Busch might be the next one to try it and has already has three advantages over anyone else who may try to become a late entry in the Indianapolis 500 field: He's already been fitted for a seat, he has passed his rookie test and he has an interested owner with cars that could be available once the first five qualify for the May 26 race.
"There's going to be a lot of swirling that goes on after day like today, after reaching 218 on your first day around this place," Busch said after posting a fast lap of 218.210 mph. "But that doesn't mean anything because I need more time."
Andretti acknowledged that's a possibility later this year, if Busch can work out the details with his Cup schedule.
The five-hour run Thursday couldn't have gone much smoother, a refreshing change for a driver who has a reputation for wrecking cars and getting angry. It was a warm, humid, overcast day — ideal conditions for Busch to get up to speed quickly. Andretti and two-time IndyCar winner James Hinchcliffe were both around to coach Busch, too. And there were no complaints on either side.
"I think he had a lot of fun today, and we had a lot of fun today," Andretti said. "But I think he said he would like to run some other ovals before coming here (to race)."
The usual Brickyard trimmings were missing.
Rather than hearing thousands of fans roar as he came down the front straightaway or dozens of engines humming, Busch provided a solo act for a few school children and chaperones touring the track and a handful of die-hard fans placed on the mounds near the infield museum. The speedway officially opens for practice Saturday, with qualifying slated for May 18-19.