Report: Michael Andretti wants Kurt Busch back for Indy 500

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Michael Andretti wants Kurt Busch back to drive in the 2015 Indianapolis 500.

According to a report on FoxSports.com, Andretti said the door is open for Busch to return for a second consecutive attempt at “The Double” on May 24: Racing in the 99th Indy 500 in the early afternoon and then competing in NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway that evening.

“I am a big supporter of Kurt and if we are able to put a deal together for him to run the Indianapolis 500 I will still run him,” Andretti told FOXSports.com. “He did a great job at the Indy 500 last year.

“Right now, our focus is on putting a fourth car together but there is still a possibility for something to come together for Indy. I would love to do it with Kurt Busch again. He was a pleasure to work with.”

Busch won Rookie of the Year honors in his first Indy 500 last May, finishing sixth in the so-called Greatest Spectacle In Racing.

His luck wasn’t as good in the NASCAR nightcap in Charlotte, where mechanical issues forced him out about two-thirds through the race, ultimately ending up with a 40th-place finish.

For now, Andretti isn’t letting Busch’s legal issues with former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll come into play in his decision to once again run the Las Vegas native in an Indy car.

The next hearing in the case is Jan. 12. It could be announced then whether Busch will face criminal charges stemming from an alleged domestic violence incident in his motorhome at Dover International Speedway last September.

Dover (Del.) police have completed their criminal investigation and forwarded their findings to the Delaware Attorney General to determine whether Busch will or will not face charges.

As for Andretti Autosport’s overall plans for the Indy 500:

“We want to have a fourth full-time car, that’s our goal,” Andretti told FoxSports.com. “We are working very hard to get to four cars.

“My ultimate goal is to run five cars for the full year but, if we don’t, we want to do a one-off at Indy at least and, if we can put something together with Kurt Busch, we would love to do it.

“He was a real professional and learned a lot to the point where I think he would be a real factor in the race if we put something together. He did a hell of a job last year without experience.

“Now, with one more year of experience, I think Kurt Busch could be a real factor in the Indianapolis 500 in 2015.”

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Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”