Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Doing The Double

Kurt's IndyCar, as well as the proper facial expression once realizing you have to deal with Kurt Busch

This Sunday Kurt Busch will attempt to "Do the Double"--racing 1,100 miles in less than 24 hours by running the Indy 500 and the Coke 600 in the same day.  Kurt's the latest to attempt this impressive feat--here's a history (and here's the main source):

Davy Jones press conference
1994: John Andretti becomes the first driver to compete in the Indy 500 & Coca-Cola 600 in the same day.  John runs a respectable 10th at Indy and a typical (well, for John Andretti) 36th in Charlotte with mechanical issues.  Arguably the most-memorable moment from this historic day was Kenny Wallace, working as a pit reporter for TBS, starting his interview by calling John "Jeff".

1995: Davy Jones attempts The Double, but fails to qualify in Charlotte in the Jasper Motorsports "race car".

1997: Robby Gordon attempts The Double, only to be thwarted by weather issues at Indy.  After crashing out at Charlotte Sunday Night, he returned to Indy, only to have the race rained out again on Monday.  After restarting on Tuesday, Gordon crashed AGAIN, suffered burns, and was forced to miss a number of Cup races.  The moral of the story?  God hates Robby Gordon.

A familiar sight in 1997
1999: Tony Stewart, in his first Cup season, has the best run to-date for any driver Doing The Double.  After a 9th-place finish at Indy, he came home 4th in Charlotte.  The second race of the doubleheader was a challenge, as Stewart became lightheaded during the latter stages of the race due to fatigue (he was even fed Powerbars during a late pit-stop).  Terrified at nearly crashing due to hunger, Stewart vows to never go hungry again.

2000: Robby Gordon becomes the first driver to attempt Doing the Double a second time, only to have his plans complicated by weather yet again.  A three-hour rain delay at Indy keeps Robby in Indiana past the start-time of the Coke 600, although he did manage a strong 6th-place finish in the 500.  Meanwhile, in Charlotte, P.J. Jones started the Gordon car, with Robby eventually subbing in before finishing 35th.  The moral of the story?  God still hates Robby Gordon.

I'm guessing that Smoke uses
his IRL trophies as doorstops
2001: Tony Stewart puts together the most-successful Double in history, competing for the win in both races.  After a 6th-place finish at Indy (and leading 13 laps), Smoke came home 3rd in Charlotte, becoming the first driver to actually complete all 1,100 miles.  Stewart's feat is not expected to be topped until John Wes Townley comes to Cup, in which case a late spin-out in a 34th-place Zaxby's car will bring out a Green-White-Checkered finish.

2002: Robby Gordon becomes the first driver to Do The Double for a third time.  After an 8th-place finish at Indy, Gordon battles issues both mechanical (handling) and physical (cramping) to come home 16th.  The moral of the story?  Maybe God just hates Robby Gordon's legs.

2003: Robby Gordon is the first driver to Do The Double four times, but has a typical Robby Gordon day (that is to say, disappointing).  Gordon has mechanical issues at Indy, coming home 22nd, then ran 17th in a rain-shortened race at Charlotte.  The moral of the story?  OK, maybe God's hatred had switched to Robby Gordon's cars by now.

"I'm worried I won't be dull enough
on the radio this year"
2004: Again, Robby Gordon makes history as the first driver to attempt Doing The Double five times.  In a reversal of 2000's weather issues, Gordon forgoes a rain-delayed Indy 500, forcing Jaques Lazier to run the car instead.  In the 600, Gordon has a mediocre day, finishing 20th.  The Gordon/Lazier IndyCar effort is officially listed as 29th--Lazier OUT (Axle/God's Will).

2014: After a Double-less decade (mostly due to scheduling issues), Kurt Busch revives the tradition of Doing The Double, attempting the Indy 500 and Coke 600 on Memorial Day Sunday.  Uniquely, this attempt combines aspects of the three previous "Doublers"--Kurt's IndyCar team is owned by Michael Andretti (John's Cousin), Kurt's Nascar team is co-owned by Tony Stewart, and Kurt's personality is patterned after Robby Gordon's.