It’s official: Kurt Busch to run Indianapolis 500 with Andretti Autosport

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The will he, won’t he saga of Kurt Busch racing at the Indianapolis 500 this year actually goes into the “will he” column, in what will be a huge story line for this year’s race.

Busch confirmed Tuesday on FOX News’ “Fox & Friends” morning program he will attempt to run this year’s Indianapolis 500 with Andretti Autosport, and thus attempt the double of racing both the Indianapolis 500 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.

“With Andretti Autosport and Stewart-Haas Racing, we’re going to attempt to do the double. I’m the goofy one,” Busch told the show, as he will attempt to become the first driver to do the double since Robby Gordon in 2004. That year, rain interrupted the Indy 500 and Gordon had to fly to Charlotte, leaving Jaques Lazier to fill in as a relief driver.

Gordon (2002 and 2003), Tony Stewart (1999 and 2000) and John Andretti (1994) have also done the double.

As far as the commercial side of it goes, Busch completed his rookie orientation program at Indy with Andretti last year, and now, the dream will become a reality.

He’ll be doing this to support the Armed Forces Foundation, dedicating his Memorial Day mission to those who continue to inspire him each day – the men and women serving around the world in the United States Military. Fans can show their support by texting AFF to 50555 to pledge $10 to the cause.

“It’s Memorial Day weekend; this isn’t a PR stunt,” Busch said. “I’ve been working with Armed Forces Foundation. I’m doing this for the troops.

“It will be full tilt the next three months. Doing it with Andretti is legitimate; his name in IndyCar is one of the biggest names there is.”

Busch confirming he’ll race with Andretti as the team’s fifth car also alleviates the concern of him racing a Honda at Indianapolis and a Chevrolet at Charlotte. Fans can follow the progress on Andretti’s new website, AndrettiTV.com, and on a new double-specific website, KurtBuschDouble.com.

Turns out good karma, a good cause and a good story line won out over a concern in different manufacturers.

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

Follow @KyleMLavigne