It’s already becoming the “will he, won’t he” saga of the run up to this year’s Indianapolis 500. “It” is Kurt Busch’s participation.
The “will he” part is, as it was a couple weeks ago, still hovering at the 70 percent mark. He expanded on this at NASCAR Media Day in Daytona on Thursday, and said there were more potential teams in the frame than Andretti Autosport, with whom he completed Rookie Orientation in 2013.
“My forecast hasn’t changed from the other week when I said I was 70 percent sure that I would run the Indy 500 this year,” Busch said, via the Indianapolis Motor Speedway website. “I’m still confident in that forecast. If I were a weatherman, I’d say bring an umbrella.”
The new teams identified are Chip Ganassi Racing, KV Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing, which all carry one thing in common: the Chevrolet bow-tie.
Ganassi already has a four-car lineup but with the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship off between May 4 and May 31, it could have its sports car crew available to run a fifth car at the Speedway.
KV team co-owner Jimmy Vasser said earlier this week it would prefer to run a veteran driver in its third car for the ‘500, a car which is very likely to materialize.
“We probably wouldn’t consider a rookie,” Vasser said, leaving the door slightly ajar. “A guy or girl needs to be able to add to the program at Indianapolis. We don’t need to be dragging anything down. We need somebody that can lend a hand and be able to be a protagonist in the race.”
Carpenter’s team, since being founded ahead of the 2012 season, has never run a second car. It will have two drivers this year as Ed Carpenter (ovals) and Mike Conway (road/street courses) share the seat of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka entry.
Andretti’s squad, which had run Chevrolets the last two years, has shifted to Honda power in 2014.
Busch stays with Chevrolet in his new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014, after he moves over from Furniture Row Racing.
The manufacturer divide may be the stumbling block that prevents Busch’s participation. Or, alternatively, it could be something both sides work through, which would be for the benefit of all parties. Only time will tell.