Kurt Busch: Indy 500 return is “something we haven’t talked about”

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Last May, former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch finished sixth in a fine first appearance at the Indianapolis 500.

But today in Charlotte during the NASCAR Media Tour, Busch said that a second attempt at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing – and with that, a second attempt at The Double of the “500” and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day – has not been discussed by him and team owners Tony Stewart and Michael Andretti.

“It’s nice to have Tony Stewart’s blessing to run Indy, and Michael Andretti giving me the access to come back to give it a shot, but it’s something we haven’t talked about,” Busch said during this afternoon’s presser for Stewart-Haas Racing.

“There’s been plenty of other things in this offseason to stay focused on.”

That’s certainly true for Busch, who is not only preparing for the 2015 season with new crew chief Tony Gibson but was involved recently in a courtroom hearing based on alleged assault charges from his ex-girlfriend.

As for Andretti, who fielded Busch’s Verizon IndyCar Series machine at last year’s “500,” he told FoxSports.com earlier this month that while Andretti Autosport’s main focus is on fielding a fourth car for the 2015 IndyCar season, there was still a chance for something to come together with Busch for the Month of May.

“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,” Andretti said in that interview. “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.”

Busch’s ride with Andretti for last year’s “500” was not announced until March, a little less than three months before the race. Going off of that, there’s still time for another deal to emerge this year – but obviously, that time is ticking away.

After finishing sixth in the “500,” Busch was whisked away to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600. His bid to join teammate/boss Stewart as the only drivers to complete all 1,100 miles of the Double ended with engine failure on his No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet at Lap 274 of 400 – less than 200 miles from that mark.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.