AJ Allmendinger, Kurt Busch differ on Indy 500 possibilities

While one Sprint Cup driver closed the door on crossing over to compete in the Indianapolis 500 -- at least for now -- another left the door wide open.

AJ Allmendinger (left) and Kurt Busch (right) both know what it is like to compete in both the Coca-Cola 600 in a stock car and in the Indianapolis 500 in an open-wheel car.

Two years ago, Kurt Busch sent waves throughout the motorsports world with an impressive sixth-place finish in the Indianapolis 500.

Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup champion, had never driven an Indy car before jumping behind the wheel of an Andretti Autosport entry at fabled 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Memorial Day weekend race.

Nor has he driven an Indy car since.

The only way I would do it is if they put in a closed cockpit over the car and tested it and they thought that was a good direction in safety. Then, I might think about doing it again.

 

AJ Allmendinger

But would Busch entertain the possibility of participating in this year's landmark 100th running of the world's most prestigious open-wheel race?

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver left the door wide open when faced with that query earlier this week at Daytona International Speedway, where he's getting ready for Sunday's 58th annual Daytona 500 -- a race he's never won.

"We're at Daytona and we're all focused on Daytona," Busch said. "I think once we get through Atlanta and that 'NASCAR Goes West Tour' [the consecutive races at Las Vegas, Phoenix and Fontana] that will give a better indication on whether I'm going to run Indy this year."

AJ Allmendinger, a former full-time IndyCar driver now competing full time in the Sprint Cup Series for JTG Daugherty Racing, was more emphatic about his plans.

Asked if he might consider running year's Indianapolis 500, "The Dinger" closed the door firmly shut, citing the 2015 death of IndyCar driver Justin Wilson -- a good friend and former IndyCar teammate of Allmendinger -- as the biggest factor in his lack of interest.

Wilson died in August from brain injuries suffered in an IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway when a large piece of debris flew up from the track and struck his helmet.

"The moment Justin Wilson passed away I said, 'Never again,'" said Allmendinger, who spent most of his previous open-wheel career in the now-defunct CART Series and therefore ran in only one Indianapolis 500 -- in 2013 for car owner Roger Penske, when he finished seventh. "The only way I would do it is if they put in a closed cockpit over the car and tested it and they thought that was a good direction in safety. Then, I might think about doing it again."

Play FOX Fantasy Auto and compete for weekly prizes!

 
 

Play FOX Fantasy Auto NASCAR Racing Game