The Indianapolis 500 is arguably the most prestigious race in the world and has been around for more than 100 years. The Coca Cola 600 is the longest race in NASCAR and a career without a win in the 600 is considered incomplete by many. Both of these great events have been run on the same day, on Memorial Day weekend for a while now, and despite the $20 million that Bruton Smith promises to anyone who can win both on the same day, few have dared to try.
John Andretti, Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon have attempted the double in the past, but all failed to come away with a trophy in either event. Stewart came the closest when he finished 6th at Indy and 3rd in the 600. The double hasn’t been successfully done in a decade and the interest in attempting it has dropped significantly. In 2014, however, there are already three NASCAR drivers throwing their names in the hat and hoping to pull it off this year.
Kurt Busch, 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, expressed interest in running Indy last year and even completed his rookie orientation. He told Sporting News the other day that there’s a 70 percent chance that it will happen in 2014. The second driver is A.J. Allmendinger, who ran the Indy 500 last year (but not the Coke 600), and nearly won the thing. After leading 23 laps, an unscheduled pit stop relegated him to a 7th place finish.
Then there’s Kyle Larson, who is going to compete for ROTY in Cup this year and has extensive experience in open-wheel cars on dirt. His car owner is Chip Ganassi, who also owns a very strong Indycar team. Kyle said that he asked Chip if he could do it, but has yet to receive an answer.
If any of these drivers do indeed attempt the double, I could see any of them winning Indy, but Kurt would probably have the best chance to win both. We hear chatter of drivers wanting to do the double every year it seems, but nothing ever comes to fruition. With these three drivers though, there’s a very realistic chance that it could finally happen again.