News & Multimedia

NASCAR Champ Busch Completes Indianapolis 500 Rookie Test

NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch completed the Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program during a test Thursday, May 9 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, reaching a top speed of 218.210 mph in an Andretti Autosport car.

But Busch is still taking a cautious approach toward any thoughts of participating in “The Double” of racing in the 97th Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 26.

“I need to get more comfortable in the Indy car because on a day like today, I'm white-knuckle, my hands were tense and firm, and that was only after 10 laps," Busch said. "And so then it started to settle in.

“So there’s the mental side of it, there’s the physical side, there's the sponsorship side that has to come together, and right now with Kyle Moyer (general manager, Andretti Autosport) looking sideways at Michael, Michael wants to do it, but they've already got five cars committed to trying to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 this year.

“To crawl, then walk, and then walk and then run, I think the proper thing is to go out and experience this car at another oval track and get into a race and experience what the buffeting is and the movement of the car when all the downforce changes.”
Busch completed the Rookie Orientation Program in which all drivers must participate to compete in Indianapolis 500 practice and qualifying, under the supervision of INDYCAR officials. Busch fulfilled all three phases of the program: 10 laps at 200-205 mph, 15 laps at 205-209 mph and 15 laps at 210-plus mph.

Las Vegas native Busch totaled 83 laps on the day in the No. 1 DHL Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone that reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay will drive in the Indianapolis 500. Andretti Autosport team owner and Indianapolis 500 legend Michael Andretti and Andretti Autosport driver James Hinchcliffe, a winner of two of this season’s four races, assisted Busch during the test.
“Today was an ideal day,” Busch said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better as a rookie to come to Indy and have the track prepped the way it was and have the perfect weather conditions.”

Busch entered into the test knowing that driving into Turn 1 at IMS in an open-wheel Indy car would provide different challenges from what he’s experienced  in a Sprint Cup stock car while driving in the Crown Royal presents the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com.

“Today, that was the biggest transition,” Busch said. “When you want to step into the real world, that's to hold it wide open, and when you do that, your brain says, ‘Wait a minute, you're not supposed to do that because in the stock car how heavy it is and the lack of downforce.’ So when I did hold it wide open, I was off on my line, actually apexed too early, had a little extra wheel input on exit, and it changed the game. But then once I left it on the floor, the car started to come back to me and the pace started to slow down in my mind, even though the pace kept getting quicker with lap time.”

Andretti was thrilled with Busch’s performance.

“Well, I think it was good for us,” Andretti said. “We got our first laps in May, so that's always nice. We wanted to do it in the proper way, and we wanted to do it in the proper way mostly for Kurt. We wanted him to have a real experience. We wanted to make some changes that he could feel and start to understand a little bit more about what to expect with the car in different conditions and different setups. I think we were able to achieve that.

“I would say the day went as good as we could have expected. Kurt did exactly what I thought he was going to do. He just drove exactly the way we wanted him to do it. He gave great feedback, right on pace, built up to it nice and steady, didn't do anything stupid, which we knew he wouldn't, and it was a really good day.”
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
NASCAR Champ Busch Completes Indianapolis 500 Rookie Test
 
NASCAR Champ Busch Completes Indianapolis 500 Rookie Test
NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch completed the Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program during a test Thursday, May 9 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, reaching a top speed of 218.210 mph in an Andretti Autosport car.
Read More
Related Media
2015 Rolex 24 Victory Podium
 
INDYCAR Drivers Continue 24-Hour Race Wins Streak
Victory in the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona will be quite the preseason confidence boost to Kanaan and teammate Scott Dixon, who co-drove the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates car with Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray.
Read More
Jeff Gordon
 
Gordon To Run Final NASCAR Season in 2015
Jeff Gordon, the celebrated stock car champion whose crossover appeal helped take NASCAR into the mainstream, will compete in his 23rd and final full-time Sprint Cup Series season in 2015. He announced his decision this morning to the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team he has driven for since November 1992.
Read More
A.J. Foyt
 
Sharing 'Super Tex' Stories on a Special 80th Birthday
Anthony Joseph “A.J.” Foyt, the first four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 and the only driver to win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Daytona and Le Mans, turns 80 today. We asked a few veteran motorsports journalists and broadcasters to share tributes and stories about the man universally known as “Super Tex.”
Read More
Ryan Hunter-Reay
 
Hunter-Reay Presented With Baby Borg Trophy
The trophies are keepsakes for the winning driver and team owner. The 14-inch-tall, sterling silver Championship Driver’s Trophy – a replica of the Borg-Warner Trophy -- rests on a 4-inch by 8-inch beveled black marble base that includes a three-dimensional sterling silver image of the winning driver’s face hand-crafted by noted American sculptor William Behrends, and an inscription of the winning team and year of victory.
Read More
Indy Lights Open Test
 
Indy Lights Drivers Impressed After Initial Test With New Car
Eight drivers representing five teams took part in the two-day test at the 2.034-mile Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter, Fla., and all were ecstatic about the pace, consistency and reliability of the car, which will make its race debut on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 28-29.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 1,797
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Phil Sparks at (317) 492-6463 or email at psparks@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
Congrats to @TonyKanaan on his @Rolex24Hours win. Today on The Blog: TK and the Quilt Lady in a photo from 2013: http://t.co/BTcVcTOSNf
about 1 hour ago