Tony Stewart supports Busch’s Indy test

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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.

IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama final practice report

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Will Power posted the fastest lap in the third practice session for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.953 mph.

Rookie Robert Wickens (122.552 mph) was second fast, foretelling a continuation of his incredible rookie season.

Scott Dixon (122.237), Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.231) and Alexander Rossi (122.106) rounded out the top five.

The practice was interrupted several times for incidents. 

Ed Jones spun off track in turn five after locking up his brakes with 30 minutes remaining in practice three. He was able to drive back to the pits under his own power.

With 20 minutes still on the clock, Jordan King took a trip into the fence after posting a fastest lap of 121.753 mph. He sustained substantial left side damage to his car and came back to the pits on the hook.

“I’m annoyed really,” King said afterward on the live stream at IndyCar.com. “I slightly locked the inside front, then just stayed off onto the grass and that was it. But I wasn’t really even pushing that hard.”

With two minutes remaining, Charlie Kimball lost power and pulled off the track, bringing an end to the practice session.

Dixon also had an off-road excursion.