Kurt Busch

Kurt Busch still thinking about potential Indy 500 run


Almost three months after he tested one of Andretti Autosport’s IndyCars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Kurt Busch remains interested in competing in next year’s Indianapolis 500.

Busch, who rolls off sixth in today’s Brickyard 400 at IMS, obviously has making this year’s Chase as his top priority right now. But the former Sprint Cup champion is still very keen on tackling the ‘500.’

“It’s something you want to do as a dream,” Busch said to NASCAR.com’s David Caraviello. “Sometimes you have to throw away common sense when you have a dream, and to go and do it. We’ll see if it turns out.”

Of course, should Busch decide to enter “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” that also means he’d have to run the Coca-Cola 600 in the stock cars later that day.

“A lot of guys would love to do [Indy], but there’s that 600-mile race you’ve got to do that same night,” Busch added. “So that’s the big focus for a stock-car guy.”

The Indy/Charlotte double has not been attempted since Robby Gordon ran both the ‘500’ and ‘600’ on the same day back in 2004. But Busch has shown several signs that he’s serious about doing it.

On May 9, Busch sampled what an IndyCar can do when he ran a test session in the No. 1 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet of Ryan Hunter-Reay. “The Outlaw” turned 83 laps with a fast lap at 218.210 miles per hour, and he also passed a simulated version of the Rookie Orientation Program that all ‘500’ first-timers must go through in order to compete in the race.

He has also picked the brain of former ‘500’ winner and current Nationwide Series competitor Sam Hornish Jr., who seems convinced that Busch will eventually experience what Indy is like in the month of May.

“He only went and did some practice this year, but I wouldn’t be too surprised to see him make it happen where he runs the Indy 500 in the next couple of years,” Hornish told NASCAR.com’s Caraviello.

Report: No Mexico, 16 races expected on 2016 IndyCar schedule

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IndyCar chairman Mark Miles doesn’t expect the 2016 Verizon IndyCar season to begin in Mexico in February next year, according to a report by USA Today.

Though Miles said the Mexico race was “unlikely,” he believes the final schedule will 16 races at 15 venues over the course of seven months.

Miles said the series is waiting for a “highly, highly likely” event to be approved by a board around Oct. 13, going on to say it wasn’t Pocono Raceway.

“If we had to, we probably could put this out, in theory, sooner, but we want to go through the formality and respect the process of a formal approval from one of the promoters,” Miles said.

Miles said the Mexico City race has been put on hold due to concerns for proper promotion for the event, which would be the series’ first outside the United States since racing in Brazil in 2013.

“The process they needed to go through to get everything lined up has not really left a lot of time to be confident that everything can be done to properly promote the first race,” Miles told USA Today. “So I think the conversation is very much about ‘17. We just kind of ran out of time for ‘16.”

This is what is know about the 2016 IndyCar schedule so far.

Either the track, IndyCar, or an IndyCar support series (Pirelli World Challenge) have announced these dates for 2016:

March 13: St. Petersburg, Fla.
April 17: Long Beach, Calif.
April 24: Birmingham, Ala.
May 14: Indianapolis, In. (Indy GP)
May 29: Indianapolis, In. (100th Indy 500)
June 4-5: Detroit, Mich.
June 11: Fort Worth, Texas
June 26: Elkhart Lake, Wis.
July 31: Lexington, Ohio
Sept. 4: Boston, Mass.
Sept. 18: Sonoma, Calif.

These dates are not formal but are highly likely for 2016, per media reports:

April 2: Phoenix, AZ
July 17: Toronto, Ontario

These tracks have been rumored, but are yet to announce the status of IndyCar races for 2016:

Iowa Speedway
Pocono Raceway
The Milwaukee Mile
Gateway International Raceway

Williams hopes to improve on 2014 performance in Russian GP

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At this weekend’s Russian GP, Williams Martini Racing is looking for more of the same from Valtteri Bottas and a little improvement from Felipe Massa.

Last year, Bottas started and finished third while Lewis Hamilton ran away with the win, finishing 13 seconds over Nico Rosberg and 17 over Bottas in the inaugural race at the Sochi Autodrom.

Meanwhile, Massa started 18th after a fuel flow issue knocked him out of the first round of qualifying and managed an 11th-place finish.

Bottas and Massa enter the Sochi race fifth and sixth in the driver standings.

“We had a good result last year in Russia so we’re expecting another strong weekend and a good collection of points,” said Bottas in a release. “We all know the track now and it has a really good flow, with the long straights a good fit for our car.”

Bottas has finished in the top five in each of the last three races, two of which were won by Hamilton.

“Pace-wise we were close to Mercedes in Japan and I think we can be close again in Sochi, just like we were in 2014,” Bottas said, who also noted after Japan the team is set to turn its focus to its 2016 car.

Massa, who has two podium finishes this year, will try to bounce back from a DNF at Marina Bay and a 17th-place finish in Japan.

“I hope to make amends for qualifying last year and I’m confident we can have a competitive race,” Massa said in a team release.

“Russia is a very nice track with a few long straights which makes it interesting for overtaking,” Massa said of the 18-turn track. “The circuit has almost everything, starting with a straight and then moving into high-speed corners and then very slow corners in the middle sector. This makes setting up the car really important and the importance of downforce evident.”

The Russian Grand Prix can been seen on NBCSN on Sunday at 7 am ET.