Andretti Autosport engineer Craig Hampson gave Kurt Busch just one bit of instruction as he strapped into an IndyCar and headed onto the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"Go out and have fun."
The former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion heeded Hampson’s advice on the 2.5-mile oval during an IndyCar refresher program today, in anticipation of becoming the fourth driver to attempt the "double" -- running the 98th Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the evening of May 25.
John Andretti, Robby Gordon and Tony Stewart have each done it, with Stewart -- co-owner of Busch's No. 41 Sprint Cup car at Stewart Haas Racing -- becoming the first in 2001 to complete all 1,000 miles.
"This attempt is something serious," said Busch, who is scheduled to join other Indy 500 rookies on May 5 at the speedway for additional laps. "It's an amazing challenge."
Busch got off to a quick start in the Honda-powered No. 26 Suretone car, recording a best lap of 220.844 mph during 66 total laps, before rain brought an early end to the day.
"It really makes you think," Busch said. "Overall, it was a good day just to settle in with the team and advance further than rookie orientation. It felt good to give feedback to the team from the car and have them explain things to me how we're going to move forward. They continued to change downforce combinations on the car and it was just neat to feel all that and check it off the list.
"The last run we made was just about where they would unload for race trim."
Because he tested on the oval last year in an Andretti Autosport car, Busch was required to complete the formal refresher program. In addition to demonstrating car control, placement and consistent driving pattern, the program consists of 30 laps that constitute the second and third phases of the Rookie Orientation Program at speed intervals based on track and weather conditions.
"Now that all the newness and moments of smiling and 'this is Indy' are wearing off, that's when the serious (stuff) goes on and we start to ramp up the program."
Andretti Autosport's James Hinchcliffe, who joined multiple other Verizon IndyCar Series drivers watching the first cars on the oval in 2014, said he expects Busch to be among the '500' contenders.
"I think we're going to be strong in the race and I think we've showed that the past couple of years," said Hinchciffe, who drives the No. 27 United Fiber & Data car. "He has more professional races under his belt than the rest of the field combined with as many races as NASCAR runs and I'm sure he's going to adapt pretty quickly."