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Marco Andretti to drive in Daytona 500? Kurt Busch would love to see it

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Kurt Busch said Friday that would love to see a former teammate get a ride for the Daytona 500.

Then, just a few hours later, that same former teammate went out and recorded the fastest speed in Friday’s IndyCar practice session at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

Coincidence?

Busch wants to see Marco Andretti – who was his teammate in the 2014 Indianapolis 500 when Busch finished an impressive sixth-place – to try his luck at Daytona in a NASCAR Cup car.

“I’d love to see a guy like Marco come and run Daytona,” Busch said during Friday morning’s media availability at Bristol Motor Speedway. “I think that would be a huge event for him, for our sport.

Kurt Busch at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 2014 Indy 500. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

“It’s tough for our cars though because they’re so big and they’re so heavy. They move around so much so go to a track that either A, what you’re used to, which is a road course, or, B, where the driver has the least amount to have to learn or to conquer or to – I guess the key word is master.

“I can’t master an Indy car in one race. Fernanado Alonso has a better chance of doing that. Alexander Rossi, the kid won the Indy 500 last year. Did he master the car? No. But he mastered enough of the certain sequences it takes, and I think Marco would do real well at a Daytona-style track because he loves the draft and he loves to be around other cars. That’s what I would think would work the best.”

If the younger Andretti does race at Daytona, he’d follow in the footsteps of legendary grandfather Mario, who won the 1967 Daytona 500, the elder Andretti’s one and only career win in NASCAR competition.

As for Alonso, Busch was asked about the news that the two-time F1 champ will race in this year’s Indy 500.

“I don’t have much advice for a Formula 1 world champion,” Busch said. “I think he’ll be perfect for the situation. I think he’ll do really well, he’s a racer, he gets it.

“It’s a perfect time in his career to make the attempt at the Indy 500 without having any other oval type experience that we know of. He’ll prepare well. I saw that there was a test session for May 3, which is more like a rookie orientation, and the Andretti group will do a fantastic job for him.

“They treated me really well with a respect of my background.  They’ll do that with his and the thing that blew me away still, and I guess that would be my advice to Alonso, it’s hard to prepare but for the month of May and the amount of times you’re on track, grandstands are empty, and then you come out there Sunday morning and you feel the Indiana natives’ respect for their track and it’s their world stage that they’re standing on for the day.

“It’s impressive to be there on Memorial Day Sunday at Indianapolis. That would be my advice. It’s hard to get used to that amount of people and the amount of pageantry and the celebration that’s going on Sunday morning.”

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Race Of Champions has stellar field looking for home run in Miami

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Contestants in this weekend’s Race Of Champions will be going for both a win and home run.

The win is understandable, but the home run aspect of it is due to the host location: Miami Marlins Park, home of the Major League Baseball team of the same name.

The entire infield and outfield will be turned into a challenging circuit of numerous turns and side-by-side racing. The course layout is below.

“This is all about having a good time,” IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves said. “I respect all of the drivers and every one of them competing has some amazing qualities, plus switching cars throughout the event means the advantage will constantly be shifting. That’s why this is such a great event.”

Added fellow IndyCar driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, “To see a race track taking shape here in Marlins Park – where I bring my family for games – is incredible. And I also think it’s the best layout yet. I’m a home-town guy so hopefully the crowd will be cheering me on against two former ROC champions in my group.”

The two-day ROC will be divided between one-on-one races on Saturday, with team racing on Sunday.

Among Saturday’s marquee matchups:

* NASCAR’s Kyle Busch vs. F1’s Jenson Button.

* NASCAR’s Kurt Busch vs. Tom “Mr. Le Mans” Kristensen.

* Two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya vs. World Rallycross’s Petter Solberg, action sports’ Travis Pastrana vs. four-time F1 champ and reigning ROC champ Sebastian Vettel.

* IndyCar’s James Hinchcliffe vs. fellow IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan.

* IndyCar’s Ryan Hunter-Reay vs. former ROC Champion of Champions David Coulthard.

* 2-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya vs. World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg, F1’s Pascal Wehrlein vs. fellow F1 pilot Felipe Massa.

* Three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves vs. the winner of a play-off between Global Rallycross Champion Scott Speed and 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi.

* Other drivers in the field include Gabby Chaves (IndyCar), Stefan Rzadzinski and Gabriel Glusman, the latter two having won ROC Factor North America fan votes to get into the competition.

The top two drivers in each group will advance to the quarterfinals, and then a knockout tournament from there leads to crowning the Champion of Champions.

The top two drivers in each group progress to the quarter-finals. Then it’s a knockout tournament all the way to the Grand Final, when this year’s Champion of Champions will be crowned.

In Sunday’s Nations Cup competition, it’ll be America vs. The World in a Ryder Cup-style team battle:

Group A: Team USA NASCAR (Kyle and Kurt Busch), Team USA IndyCar (Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay) and Team USA Rally X (Travis Pastrana and Scott Speed) will all have to battle Team ROC Factor Canada (James Hinchcliffe and Stefan Rzadzinski).

Group B: Team Germany (Sebastian Vettel and Pascal Wehrlein), Team Great Britain (Jenson Button and David Coulthard) and Team Nordic (Tom Kristensen and Petter Solberg).

Group C: Team Brazil (Felipe Massa and Tony Kanaan), Team Colombia (Juan-Pablo Montoya and Gabby Chaves) and Team ROC Factor Latin America (Helio Castroneves and Gabriel Glusman).

Miami Marlins Park becomes the eighth different host site – and first in the United States – in recent years for the ROC, which returns after a one-year hiatus in 2016: Stade de France in Paris (2004-2006), London’s Wembley Stadium (2007-2008), Olympic Stadium in Beijing (2009), Düsseldorf’s Esprit Arena (2010-2011), Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok (2012), Bushy Park Barbados (2014) and London’s former Olympic Stadium (2015).

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Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, NASCAR’s Kurt and Kyle Busch added to Race of Champions

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Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi, as well as NASCAR racing brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch will be among those taking part in the Race of Champions Nation’s Cup on January 22 and 23 in Miami, it was announced Monday.

The race will be held at Marlins Park, home of Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins. This will be the first time the race — which brings together racing champions from numerous forms of motorsports including NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula One and others — will be held in the United States.

It will also be the first ROC since 2015, when Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel defeated 9-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen in London, while F1’s David Coulthard and endurance racer Alex Buncombe finished as semifinalists.

Rossi will head the largest contingent of drivers from any one series, as the Verizon IndyCar Series will also have Ryan Hunter-Reay, Gabby Chaves, Juan Pablo Montoya and Tony Kanaan also taking part in the ROCNC.

Competitors will race against each other on a specially prepared road course in identically matched vehicles.

“It’s really cool to be included in the 2017 Race of Champions,” Kyle Busch said in a media release. “You look at the list of drivers and their backgrounds and it’s pretty impressive. I love to race anything I can, so I’m really excited to be heading to Miami and getting behind the wheel of some different types of vehicles in order to compete against the best guys in the world.”

Among those entered in the competition and the series they’ll represent are:

IndyCar: 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi, 2-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan, 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves.

NASCAR: 2004 Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch, 2015 Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch.

Formula One: 4-time champion Sebastian Vettel, 11-time F1 race winner Felipe Massa, 2009 F1 champ Jenson Button, 13-time F1 race winner David Coulthard.

Other: 9-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Tom Kristensen, 2-time FIA World RallyCross champ Petter Solberg, multi-motorsports series champion Travis Pastrana, 2-time Global RallyCross Champ Scott Speed.

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Kyle Busch open to Indy 500, but “wouldn’t put too good a chance” on it

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Following his dominant display this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he swept both poles and both wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Xfinity Series, Kyle Busch doesn’t have much left to conquer at the hallowed “Brickyard.”

Except, maybe, we can dream, one day, of him running that 500-miler around IMS in May.

His brother, Kurt, did it to national acclaim and a heck of a lot of headlines in 2014 – Kurt Busch finished sixth and was that year’s Indianapolis 500 Rookie-of-the-Year for Andretti Autosport before jetting to Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600.

But while Kyle Busch’s name has been brought up in rumors about running the Indianapolis 500 before, he didn’t seem entirely interested in running the ‘500 just because his brother did.

“Well, I won’t be following in his footsteps.  I’ll be doing my own footsteps,” Kyle Busch told reporters during his post-victory press conference.

“It certainly may open up some avenues.  I’m not sure.  But there’s some people out there that have expressed some interest to me, so we’ll see where things kind of go.

“But obviously my focus is on the Sprint Cup Series and what I’m doing here, and being able to win races with M&M’s and Skittles, Interstate Batteries and NOS Energy Drink on the XFINITY side, too.

“So I’m having fun with what I’m doing right now, and we’ll see if something is able to line up then there’s a possibility, but I probably wouldn’t put too good a chances on that.”

However, that doesn’t mean we should rule it out entirely.

NBC Sports’ Nate Ryan spoke to Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing crew chief, Adam Stevens, who tossed out an intriguing idea of his own – a “crew chief” double after Busch’s Brickyard win.

“I would like to do the crew chief ‘Double,’ ” Stevens told NBC Sports. “Is there such a thing? That’s great. If he wants to do that, I’m all for it.”

MORE: Kyle Busch might have some NASCAR company for an Indianapolis 500 run

Busch has enjoyed a period of NASCAR dominance, and he’s right in that he isn’t following in brother Kurt’s footsteps.

Kurt’s stretched his legs with runs in IndyCar, a Champ Car test, a GRAND-AM Daytona Prototype, an NHRA Pro Stock car and an Australian V8 Supercar test over his career.

In his career, Kyle Busch has stuck almost exclusively to NASCAR – and made a living of cleaning up the competition in the process.

Both are among the most talented drivers of their generation, and since Kurt Busch did so well in his maiden Indianapolis 500 bow, we can only dream how well Kyle Busch could do if the stars aligned to ever make it happen.

Kurt Busch turns hot laps in F1-like ride at Abu Dhabi before heading to Sonoma

(Photo courtesy Monster Energy official Twitter page)
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At the rate he’s going, it won’t be long before Kurt Busch runs out of things to check off his bucket list. He certainly checked off quite a few this past week.

During the Sprint Cup off-weekend, Busch visited Lithuania, and then traveled to take in the European Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan.

While there, he had the opportunity to sit in a Haas F1 Team race car. Team owner Gene Haas, who also owns the team Busch drives for in NASCAR, has promised Busch he’ll get a chance to one day drive an F1 car provided one thing: he wins the Sprint Cup championship again.

For now, just sitting in the car was a thrill in-and-of itself.

MORE: Kurt Busch gets acquainted with Haas F1 car in Baku

And then on Tuesday, while heading back to the United States for this weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway, Busch took a detour to climb behind the wheel of a GP2 style car – similar, but smaller and less powerful compared to an F1 car – and ran a number of hot laps at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The predecessor to GP2 was the Formula 3000 series, which ran until 2004.

The track, which is the site of the season-ending F1 race, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Nov. 27, refers to the driving experience as Formula Yas 3000. Here’s a video of what Busch went through on Tuesday.

Here’s a number of tweets Busch posted during his excellent overseas adventure:

The Abu Dhabi experience came just after his run in Baku, more tweets of which you can see below.

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