Kurt Busch will test an IndyCar for Andretti Autosport, two days before opening practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Whether the test is a mere PR one-off or a sign of things to come – AJ Allmendinger has added IndyCar back to his plate this year after a seven-year hiatus – remains to be seen.
Busch was invited to test Ryan Hunter-Reay’s No. 1 DHL/Sun Drop Chevrolet, and may potentially have interest in doing the Memorial Day double of the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte down the road.
“I have always enjoyed racing at Indianapolis, and when IMS and Michael presented me with the opportunity to test an Indy car prior to opening day of practice of the Indianapolis 500, I jumped at it,” Busch said in a statement. “The Indianapolis 500 is an iconic event and having an opportunity to go through the testing process with Michael and Andretti Autosport, the defending series champions and two-time winners of the race, is pretty cool.”
Busch’s NASCAR career has taken a hit in the last couple years, after losing his ride at Penske Racing and driving first for Phoenix Racing and now Furniture Row Racing on the Sprint Cup side of things.
But he is versatile, having also driven an NHRA Pro Stock car and also tested a Champ Car for Bobby Rahal’s team in 2003.
Gabby Chaves to sub for Joao Barbosa at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.