Tony Stewart has done “The Double” twice.
In 1999 and 2001, the Columbus native competed in the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. Sunday, his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Kurt Busch, will attempt “The Double.”
“It’s going to be different because he’s never raced an IndyCar,” Stewart said in a news release. “He’s with a great team, though, and he’s with great people. Michael
Andretti is definitely a great choice to be with. Michael, being a driver and having run the 500, his experiences there are going to help Kurt during the month because Michael can spend a lot of time with him and walk him through what he has to focus on.
“He’s a great owner, and he was a great driver,” he said. “So, that’s going to be a big asset for Kurt to have Michael there and Michael being able to coach him along and keep him abreast of what he needs to look for each time he’s on the racetrack.”
In 1999, Stewart finished ninth at Indy and fourth at Charlotte in his first double. He was sixth at Indy and third at Charlotte in 2001, becoming the first driver to complete all 1,100 miles in one day.
“We’re still the only guy who’s completed all 1,100 miles of double duty, which is something I’m really proud of,” Stewart said. “It makes for a very, very long day. When you’re done with the 600, after running Indy and the flight and helicopter rides and police escorts and all that during the day, you’re very, very content to lay your head on a pillow. And even when you do that, it still feels like it’s not stopped moving yet.”
Stewart plans to watch the Indy 500, which begins at noon, on TV before joining Busch in the 6 p.m. Sprint Cup race at Charlotte.
“Any time you win a race at Charlotte it’s big,” Stewart said. “It’s a speedway with a lot of history and, obviously, the Coke 600 is a huge event. I’m a big fan of shorter races nowadays, but the 600 is truly a special event, with it being on Memorial Day weekend and the history of the Coke 600, when it was known as the World 600.
“There’s just a lot of tradition that surrounds the month of May in Charlotte. So, this is a big race. It’s an important race to win.”