NASCAR drivers at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend are buzzing about two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso attempting the Indianapolis 500 next month.
“I love his (Alonso’s) tenacity,” said seven-time Monster Energy Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson. “I’m shocked to see that he is going to able to pull it off and eager to see how he does. I think we all wonder how different drivers would fare in different series and I think it will be very cool to watch.”
Over the years, there have been plenty of NASCAR drivers who’ve also raced in the Indianapolis 500 and vice-versa. Here are 15 drivers who’ve done double-duty in NASCAR and the Indy 500.
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‘Super Tex’ was the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 four times and he won seven NASCAR premier series races, including the 1972 Daytona 500.
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In 2013, Allmendinger drove one of Roger Penske’s cars to a seventh-place finish in the Indy 500. He won his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race last year at Watkins Glen International.
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In 1980, Richmond won rookie-of-the year honors in the Indy 500 after a ninth-place finish. He would go on to win 13 NASCAR Premier Series races before his untimely death in 1989.
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The versatile Gordon attempted the Indianapolis 500-Coca-Cola 600 double a record five times. His best result came in 2002, when he came up just one lap short of completing the entire 1,100-mile distance.
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Quite a resume here: Andretti is the only driver in history to win the Daytona 500 (1967), the Indianapolis 500 (1969) and the Formula One World Driving Championship (1978).
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The NASCAR Hall of Fame driver won 85 races in the NASCAR Premier Series and drove for Roger Penske in the Indianapolis 500 in 1973 and ’75.
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In 2001 Stewart finished sixth in the Indianapolis 500 and third in the Coca-Cola 600. He remains the only driver to run all 1,100 miles in both races on the same day. He also did the double in 1999.
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The son of Aldo Andretti, Mario’s brother, John Andretti finished 10th in the 1994 Indianapolis 500 but lost an engine in the Coca-Cola 600 that night.
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In a remarkable performance, Busch finished sixth in the 2014 Indianapolis 500, which was his first open-wheel race of any kind. Unfortunately, he lost an engine in the Coca-Cola 600 that night.
Busch is bullish on Alonso’s prospects. “I think he’ll be perfect for the situation,” Busch said of Alonso. “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.”
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Juan Pablo Montoya
The expatriate Colombian driver won the 2000 Indianapolis 500 and should have won the 2009 Brickyard 400 but was caught speeding on pit road.
Sam Hornish Jr.
A three-time champion in the Verizon IndyCar Series and now a driver for Richard Petty Motorsports, Hornish passed Marco Andretti near the start-finish line in 2006 to win one of the most thrilling Indianapolis 500s ever.
Although his NASCAR career was one-and-done in 2008, Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500 three times and was famously married to Ashley Judd. Not a bad record at all.
In 2005, Patrick made international headlines by qualifying fourth and finishing fourth in the Indianapolis 500. Her most notable accomplishment to date in NASCAR is winning the 2013 Daytona 500 pole.
The original road-course ringer, Gurney dominated the NASCAR action on the old Riverside road course, where he won five times. In the Indianapolis 500, he finished second in 1968-69 and third in ’70.
In 1970, Allison won the world 600 and finished fourth in the Indianapolis 500, the best combination finish ever. But that year, the races were run on different weekends.