Cup Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Published on March 4th, 2014 | by Michael J Smith

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Kurt Busch To Attempt Indy 500

Kurt Busch will attempt to qualify for the 2014 Indy 500 for Andretti Autosport. It will be his first IndyCar qualifying attempt.

Busch tested an Andretti Autosport Indy car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2013, and he was rumored to be a candidate to drive for Andretti in the Sprint Cup Series.

With his Indy test, Busch also passed the mandated rookie orientation program, which will allow him to attempt the Indy 500.

Busch will head to Indy following the Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway. Busch will spend the week testing Andretti’s Honda-powered car. He will travel between Indy and Charlotte Motor Speedway to qualify and practice for the All-Star race and the Coca-Cola 600.

Busch will be the first driver in a decade to attempt the Double — participating in the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. But, this won’t be Andretti’s first Double attempt. Former Sprint Cup driver Robby Gordon subbed for an injured Dario Franchitti in the Indy 500 in 2003, driving for Andretti Green Racing (now Andretti Autosport).

John Andretti was the first driver to attempt the Double in 1994. He finished 10th in the Indy 500, driving for AJ Foyt Enterprises; he suffered an mechanical failure on lap 220 of the Coca-Cola 600 and finished 36th, driving for Billy Hagan.

Robby Gordon attempted the Double in 1997 driving for Team SABCO, but rain pushed the Indy 500 to Monday, so he did not complete the 1,100 miles in the one day. Gordon actually only completed 19 laps in the 500 before dropping out of the race due to a fire.

Tony Stewart did the Double in 1999. He finished ninth in the Indy 500 driving for Tri-Star Motorsports, but he finished three laps down. He finished fourth in the Coca-Cola 600 driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.

In 2000, Gordon attempted the Double again driving for Team Menard, but when rain delayed the start of the Indy 500, Gordon stayed to race the 500 and had PJ Jones race his car in the 600.

In 2001, Stewart led 13 laps and finished sixth in the 500 driving for Chip Ganassi Racing; he spun on the second lap of the 600 but rebounded to finish third, driving for JGR. He later said fatigue was not the cause of the spin. Stewart became the first driver to successfully complete all 1,100 miles in one day.

In 2002, Gordon attempted the Double again. This time, he finished eighth in the 500 driving for Team Menard; he finished 16th, one lap down in the 600 driving for Richard Childress Racing. He reportedly suffered from cramps in his leg at the end of the 600.

In 2003, he attempted the Double again. In the Indy 500, he qualified on the front row, but had gearbox issues that led him to drop out of the race at lap 169, leading to a 22nd-place finish, driving for Andretti. The Coca-Cola 600 was stopped early due to rain; Gordon finished 17th in his RCR Chevy.

In 2004, Gordon attempted the Double again. Rain delayed the start of the Indy 500. Then, after 27 laps, the race was red flagged. Gordon headed to Charlotte, thinking that the 500 would be washed out. But, the track was dried and the race resumed. Jaques Lazier drove Gordon’s car until the axle broke on lap 88.

That was the last time anyone attempted the Double before Busch’s announcement.

Busch is dedicating his Double attempt to men and women of the United States military.

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About the Author

Michael J. Smith is a NASCAR enthusiast and blogger. In addition to founding this website, Michael is a journalist with over a decade of experience writing for prestigious media organizations.



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