For the first time since the days of A.J. Foyt, I am interested in the Indianapolis 500. Fan to fan, let me tell you, I’ve always been more of a NASCAR fan since I was a kid. The cars looked more like the ones I could buy, the drivers were more like more like the ones I might meet at the local dirt track- as opposed to Le Mans- and NASCAR had just more of an American feel. This year is different. Something’s happening this year that’s got my attention.
NASCAR’s Kurt Busch is attempting “The Double,” running in the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600…in the same day. What we have here is a motorsports biathlon. Both are auto races, but we’re talking two different cars, two different series, two different states, two different kinds of tracks. To say this won’t be easy will earn you the Captain Obvious Award.
It was cool watching NASCAR’s A.J. Allmendinger race the 500 last year. The one-time Champ Car racer accounted pretty well for himself for his brief foray back into open wheel racing. That was one race. Busch will take to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, run a darn near square, flat two-and-a-half mile track in a rocket ship on wheels, jump on a plane, fly to North Carolina, jump in a 35-hundred pound Chevy SS, and run NASCAR’s marathon race on a a mile-and-a-half quad oval with 24 degrees of banking in the turns. He’ll cover as much distance as one would driving from Los Angeles to Tacoma, Washington.
It sounds crazy, but let’s remember this isn’t just any driver. Kurt Busch is an auto racing champion. The 2004 Sprint Cup titlist has been to the promised land and he knows what he’s up against in trying this. What’s more his teammate/boss Tony Stewart has lived the same journey. You have to love having a resource like that in your corner. Some “experts” say this is a bad idea, and will take away from his primary focus, achieving success for his new team, Stewart-Haas Racing. Newsflash: Kurt is a big boy, and this is ONE weekend out of 36 on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule.
Besides what it does for Busch, think of what this means for NASCAR and Indy Car. I’m not an open wheel fan, but I’ll be watching. It gives that series a chance to win over someone who hasn’t paid attention in ages. The same will be true for NASCAR. You’ve got to know there will be those Indy fans who will take more than just a casual glance, especially the the Indy 500 goes well for Busch.
Move aside, naysayers, history is full of achievers who were told they couldn’t do it. It may go well, it may very well not. I give the man credit for trying. Just doing it is an achievement unto itself, and adds intrigue to auto racing’s Day of Feast. Come May 25th, don’t bother men, I’ll be watching the races. The honey-do’s and the BBQ can wait until Monday.