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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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IndyCar entry lists for Harvest GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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There are 25 drivers on the NTT IndyCar Series entry lists at Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with a few new yet familiar faces for the Oct. 2-3 race weekend.

Four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais will make his season debut in the No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet (shifting Dalton Kellett to the No. 41) with AJ Foyt Racing, which he is joining full time next season. James Hinchcliffe, who had run three races with Andretti Autosport, will return in place of Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda. Helio Castroneves will drive Arrow McLaren SP’s No. 7 Dallara-Chevy for Oliver Askew, who is out with concussion-like symptoms.

Sage Karam, who has two IndyCar starts this year at IMS (the road course on July 4 and the Indy 500 on Aug. 23), also will return to the series in Dreyer & Reinbold’s No. 24 Dallara-Chevrolet.

HARVEST GP ENTRY LISTS: Friday l Saturday

Friday and Saturday of the Harvest GP presented by GMR will mark the second and third races this season on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. While the July 4 race on the circuit was 80 laps, Friday’s distance is 85 laps, and Saturday will be a 75-lap event.

Championship leader Scott Dixon led 26 of 80 laps to win the July 4 race at the IMS road course. With three races remaining in the series, the five-time series champion enters with a 72-point lead on Josef Newgarden.

Click here to see who’s on the IndyCar entry lists in Race 1 and in Race 2 for the Harvest GP presented by GMR at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.


START TIMES AND TV INFO FOR INDYCAR AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE (all times ET):

Thursday

IndyCar NTT Series practice: 2:25-3:40 p.m., NBC Sports Gold

IndyCar qualifying, Race 1: 6:20 p.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

Friday

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 1: 3:30 p.m. (green flag, 5 p.m.), USA Network, NBC Sports Gold

Saturday

—IndyCar qualifying: 10:20 a.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 2: 2:30 p.m (green flag, 2:31 p.m.)., NBC, NBC Sports Gold