Monday, 27 January 2020

Indy 500: Kyle Busch to Team Penske in 2020? – Beyond the Flag

Indy 500: Kyle Busch to Team Penske in 2020? – Beyond the Flag
12 Jan

Kyle Busch can compete in the 2020 Indy 500, but only for a Chevrolet team. Could that team be Team Penske? We already know the answer to that question.

Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch has officially been given approval to seek a ride to compete in the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 this May.

Busch has, on several occasions, stated that he is interested in attempting the Memorial Day Double, first by competing in the Indy 500 and then flying down to Charlotte Motor Speedway to compete in the Coca-Cola 600 Cup Series race later that night. Only four drivers have ever done it, the most recent of whom being brother Kurt in 2014.

Busch’s new contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, which he signed last February, allows him to compete in this May’s 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in Speedway, Indiana, although his ties to Toyota limit him to only competing for a Chevrolet team.

As a Toyota driver, the 34-year-old Las Vegas, Nevada native does compete against Chevrolet drivers and teams in the Cup Series, but his only other option on the Indy 500 grid would be Honda, and it goes without saying that Toyota wouldn’t want him behind the wheel of a Honda in anything.

As a result, Busch’s options are limited to seven teams: A.J. Foyt Enterprises, Arrow McLaren SP, Carlin, DragonSpeed, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Ed Carpenter Racing and Team Penske.

By far the most attractive option of these is one of the four full-time teams: Team Penske.

In fact, they are the only Chevrolet team with a win since the 2016 season, and they have collected 25 victories in the 51 races that have been contested since the start of the 2017 campaign.

But is this even an option?

Absolutely not.

And to their credit, Team Penske put a resounding end to this rumor before it could really even get started.

According to RACER, team president Tim Cindric has stated that there is a “zero percent chance” of Busch ending up behind the wheel of what would be a fifth Team Penske Chevrolet in this race.

Already slated to compete for Roger Penske’s team in this race are full-time drivers Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power along with part-time driver Helio Castroneves, matching their lineup from 2018 and 2019 after they moved from four full-time cars to three and five to four for the Indy 500.

They clearly have no intention to change that in the near future, and that was indicated last summer, so the recent confirmation of a 20th Indy 500 bid for Castroneves — and an 11th attempt to go for what would be a record-tying fourth win — effectively ruled out Busch from the get-go.

Next: Top 10 Indianapolis 500 drivers of all-time

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With Team Penske out of the picture, with which Chevrolet-powered IndyCar team will Kyle Busch compete if he does manage to put together a ride for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 this May? The race is scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 24, and NBC is set to broadcast it live from Indianapolis Motor Speedway beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET.



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