Today, Kurt Busch will do something he hasn’t in 10 years: test an open-wheel car. And he’ll be doing at IndyCar’s most hallowed ground: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion who races for Furniture Row Racing and outside of NASCAR has also tested and raced in Australian V8 Supercars and NHRA Pro Stock, will take over Ryan Hunter-Reay’s No. 1 DHL Chevrolet for Andretti Autosport. He had a seat fitting on Wednesday.
“This is big time. To have Andretti give you a call in the Month of May… I’m a stock car guy,” Busch admitted.
The test is being hailed as a possibility for doing the double of the 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in 2014. Busch called on former IndyCar champion Sam Hornish Jr., now a Penske Racing driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, for tips on how to handle the Speedway in an IndyCar.
“There are (nerves) for sure. I called Sam Hornish Jr., a guy I worked with at Penske for years,” he said. “I was the mentor. He was the student. I flopped it on him and called him this morning and got some good advice. There’s never anything to prepare you for holding a car wide open going into Turn 1 at Indianapolis. In my discipline, I have to lift at the 1 marker in a big, heavy stock car. Sam said there’s a speed side of it and the experience of a rear-engine car.”
Busch will go through the traditional phases of rookie orientation, and see where that leads going forward.
“I wouldn’t call it an audition,” he said. “I think the most important part is to have the fun with it first, and then let the business side take care of itself later.”