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Kurt Busch set for Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport
2004 NASCAR Cup champion Kurt Busch will drive for Andretti Autosport in the 2014 Indianapolis 500.
Busch, 35, who competes for Stewart-Haas Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, will be the first NASCAR driver to attempt the Indy-Charlotte double since Robby Gordon made his sixth and final run at the feat in 2004.
Although John Andretti, cousin to team owner Michael Andretti, was the first driver to try the open wheel/stock car combo on racing's most storied weekend in 1994, Busch will be the first NASCAR champion to attempt the double since his current boss, Tony Stewart, completed all 1,100-miles in 2001.
"I'm looking to establish myself in motorsports like I always have through the years," Busch told RACER. "A couple years back, I did the Gator Nationals in a Pro Stock car to try another discipline in motorsports other than stock cars. In the years before that, I ran in the 24 Hours of Daytona.
"So I've done road course stuff. I've done dirt tracks. I've done drag racing, sports cars, stock cars, trucks, Nationwide all the good stuff in motorsports. I think this is the last item on a complete list."
Talk about adding the crown jewel to an already impressive motorsports bucket list. Even Busch acknowledges that competing in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day will "rank at the top" of his achievements.
"I grew up in a NASCAR ladder system," Busch said. "I've driven everything from a Hobby Stock car with a NASCAR label on it to a Late Model, to a topless tour car, a truck, my Busch car, Cup car. So to challenge myself at the elite level of open-wheel is a whole different ball of wax."
But with Michael Andretti's pedigree in IndyCar, Busch has a solid opportunity to make his open-wheel debut with a championship organization.
"To me, the Indy 500 is a spectacle," Busch said. "It's an intriguing event. One of the components to make this first step a successful step is having a shot to win. It's not just to go for show.
"To have the Andretti name backing me in an Andretti Autosport car – as the fifth car – I can't think of a better way to start off the double – and then knowing that I'll have a Stewart-Haas Automation Chevy waiting for me when I return to Charlotte – also with a shot to win. Part of this whole strategic event is to give us a legitimate chance to win."
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