Leeds, Ala – We may be in NASCAR country this weekend for the annual Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, but that in turn is a great bonus for some comments made on Friday morning. The Barber Motorsports Park, the site of this weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series race, is just 45 minutes west of the Talladega Superspeedway. But, a NASCAR driver, most notably this year’s Daytona 500 champion, as well as a driver who finished sixth in the 2014 Indianapolis 500, made some interesting comments 363 miles to the northeast of here.
Kurt Busch said in his morning media availability at the Bristol Motor Speedway that IndyCar driver Marco Andretti should try a Cup race. Busch said, “I would love to see Marco Andretti come and run at Daytona,” per NASCAR reporters Dustin Long and Chris Knight who are on site at Bristol this weekend for NBC Sports and Catchfence.com. He notes that Marco is very good in the draft and in fact “loves the draft.”
The reason Busch made those comments is from experience. He was a teammate to Marco’s at Indy in 2014. Busch and Andretti got along great and have been friends ever since. Marco, was a key part in Busch’s learning experience at Indy and is known within the Andretti Autosport team as one of the best drafters and best in a tow. That’s why he’s consistently asked each May to set up/trim out their stable of cars for practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
But, back down here, a mere 5 1/2-hours away from Bristol, Andretti responded by tweeting “Sign me up.”
Busch wasn’t insisting that Marco leave IndyCar and join NASCAR full-time, so don’t get all riled up about this. He was just saying that he thinks Marco would do good at a track like Daytona, and I agree with that.
Al Unser Jr. ran the Daytona 500 in 1993, and that is after he won the 1992 Indianapolis 500. Unser, ran for Hendrick Motorsports and finished 36th after starting 40th.
Marco’s grandpa, Mario Andretti, made three Daytona 500 starts, even winning the race in 1967. He also finished 37th in 1966 and 29th in 1968. He did this before obviously winning the 1969 Indy 500.
So, Andretti running at Daytona isn’t anything out of left field. With IndyCar not starting their season until March, him showing up for Speedweeks next February in an ARCA then XFINITY Series seat isn’t too far fetched. Then, if he wanted to run the 2019 Daytona 500, it’s all fair game.
He would feel right at home if he is in a Stewart-Haas Racing car too. He’d have Busch and Danica Patrick to lean on as well as friend Tony Stewart too. This isn’t a bad idea and could work with some cross promotion.