INDIANAPOLIS— Kyle Busch was so close to being able to run the Indianapolis 500 this season. However, there had to be some convincing done before he could participate in the event.
Busch had to convince one of his two bosses before he could participate in the Indianapolis 500. That boss was Coach Joe Gibbs.
“I had it done last year, sold and everything, but I got a boss that said no,” said Busch.
Despite not being able to run the 500 this year, Busch hopes that one day he will be able to, but was glad he did not because of Fernando Alonso skipping the Formula One race in Monaco to participate in the 500.
“I had a great opportunity to do it. I am kinda glad that I didn’t because (Fernando) Alonso kinda stole the headlines the last time it was done,” said Busch. “In the future, there will be guys coming over to run that race. I may have to split the limelight with somebody else who wants to run that race. I think it would be fun and unique opportunity.”
The biggest concern for Coach Gibbs was the fact that Busch had never driven an IndyCar. “The biggest fear was not knowing what those cars would do if you get in a bad situation,” Busch stated about the concern.
In NASCAR, the three manufacturers are Toyota, Chevrolet, and Ford. In Indycar, drivers are limited to only Chevrolet and Honda. For Busch, his options are open.
“It would keep your options open for the engine manufacturer. Obviously next year with the aero platform, that’s going to change. To my understanding, with just engines being the culprit, not necessarily being an engine package anymore. Obviously, if Toyota was a third, I would be limited to that. It does kinda keep your options open,” said Busch about his options if he chose to run the Indy 500.
At the end of the day, Busch would not trade a Brickyard 400 win for a win in the Indianapolis 500. “I would like the opportunity to be able to earn it myself. If that day ever comes, we will see what happens.”
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— In an afternoon media availability with Toyota owners, Joe Gibbs was asked about the reports in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) concerning the issues within NASCAR Management. Coach Gibbs mentioned that he was interviewed for the article, but his quotes were not mentioned.
“I was interviewed for that article, and there wasn't one comment I made that was in that article, or there was no slant to anything in there,” said Gibbs.
Gibbs, as well as other owners on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series level, believe that the sport is in a great position, despite the reports.
“When I look at the sport, and I go back to 2006 when I ran the Super Bowl in Detroit. We were lucky to have 70,000 seats and to think about every weekend we have better than a Super Bowl 38 times. People need to take that into consideration, and then as you stack the media and the social media on top of that, I think the connection is amazing and with the disruption we’re gonna have now with these three different segments, certainly when we announce a sponsorship like Shell yesterday for seven years and you see Fed Ex, I think that there’s never been more competition on the race track. I think what we have to do as a group, the people in this room, we have to take a little different look at this,” said Penske.
Gibbs and Penske both mentioned the long-term commitments that Shell and FedEx announced this week to help validate their claims.
“We announced FedEx the other day, a new extension for them, a long‑term extension. There's three other sponsors that we also did that with our race team alone. We saw Shell come in and make a huge decision with Roger,” said Gibbs “We also have two new sponsors coming in that we can't announce right now that will probably be announced within the month, okay.’
The Wall Street Journal interviewed numerous executives within the sport, but did not include any portion of their interviews.
“My personal opinion. I just kind of felt like this thing was already going in a direction, and it was like when I was asked questions, it was, we're headed one direction, I don't care what you say. Now, maybe that's not fair and I know that, but I felt it. I felt that. I felt it personally. And I take it because this is all my family, J.D., Coy, all of us, all we do is race every day,” said Gibbs
Speedway Digest has reached out to Tripp Mickle and Valerie Baurlein, writers of the article, but have declined comment. However, The Wall Street Journal has talked to other media outlets stating they stand by the fair and accurate reporting from Mickle and Baurelin. Daytona International Speedway officials have confirmed that WSJ does not have a presence at the speedway during the weekends marquee event, the Daytona 500.