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Marco Andretti to drive in Daytona 500? Kurt Busch would love to see it

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Kurt Busch said Friday that would love to see a former teammate get a ride for the Daytona 500.

Then, just a few hours later, that same former teammate went out and recorded the fastest speed in Friday’s IndyCar practice session at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

Coincidence?

Busch wants to see Marco Andretti – who was his teammate in the 2014 Indianapolis 500 when Busch finished an impressive sixth-place – to try his luck at Daytona in a NASCAR Cup car.

“I’d love to see a guy like Marco come and run Daytona,” Busch said during Friday morning’s media availability at Bristol Motor Speedway. “I think that would be a huge event for him, for our sport.

Kurt Busch at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 2014 Indy 500. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

“It’s tough for our cars though because they’re so big and they’re so heavy. They move around so much so go to a track that either A, what you’re used to, which is a road course, or, B, where the driver has the least amount to have to learn or to conquer or to – I guess the key word is master.

“I can’t master an Indy car in one race. Fernanado Alonso has a better chance of doing that. Alexander Rossi, the kid won the Indy 500 last year. Did he master the car? No. But he mastered enough of the certain sequences it takes, and I think Marco would do real well at a Daytona-style track because he loves the draft and he loves to be around other cars. That’s what I would think would work the best.”

If the younger Andretti does race at Daytona, he’d follow in the footsteps of legendary grandfather Mario, who won the 1967 Daytona 500, the elder Andretti’s one and only career win in NASCAR competition.

As for Alonso, Busch was asked about the news that the two-time F1 champ will race in this year’s Indy 500.

“I don’t have much advice for a Formula 1 world champion,” Busch said. “I think he’ll be perfect for the situation. I think he’ll do really well, he’s a racer, he gets it.

“It’s a perfect time in his career to make the attempt at the Indy 500 without having any other oval type experience that we know of. He’ll prepare well. I saw that there was a test session for May 3, which is more like a rookie orientation, and the Andretti group will do a fantastic job for him.

“They treated me really well with a respect of my background.  They’ll do that with his and the thing that blew me away still, and I guess that would be my advice to Alonso, it’s hard to prepare but for the month of May and the amount of times you’re on track, grandstands are empty, and then you come out there Sunday morning and you feel the Indiana natives’ respect for their track and it’s their world stage that they’re standing on for the day.

“It’s impressive to be there on Memorial Day Sunday at Indianapolis. That would be my advice. It’s hard to get used to that amount of people and the amount of pageantry and the celebration that’s going on Sunday morning.”

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March 29 in Motorsports History: Scott Dixon wins first race after reunification

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Reunited and it felt so good.

That’s what drivers likely thought before the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

For the first time since 1995, major-league open-wheel racing in the United States was under the banner of a sole sanctioning body as Champ Car and the Indy Racing Leauge had reunified just a month prior.

Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead. Photo: Jim Hines/IndyCar.

The first race after reunification also saw a reversal of fortunes for Scott Dixon, who won the race after losing the 2007 IRL championship in crushing fashion.

In the 2007 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, Dixon ran out of fuel while leading on the final lap of the race. The race victory – and championship – went to Dixon’s future teammate, Dario Franchitti.

But the tides turned for Dixon nearly seven months later, and the Kiwi was able to win with the help of another driver’s misfortune.

Tony Kanaan was leading with seven laps remaining when E.J. Viso spun and made contact with Kanaan’s car. Kanaan remained on track through the caution period despite suffering obvious damage to his right front suspension.

On the final restart with three laps remaining, Dixon and others cars easily passed Kanaan’s wounded car on the outside. Dixon then maintained his lead through the checkered flag to win at Homestead for the second time in his career.

“I think Marco (Andretti) and T.K. probably had a little bit better cars today, but we came through with the win, and that’s what counts,” Dixon told ESPN after his 12th career victory.

Following his victory at Homestead, Dixon continued to redeem himself through the course of the 2008 season. In May, he won the Indianapolis 500 for the first (and so far only) time. Following Indy, he went on to win four more times in 2008 and won his second series championship.

Also on this date:

1998: Mika Hakkinen won the Grand Prix of Brazil, the first of eight victories in his first championship season.

2010: Will Power won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which was held on a Monday morning because of rain postponing the race on Sunday.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter