Could sibling rivalry one day extend to the Indianapolis 500?
Kurt Busch will become the first NASCAR driver in a decade to run the proverbial “double” in May: the Indy 500 in the early afternoon and the most grueling race on the Sprint Cup schedule that evening, the Coca-Cola 600.
Back home in the town where he spent most of his formative years, Las Vegas, Kyle Busch was asked Friday what he thought about big brother Kurt racing at the fabled Brickyard in an Indy car.
“I’ve thought about doing (the double) for years,” Kyle Busch told The Associated Press on Friday. ”I’ve always said that I wouldn’t do it until I’ve gotten a Cup championship, which obviously Kurt has (but) I don’t have.
“I’ve always put it on the back-burner and not really worried about it, but I think it’s good. I hope he has fun with it. Hope he don’t get too wore out.”
In an ironic twist, Kurt won his first and only Sprint Cup championship to date in 2004, the same year Robby Gordon became the last NASCAR driver to attempt the double.
Of the three drivers to date that have run the double — Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon and John Andretti — Stewart became the only driver to finish both races, a total of 1,100 races, in 2001 when he finished sixth in the Indy 500and third in the Coca-Cola 600.
”It’s just the fact of giving it a shot and seeing if you can’t roll sevens and win the thing,” Kyle Busch said. ”It’s the fun. It’s the challenge of a different car on a different race track, and trying to go after one of the biggest races in the country.”
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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.
And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.
After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.
In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.
Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.
“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.
“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.
“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”
Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.
“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”
Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.