LAS VEGAS — Running the Indianapolis 500/Coca-Cola 600 double, which Kurt Busch will do May 25, is fraught with complications, not the least of which is travel between Indianapolis and Charlotte.
There’s a tight window between the checkered flag at Indy and the green flag at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and that window could narrow considerably should Busch happen to win the 500 in his first attempt.
“I’d love to have that problem,” Busch said Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “The vision that I had if I had that problem, to win Indianapolis… now keep in mind, I have zero experience in an Indy car, and this will be the toughest challenge, especially when they drop the green flag…
“Let’s say it does happen. There will be the quick celebration in Victory Lane with the Borg-Warner [Trophy], the chug of milk of course, and that big wreath. I can’t wait to hand that to (Andretti Autosport team owner) Michael Andretti, so he can wear it, and he can handle all the media while I’ve got to run down to Charlotte.”
Can Busch win? The driver of the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cited his own experience when answering that question.
“I remember my first Nationwide Series race — because I went straight from Trucks to Cup,” Busch said. “And I didn’t do Nationwide until 2006, and I had years on the Cup circuit at that point. It was a whole new experience, driving those cars, feeling the setup, the practice sequences and even how they drove in traffic.
“At the time I was with Penske Racing. They had their Nationwide program scienced out pretty good. I ended up winning my first race in Nationwide (at Texas Motor Speedway). Maybe that’s the experience level I need to take into this Indy adventure. Sometimes you get that young, dumb luck. Maybe we’ll bump into that.”
NO ‘WRECKLESS’ DRIVING
Despite the new championship format in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, with a heavy emphasis on race wins, Richard Petty Motorsports driver Aric Almirola has reservations about taking a checkers-or-wreckers approach to the 2014 season.
Though a win all but guarantees a place in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, there’s still a possibility that a driver can qualify on points.
“If you win a race, you pretty much know you’ll be in the Chase, but at the same time you have to think about points,” Almirola said. “I want to win a race. That’s our number-one objective, but if we don’t and we’re the first or second guy in points that hasn’t won a race, you’re going be in the Chase. We can’t lose sight of that.
“We can’t just throw caution to the wind and either win or wreck every week. We have to be conscious about the points and be able to make the Chase, even if we don’t win a race. We fully anticipate to win a race, and I think we’re certainly capable of that, but we need to maximize how many points we get every weekend as well.”