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May 29, 2016
February 14, 2014 | By Bruce Martin
Add Chip Ganassi Racing, Ed Carpenter Racing and KV Racing to Andretti Autosport as the IndyCar Series teams NASCAR driver Kurt Busch is talking to about competing in this year’s Indianapolis 500.
Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, completed the Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last May with Andretti Autosport. While he admits Andretti is the team he would like to drive for in this year’s Indianapolis 500, Chevrolet would prefer he line up with a Chevrolet IndyCar Series team.
Busch, who was at NASCAR Media Day on Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, confirmed the three Chevrolet teams that he is in discussion with includes Ed Carpenter Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing and KV Racing.
“My forecast hasn’t changed from the other week when I said I was 70 percent sure that I would run the Indy 500 this year,” Busch said. “I’m still confident in that forecast. If I were a weatherman, I’d say bring an umbrella.”
Busch still believes he could end up with Andretti Autosport at Indy, but it gets complicated after that team switched from Chevrolet to Honda beginning this season. Busch drives for Stewart Haas Racing – a Chevrolet NASCAR team. Chevrolet told Busch it was their preference that he competes in the Indianapolis 500 for a Chevrolet IndyCar team.
“We’re talking with Chevrolet programs; there is a Honda team in the mix and that is a hurdle we have to overcome,” Busch said. “We have to do it the right way. I respect Chevrolet’s involvement in the NASCAR world and that is 99 percent of the focus this year. That 1 percent, I hope, is not a problem.
“I heard about Andretti’s switch to Honda at Fontana last October and I thought, ‘How will that impact the future?’ At the end of the day I have to do the right thing.”
Busch admits he feels a certain amount of loyalty to team owner Michael Andretti, and the two sides have invested time in each other.
“It’s a matter of loyalty and I’ve tried to pride myself in being as loyal as I can be to a program or individual throughout my career,” Busch said. “When they give you Andretti Autosport – a chance to drive an IndyCar and do your rookie test, that is who you want to invest into if you are going to do a race. That is where I would lean if I were going to make a decision.
“The Andretti group with his guidance and expertise and knowledge, you can’t find a better name than that unless it’s Roger Penske or someone like that.”
Busch admits running in the Indianapolis 500 has become a challenge that he wants to conquer. And from talking to him at Daytona it’s obvious that he intends to be in this year’s Indianapolis 500.
“There’s going to come a time where I’m going to have to say, ‘If I’m ever going to do this, I need to do this now,’” Busch said. “I’m excited about the opportunity and I really want to run the Indianapolis 500 this year.”