VICS: NASCAR-Indy 500 Ties


Although the daily double will technically not be achieved today when Jeff Gordon leads the field in the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 pace car to the green flag in today’s Indianapolis 500-mile race, there are several NASCAR drivers past and present who have driven in or been present at the Speedway in recent years for the day. Last year, Team Penske NASCAR Sprint Cup regular Brad Keselowski attended the early stages of the race before departing for Charlotte Motor Speedway in time for the World 600 event later in the evening. These two however, are not the only drivers with ties to NASCAR and the Indy 500.

-2000 Indy 500 champion Juan Pablo Montoya is of course, the only former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular to be competing in today’s race, starting 15th.

-Kurt Busch participated in last year’s Indy 500, driving the Suretone Entertainment Honda for Andretti Autosport. He just missed out on the Firestone Fast Nine shootout and despite fading back early in the race, fought back in the second half to finish sixth and claim Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.

-People forget that Dario Franchitti tried his luck in the first half of the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season for Chip Ganassi Racing. He started ten events and claimed a best finish of 22nd at Martinsville. He of course won the Indy 500 three times prior to his retirement after the 2013 season.

-NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular AJ Allemendinger made the Indy 500 field in 2013 starting fifth, and finishing seventh after leading the race. His chances to win however, were dampened when he was forced to pit unscheduled while leading due to his seat belt and safety harness coming loose.

-Before his success in NASCAR, Tony Stewart was the first superstar in the history of the IndyCar Series (then known as the Indy Racing League). He won the championship in 1997 for the series, but never had the luck to challenge for victory in the Indy 500, his best result being a fifth in 1997.

-Robby Gordon nearly won the 1999 Indy 500 only to run out of fuel coming to the white flag and finishing fourth. Gordon, currently involved in the Stadium Super Trucks Series also won three times in NASCAR competition.

-John Andretti was the first driver to attempt the daily double running both the Indy 500 and World 600 NASCAR race in 1994. Andretti started in the 500 12 times, earning a best result of fifth in 1991, three spots behind his cousin Michael in the same event.

-Richard Petty never drove in the Indy 500, but he entered cars in conjunction with both Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Andretti Autosport during the last ten years. John Andretti piloted the No. 43 Window World sponsored cars in each of those three events.NAS

-Bobby Allison participated in two Indy 500s in 1973 and 1975 for Roger Penske, with whom he drove the infamous AMC Matador for in NASCAR for during the same period.

-Bobby’s brother Donnie however, may have been the most successful NASCAR regular driver in terms of trying his luck at the Indy 500. He earned Indy 500 rookie of the year honors in 1970 after placing fourth and backed it up in 1971 with a sixth place result.

-Several others NASCAR regulars: Bobby Johns, Marshall Teague, among others all the made the 500 with limited success, while others such as Ken Schrader, Neil Bonnett, etc. attempted, but failed to qualify for the field.

Stay tuned to Rubbings Racing for continued news and updates throughout the day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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About Matt Embury

Matt Embury is the Senior SportsCar Writer at Rubbings Racing and can be followed on Twitter (@MattEmbury) for the latest sports car news and opinions. A native of Mishawaka, Indiana, he has been following sports car racing for nearly 20 years.

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