being the middle of September right now,” he said.
Michael Andretti said his race team has been “striking out” with companies willing to sponsor Busch’s IndyCar effort. Busch said his management group, Sports Management Network, couldn’t land a primary sponsor either.
“(SMN) is now telling me there’s interest but there’s a certain value that’s tough for people to commit to,” Busch said. “That’s why you see so many cars sponsored by five or six different brands.
“We were just trying to get that one lump, that one big bang, that one big fish, that would jump in with us and go to Indianapolis and make a huge impact in the motor sports world. We didn’t think we needed to share the stage with others and it just didn’t pan out right. Maybe our approach was incorrect. We’ll go back to the drawing board to see what we need to drum up for our next approach.” Indy Star07/31/13 The weekend of Oct. 19-20 could be a big one for Sprint Cup driver Kurt Busch.
MotorRacingNetwork.com’s Dustin Long reports that “The Outlaw” has given himself a “good possibility” of suiting up for the IZOD IndyCar Series’ season finale – the MAVTV 500 – on Saturday, Oct. 19 at Auto Club Speedway.
The next afternoon – Sunday, Oct. 20 – the Cup series goes racing at Talladega Superspeedway.
“We’re working on it,” Busch said yesterday according to Long during a Cup test session at Watkins Glen International. “We just have to keep our fingers crossed.”
On May 9, Busch tested for Andretti Autosport at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and this past weekend at the Brickyard 400, he reiterated his interest in running at next year’s Indianapolis 500.
However, he also said after the Andretti test that he’d prefer to do an IndyCar oval race before taking on the ’500′ and that feeling hasn’t changed, either.
Sponsorship will be the key to getting Busch in an IndyCar at ACS, and Long reports that Busch said he’d feel “blind” at Indy in 2014 without first getting his feet wet at Fontana. NBC Sports07/28/13 Kurt Busch tested an IndyCar at the Brickyard in May, and has a clear interest in potentially competing in the Indianapolis 500. That curiosity was further piqued Saturday, when he stood down in Indy's canyon of a frontstretch before qualifying sixth for the 20th edition of the NASCAR event at the 104-year-old track.
"I can honestly say, standing out on the grid ready to qualify, that our qualifying is a lot less nerve-wracking than it would be to be ready for a full day, four laps at a time, and putting an open-wheel car on the grid," Busch said.
"I was trying to chew on some of those emotions. That way, if I do come back in the month of May, I can chew on them and not be so nervous."
On May 9, Busch took part in an IndyCar rookie test on the 2.5-mile speedway and passed it by turning a speed of 218.210 mph. Although neither the driver nor Andretti Autosport, the open-wheel team that supplied a vehicle for the test, were prepared to make a run at this year's Indy 500, Busch is clearly intrigued by the idea. "It's something you want to do as a dream," Busch said.
"Sometimes you have to throw away common sense when you have a dream, and to go and do it. We'll see if it turns out. A lot of guys would love to do it, but there's that 600-mile race you've got to do that same night. So that's the big focus for a stock-car guy."
Busch recently had a 45-minute telephone conversation with former Penske Racing teammate Sam Hornish Jr., an IndyCar and Indianapolis 500 champion who made the jump full-time to NASCAR in 2008. Hornish came away from that discussion believing that Busch would attempt the Indy 500 eventually. NASCAR.com