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.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.