Indy 500 sponsor, livery revealed for Kurt Busch (PHOTOS)


Kurt Busch’s run toward the Indianapolis 500/Coca-Cola 600 double began this morning, as Andretti Autosport revealed the primary sponsor and livery for his No. 26 Honda.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star will be backed at the “500” by Suretone Entertainment, which currently manages artists such as rock legends Fleetwood Mac and ZZ Top. The company also runs a record label and works in film and TV production.

“This thing started about a year and a half ago,” team owner Michael Andretti said during today’s unveiling at team HQ in Indianapolis. “We got Kurt to actually come out and test one of our cars and we were quite impressed, and we were like, ‘Hey Kurt, what do you think?’ So we started dialogue all the way back then and it’s finally become reality.”

After today’s festivities, Busch will enter the cockpit tomorrow when he begins his “500” Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“It really comes into play tomorrow at the track, when I sit in as a driver behind the wheel,” he said at the unveiling. “To go 220 [miles per hour] in race trim and then to ramp it up – [team owner] Michael [Andretti] already told me I gotta do 230 if I think I’m going to have a shot at the fast group – it’s an amazing challenge.

“Today really kicks it off, and we’ll focus for these next 30 days.”

In a statement released by the team, Suretone chairman Jordan Schur said the the company took “great pride to partner with Andretti Autosport as we support Kurt in his incredible endeavor.”


NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
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Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

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