INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Kurt Busch commanded his driver to step on the gas before the UPS truck sped away. Inside, he was hoping for a package from Italy holding the $2,495 firesuit he’ll need for his latest — and wildest — racing endeavor.
He tailed the truck, zipping around left- and right-hand corners like a road course race in a quiet development near his Maryland home. They cornered it, but the package wasn’t there. Busch pursed his lips in frustration.
He’d have to wait.
On his days away from the track, Busch still can’t escape a spirited race, even without a checkered flag on the line. But it’s his urge to race, to win, that makes Busch believe — sometimes to his detriment — that he can take on any endeavor in auto racing.
Even The Double.
On Memorial Day weekend, one of NASCAR’s bad boys is trying to own the title of baddest man on the track by pulling off racing’s version of an IronMan triathlon. In a single day, he’ll try to race in the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600, with a race or two against the clock thrown in.
To do it, he’s changing his body, calming his emotions and trying to live his life as a family man, not a wild child.
Finish 1,100 miles and Busch will prove, despite his warts and flaws, he’s still one of the most talented race car drivers in the world. And the sponsors and fans and big teams who dumped him over the past few years be damned: He’s still Kurt Freakin’ Busch.
When the package arrived hours later, Busch eagerly sliced open the box in his kitchen, pulled out the black suit with two red vertical stripes and his new sponsor’s name emblazoned across the chest, and beamed as he held up the uniform he needed for his moonlighting gig. With the racing world watching, he’s ready for the chance.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the feat. Just one — Tony Stewart, considered one of the most proficient drivers in racing — has completed both races.
Only John Andretti, Stewart and Robby Gordon have attempted The Double, and no driver has tried since Gordon in 2004.
There’s a reason the feat is rare: Anything can derail it. A rain delay. Traffic getting to the airport. Flight problems due to bad weather.
Busch will race for roughly three hours in Indianapolis in the No. 26 Suretone Honda for Andretti Autosport. He’ll have only about 2
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.