Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fast Facts: "The Double"

credits: NASCAR Media
When he starts the 2014 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25, Kurt Busch will become the fourth driver to qualify for “the double,” also referred to as “double duty” – racing in both the Indy 500 and the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This week in Fast Facts, take a look at the history of “the double” and the other drivers who have attempted “double duty” – and which one completed the feat.
  • Since 1993, the Indy 500 and the Coca Cola 600 have been scheduled on the same day, but in 1994, the timing changed – with Indy starting around noon ET and Charlotte at 6 p.m. ET – making “the double” possible. From 2005 to 2010, the start time for the Indy 500 was moved back to 1 p.m. ET, limiting the time frame needed for “the double.” The start time returned to noon ET in 2011, reopening the door for “the double.”
  • John Andretti, who comes from a long line of open-wheel racers (uncle Mario, cousins Michael and Jeff, and Michael’s son Marco), was the first driver to attempt “double duty” in 1994, finishing 10th at Indy and 36th at Charlotte after mechanical problems. It was Andretti’s only attempt at “the double,” but he did return to Indy from 2009-2011 with the help of his former NASCAR team owner Richard Petty.
  • Robby Gordon has participated in “double duty” four times in his career, in 1997 and 2002-2004; he also attempted “the double” in 2000, but was unable to return to Charlotte in time to start the Coca Cola 600. Gordon had a best finish of 8th place in the 2002 Indy 500, finishing 16th, one lap down, in the Coca Cola 600 the same night – his best combined finish in “double duty,” completing all but one lap on the day.
  • Tony Stewart, the 1997 Indy Racing League champion, participated in “the double” twice – in 1999 and 2001. He recorded top 10s at Indy both years, and top fives at Charlotte. He came up four laps short of completing “the double” in 1999, but in 2001 he became the only driver to successfully complete “double duty,” completing all 1,100 miles with finishes of sixth at Indy and third at Charlotte.
  • Open-wheel driver Davy Jones attempted “the double” in 1995, qualifying for the Indy 500 but failing to qualify in Charlotte.
  • Fuel man Danny “Chocolate” Myers, popular pit crew member for Dale Earnhardt at Richard Childress Racing, worked on crews in both the Indy 500 and Coca Cola 600 in 1998 – AJ Foyt Racing and driver Billy Boat at Indy and RCR and Earnhardt at Charlotte.
  • Follow the progress of Kurt Busch’s attempt at the website www.kurtbuschdouble.com

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