NBC Sports presents “Kurt Busch: 36” on June 8th

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Credit: NBC Sports

NBC Sports announced today that it will present an all-access look into the intense preparation, 200+ MPH competition and extreme logistics surrounding Kurt Busch’s upcoming attempt to win IndyCar’s famed Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.

The 30-minute special, featuring in-depth interviews, on-track footage, team communications and a seat right next to Busch throughout his races against drivers from two elite series, pulsating travel conditions and the limits of his own endurance, will debut on Sunday, June 8, at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

A 60-minute “director’s cut” of KURT BUSCH: 36 will air the following day, Monday, June 9, at 11 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

NBC Sports’ Emmy Award-winning NASCAR production team, led by Executive Producer Sam Flood, teams with the Emmy Award-winning NASCAR Productions to create KURT BUSCH: 36. The program furthers NBCSN’s successful line of “:36” documentaries that chronicle the 36 hours that cover the lead-up, completion and aftermath of a major sporting event. KURT BUSCH: 36 takes the series to another level as it encapsulates two races.

“This attempt at ‘The Double’ ranks among the most unique undertakings in all of sports, because it involves so many factors and storylines, each of which will play out over the course of two iconic races,” said Flood. “We’re looking forward to chronicling the drama and excitement that will build throughout Kurt’s attempt at history.”

The special marks another NASCAR-related programming highlight for NBC Sports Group since reaching an agreement for NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series racing last July. NBCSN launched its daily 5:00 p.m. ET motorsports show, NASCAR AMERICA, in February following the 2014 DAYTONA 500 and coverage of the Sochi Olympics.

“Kurt Busch’s attempt at ‘The Double’ is a challenging endeavor that speaks to the highly competitive spirit of NASCAR drivers,” said Tally Hair, Managing Director, NASCAR Productions. “The special will provide fans with an exclusive, up-close-and-personal look into what will be a grueling but amazing story for Kurt Busch and the racing world.”

Busch, a 25-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner, is currently training to become just the fourth driver to attempt “The Double” by racing in both IndyCar’s Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. This is a feat so grueling that only 3-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart has ever successfully completed all 1100 miles.  No driver attempting to race “The Double” has ever won either event on the day of the attempt.

Busch confirmed that he will drive a Dallara-Honda fielded by Andretti Autosport at Indy on May 25. Upon completion of the Indianapolis 500, Busch then immediately flies approximately 430 miles to Charlotte, N.C. to fulfill his full-time job of driving the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in NASCAR’s longest race of the year.

Robert Wickens in the Indy 500? Bryan Herta making plans to field a car for next year

Robert Wickens Indy 500
Brett Farmer/LAT Images/IMSA
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Bryan Herta wants to enter Robert Wickens in the Indy 500 as early as 2024 – a year longer than preferred as work continues on the hand controls needed for the paralyzed driver.

Wickens suffered a spinal cord injury in a crash at Pocono Raceway in his 2018 IndyCar rookie season. He’s worked as a driver coach for the Arrow McLaren IndyCar team since, but last year with Bryan Herta Autosport and Hyundai returned to racing in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.

The 33-year-old Canadian won a pair of races (including the season opener at Daytona) driving a Hyundai Elantra N-TCR that is fitted for Wickens to race strictly through hand controls. Herta said Thursday that perfecting that technology for an Indy car in the biggest race in the world has slowed the project he’s determined to do with Wickens.

‘I’M AS HUNGRY AS EVER’: Robert Wickens’ return to racing

“I’d love to take Robbie back to Indy because I know he could do that and I think that would be a next step for him in his journey,” Herta told The Associated Press. “We’ve spent a lot of time looking at the logistical side of things, hand controls, and I think we have solutions for that.”

Herta said Honda has been supportive of the process, which Herta called “one of the most important things we’ve done in racing” last year.

“We actually looked at doing it this year, but the logistics of it, the timing, it just wasn’t enough,” Herta said. “That’s not something you can rush. There’s some things that we have to work very closely with IndyCar on and things we just have to get right. It’s a process, but I can see a path to it.”

Wickens, when told his boss was openly discussing the Indy 500, grinned widely. Herta as a team owner won the Indianapolis 500 with Dan Wheldon and Alexander Rossi.

“That’d be fun,” he said of running the Indy 500.

But like Herta, Wickens said the effort has to be both done correctly and be competitive.

“We’d like to do it right. If we started right now, can we get a car ready for the open test in April? Probably,” Wickens told The AP. “But I don’t know where the systems would be and I want to get on proper simulators to make sure its correct.

“We all want to do a proper, professional effort,” he added. “I don’t want to do it for a marketing campaign. I want to do it for a chance to win.”

Wickens in 2021 did a demonstration in Canada that marketed advancements for paralyzed drivers and gave him a chance to again drive. His entire life had been upended 14 races into his rookie IndyCar season, just three months after winning top rookie honors at the Indianapolis 500.

Wickens has since married, returned to racing last year and welcomed the birth of his first child, an son named Wesley whom is infatuated with both race cars and the trip to Disney he took this week during the off days at Daytona International Speedway.

Wickens, who uses a wheelchair but can stand with some support, marks a full year back racing on Friday in the season-opening IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race. Despite success last season, Herta made changes to his lineups and Wickens this year will be teamed with Harry Gottsacker.