It's Quite a List: NASCAR Connections to Indy 500 Date Back to 1963

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It’s long and sometimes confusing, this ongoing relationship between NASCAR and the Indianapolis 500. In total, 10 drivers best known for their stock car successes have raced at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Five others have tried, but failed to make the 33-car grid.

The relationship began in 1963, when future NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Curtis Turner passed his rookie tests, but crashed in practice and didn’t advance. That same year, future NASCAR Hall of Fame driver/owner Junior Johnson didn’t qualify for the 500.

Many years later, John Andretti, Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart, and Kurt Busch ran the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte on the same day. Now here comes former Cup Series champion Kyle Larson, hoping to do the Indy/Charlotte doubleheader and become the 11th NASCAR driver to run the Indy 500.

The others:

Bobby Johns 1963

A two-time winner in NASCAR’s early years, the Miami native finished seventh in a Lotus/Ford in his only Indy 500 appearance.

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Wood Brothers Racing 1966, 1967

Ford Racing recruited the family team from Virginia to handle the pit stops for Jimmy Clark in a Lotus/Ford in 1966. It was a good call, as the Woods’ quicker stops helped Clark win the 500.

The Woods were back in 1967, but with vastly different results. They finished 27th this time when Eagle/Ford driver Dan Gurney crashed with nine others on the first lap.

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Cale Yarborough 1966,1967, 1971, 1972

The young, largely unknown driver from South Carolina, Cale Yarborough, finished 28th in a Vollstedt/Ford in 1966. The future three-time NASCAR champion and Hall of Fame driver was in the same first-lap accident that sidelined nine others.

Still a relative unknown despite some minor NASCAR success, he was back in 1967 to finish an uneventful 17th in a Vollstedt/Ford.

In 1971, with no good NASCAR rides available, Cale Yarborough skipped the 600 in Charlotte and spent his time at Indy, where he finished 16th in a Mongoose/Ford.

A year later, he skipped Charlotte again in favor of Indy, where he finished 10th in an Atlanta/Foyt in his final Brickyard appearance. His record in four starts at Indianapolis: 28th, 17th, 16th, and 10th.

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LeeRoy Yarbrough 1967, 1969, 1970

With an oft-time confusing different spelling, the Floridian was 27th in his Indy 500 debut in 1967 in a Vollstedt/Ford.

In 1969, Five days after winning the NASCAR race at Charlotte, Yarbrough returned to Indy and was 23rd in a Vollstedt/Ford.

Yarbrough returned in 1970. After finishing 29th at Charlotte, he was 19th at Indy in a Vollstedt/Ford in his final Indy 500 appearance. His career summary in three races there: 27th, 23rd, and 19th.

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Charlie Glotzbach 1969, 1970

The popular Indiana native was among two dozen drivers who didn’t qualify for the 500. He returned in 1970, only to come up short in qualifying again.

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Donnie Allison 1970, 1971

In 1970, the future NASCAR Hall of Famer won the NASCAR race at Charlotte on Sunday, then went to Indy the following Friday and finished fourth in an Eagle/Ford, good for Rookie of the Race.

The following year, it was another terrific weekend for the future Hall of Fame driver from Alabama. He was 6th in Coyote/Ford at Indy on a Saturday, then 2nd to brother Bobby at Charlotte the next afternoon;

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Bobby Allison 1973, 1975

The future NASCAR champion and Hall of Fame driver made his Indy 500 debut in 1973, finishing 32nd when the engine in his McLaren/Offy blew up on the parade lap.

In his second and final Indy 500 in 1975, Allison led a few laps before finishing 25th in a McLaren/Offy.

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Neil Bonnett 1979

The Alabama driver was entered at Indy, but a deal with Wood Brothers Racing changed everything. When rain forced Bonnett to stay at Dover for Cup Series qualifying, owner Warner Hodgdon let Jerry Sneva qualify and run Bonnett’s car in the 500 in 1979.

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Tim Richmond 1980, 1981

By finishing ninth in his Penske/Cosworth, this popular Ohio native was the 1980 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Race.

Richmond's second and final Indy 500 (this one in a Parnelli/Cosworth) in 1981 saw him finish 14th. He went on to win 13 NASCAR Cup Series races and finish third in 1986 points with owner Rick Hendrick.

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Ken Schrader 1983

One of American’s busiest racers, Schrader found time on his schedule to try Indy just once. After crashing in practice, he was among 32 who didn’t qualify.

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John Andretti 1994

John Andretti—Mario’s nephew—was 10th in a Lola/Ford Cosworth in his first Indy 500 in 1994. That night, he was an engine-related DNF 36th at Charlotte in his try at the double.

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Davy Jones 1995

Davy Jones, left, finished 23rd in the 1995 Indy 500 in a Lola/Ford, but didn’t qualify at Charlotte for the NASCAR race.

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Robby Gordon 1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004

In 1997, Robby Gordon was 29th in a Dallara/Oldsmobile at Indy on Tuesday after rain postponed the 500 from Sunday. A fuel leak caused a fire in his car and he missed the next two NASCAR races that year while recovering from burns to his hands and right leg. He had finished 41st in the NASCAR race on Sunday.

In 2000, he finished sixth in the rain-interrupted 500 in a Dallara/Oldsmobile and then 35th at Charlotte, where P.J. Jones had started his car.

Weather was no issue in 2002, and Gordon finished sixth in a Dallara/Oldsmobile at Indy and 16th at Charlotte.

The next year, in 2003 In a Dallara/Honda, he was 22nd in the Indy 500 and 17th later that evening in the rain-shortened (to 414 miles) Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.

In 2004—the last of his 10 Indy appearances—he was credited with 29th in a Dallara/Chevrolet. He started the race, but left for Charlotte when rain threatened to push the finish to Monday. When conditions improved at Indy, Jacques Lafitte finished the race as Gordon was finishing 20th at Charlotte.

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Tony Stewart 2001

The future Hall of Fame driver in 1999 became was the first to run all 600 laps/1,100 miles on the same day. He was 9th at Indy in a Dallara/Oldsmobile and 4th at Charlotte.

Another great doubleheader effort in 2001, this time finishing sixth in the Indy 500 in a G-Force/Oldsmobile and 3rd at Charlotte.

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Kurt Busch 2014

Kurt Busch pulled off the double in 2014 when he finished sixth in a Dallara/Honda at Indy, but he didn't have the same strong finish when he was 40th later that night at Charlotte.

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