Indianapolis, IN- It’s becoming a perfect storm for the Izod IndyCar Series.
The racing is better than anywhere else in the world and the action is intense.
Also, parity is a reality as 10 different drivers have won the 16 races in 2013 and many underfunded teams are having the same amount of success as the upper echelon teams.
Another big thing coming is how good the Indianapolis 500 field could be in 2014.
The series wants to speed the cars up which is a good thing and there could be some HUGE names attempting to make the Field of 33 in May. If they can keep the racing how it was the past two years in May and have the speeds rise for qualifying then it’s already going to be big.
Add some big names like Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch, and Juan Pablo Montoya and you have the premier event in racing next season.
If you would have told me in May that those trio of drivers would be racing in the 2014 Indianapolis 500 I’d have called you crazy. But thanks to Michael Andretti, that dream is becoming a reality.
There’s no reason none of those three could be walking out of Gasoline Alley towards a ride in the pits on opening day. Busch looks to be as close to a done deal as you can get. He said in his media availability two weeks ago with Stewart/Haas Racing that new team owner for 2014 Tony Stewart gave him the okay to run the Indy 500 next May and to race at Fontana in the season finale this year.
He even went as far to say Stewart told him if he did run Fontana in October he’d come with him to watch.
Stewart got the ball rolling even further in his press conference today saying he’d give Busch and Patrick his blessing to run the double next May. He said he’d be willing to let both drivers race the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte on the same day.
With Busch having a great shot with Andretti and Patrick coming from Andretti to NASCAR there could be some sort of alliance between SHR and Andretti for the Month of May to bring both drivers over. It makes too much sense.
Then a few weeks ago Andretti said him and 2000 Indy 500 champion Montoya have had discussions about the Columbian joining the team full-time in ’14 since Montoya was losing his ride with Chip Ganassi on the NASCAR side after the year is up.
That too seems realistic as we could see a line-up of Montoya, Patrick and Busch with Andretti at Indy next May.
If that happens then I wouldn’t put it past old “Smoke” to hop in a car and make another attempt at the Indy 500. If two of his drivers are doing it why wouldn’t he do it himself. Afterall, Stewart has hinted he’d trade away his Brickyard 400 trophies and three Sprint Cup titles for an Indy 500 win.
He’s openly said the 500 means more to him than anyother race. He’s made five starts in the 500 with his last coming in 2001 where he started seventh and finished sixth. He has finishes of 24th, fifth, 33rd, ninth and sixth in his five starts and really wanted another shot at it.
With the ability to do both never really aligning until now he’s never had a chance to return.
Now he does.
After this recent injury he knows he’s not invincible anymore. If he really wants to try it one more time this is it. That window is shutting. I’m not saying this is going to happen and truly speculating here but why not?
If he does decide to try it out could you imagine Busch, Danica, Stewart and Montoya all back at Indy? That would be the largest crowd ever at a sporting event in the world.
Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports Writer for Race Review Online. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru
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