By admin | May 22, 2008
By Richard Allen
Drivers such as Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart and John Andretti in recent years have thrilled fans within the racing world by completing “Double Duty”. That is to say they have participated in the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.
It was one of the more intriguing feats in all of sports. It would be the equivalent of someone playing in the Super Bowl and the World Series… on the same day.
Unfortunately, due to a change in the start time of the Indy 500 it is no longer feasible for a driver to compete in both. That is, if a driver wants to make it back to Charlotte in time for the start of the stock car race.
Since most of the drivers to attempt the double have been full time Sprint Cup drivers it would be essential for them to make it in time for the start or else not be credited with the points for the NASCAR race.
Although there are plenty of drivers who could conceivably race in both events, it is unlikely that anyone will attempt it again unless the start times are adjusted.
It was always fun to watch those drivers compete in the Indianapolis race then head for the helicopter as soon as that race ended. Then, during the NASCAR pre race show the network would track the progress of the driver’s flight across the eastern half of the country.
Among those who have done the double in the last decade or so, Tony Stewart had the most successful day. In 2001 he finished 6th in the Indianapolis 500 and 3rd in the Coca-Cola 600.
Although no one will be doing double duty this year, Juan Pablo Montoya has the potential of completing a most impressive triple.
The Grand Prix of Monaco, the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600, three of the world’s most prestigious auto races, are contested on the same day every year. In 2000, Montoya won the Indy 500 while driving for current Sprint Cup owner Chip Ganassi. In 2003, he claimed victory in the Grand Prix of Monaco.
A win at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway would give Montoya the trophy from each of the three races held on Memorial Day weekend. That would be a very impressive feat, indeed.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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