A five-time Indianapolis 500 starter himself, Tony Stewart told the Indianapolis Star Tuesday he thinks his fellow NASCAR champion Kurt Busch could make the field too if he chooses to, next year.
“There’s not a doubt in my mind that he could make the (500’s) field,” Stewart told the Star’s Curt Cavin, following a sponsor event at the garage where he stores his classic cars. “If he gets with the right team — and obviously he’s going with Andretti — I don’t see any problem making the starting field for sure.”
Stewart last raced the Indy 500 in 2001, the second year he did “the double” of racing both at Indianapolis and at NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte on the same day. Penske Racing had offered Stewart a chance to race in this year’s 500, according to a report by ESPN, but Stewart declined. Not only does he drive his No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, but he oversees the Stewart Haas Racing team as a whole.
Busch, who will test the IndyCar on Thursday for Andretti Autosport, last tested an open-wheel car for Bobby Rahal’s team in 2003. He also recently participated in a car swap with Australian V8 Supercars driver James Courtney at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, in a media event ahead of the V8 race there May 17-19.
Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.
Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.
Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.
“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.
“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”
Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.
“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.
“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”