Kurt Busch suggested he isn’t ready to race in the Indianapolis 500 after his test Thursday with Andretti Autosport, but he showed he’s not too far off.
Busch completed all three phases of rookie orientation at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and is eligible to compete in this year’s event if he chose.
Busch dismissed the notion of running this year’s Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day.
“It’s very difficult to run at your peak performance for the Coca-Cola 600,’’ Busch said. “A driver can race here at Indianapolis, to give a full 500 miles that needs to be the end of his day. To run 600 miles after that, you’ve go to pace yourself. I honestly think that I really wouldn’t be able to do it this year just with stamina. I need to get more comfortable in the IndyCar because a day like today, I’m white-knuckled, my hands were tense and firm and that was only after 10 laps.
“There’s the mental side, the physical side, there’s the sponsorship side that has to come together. Michael (Andretti)wants to do it but they’ve already got five cars committed to trying to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 this year.
“I think the proper thing is to go out and experience this car at another oval track and get into a race and experience what the buffeting is and the movement of the car when all the downforce changes.’’
Busch ran 83 laps Thursday with a top lap of 218.210 mph in defending series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay’s car.
“The day went as good as we could have expected,’’ Andretti said. “He just drove exactly the way we wanted him to do it.’’
Busch and Andretti both are represented by John Caponigro, but their connections go deeper. Andretti said that they had conversations when Andretti considered starting a NASCAR team last year before he was unable to find enough sponsorship.
“When John came to me about this idea, I thought, yeah, let’s figure out how to make this work,’’ Andretti said.