More possible suitors for a Kurt Busch Indy 500 run?

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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.

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

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Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.