|Kurt Busch with Team Owner Michael Andretti at his IndyCar rookie orientation test last year.|
Sprint Cup driver Kurt Busch said he expects to have "a pretty good indication" by the end of January if he will make what he expects will be his last attempt to enter the Indianapolis 500.
The 2004 Sprint Cup champion completed IndyCar's rookie orientation program for the race last season in a car prepared by Andretti Autosport, and said he has a standing offer from that team — plus another — to enter the May 25 spectacle. Doing so would make the Stewart-Haas Racing driver the first since Robby Gordon in 2004 to contest both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR's Memorial Day weekend offering, on the same day.
Busch said he has a "couple of strong leads for advertising partners" but is concerned over a lack of testing time and that the Indianapolis 500 is the first oval event on the 2014 IndyCar schedule. His age, he said, might make this his last shot.
"Testing, we still would probably need to go to Fontana [Calif.], or we're just going to have to bite the bullet and show up at Indy and let 'er rip," he said. "But I turn 36 this summer and to me that's like an artificial drawing a line in the sand of 'I'm getting too old.' I can't teach myself new tricks. You can show up at Indy as a 20-year-old and go and do that. So I'm thinking this is probably the cutoff year."
Andretti switched engine manufacturers this offseason from Chevrolet — which supports SHR — to Honda, which could involve GM officials in Busch's potential process. Busch said he fielded an "interesting call" from another team after his rookie test last May.
"It was intriguing," he said. "It's neat to get the interest from quality teams from another branch of motorsports."
Sprint Cup team owner Tony Stewart, who won the 1997 IndyCar title but never finished better than fifth in five Indianapolis 500s, supports the bid, Busch said.
"Tony is like, 'Man, I will be there with you. We will use my plane and we'll go,'" Busch said. "It's really neat to have his enthusiasm." Espn.com