Race Weekend Central

NASCAR 101: Recent Double-Duty IndyCar & NASCAR Drivers

Those who strictly follow NASCAR’s national series may not recognize RC Enerson‘s name, but those who also watch other racing disciplines — such as the NTT IndyCar Series — will.

Enerson, a 23-year-old from Florida, will make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut this weekend at Road America, piloting the No. 07 for SS-Greenlight Racing.

He’s not exactly wet behind the ears, though; Enerson has starts in a variety of racing series, including four IndyCar starts, the most recent of which came last year.

Enerson becomes the fourth driver in one of NASCAR’s national series to make a start in 2020 who’s also competed in the IndyCar Series in the last decade (since 2010). One of those, AJ Allmendinger, will join Enerson in the Road America field, while the other two — James Davison and Kurt Busch — are going for the win in this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Michigan International Speedway.

In all, Enerson becomes the 19th driver who’s contested at least one IndyCar race in the 2010s and ’20s to also drive in a NASCAR Cup, Xfinity or Gander RV & Outdoors Truck series race at some point in their career, making the jump from open wheel to stock cars (or in some cases the other way around).

Here’s the full 19 as of this weekend.

AJ Allmendinger

When Allmendinger came to the NASCAR ranks in the 2000s, it was after he made a name for himself in the now-defunct open-wheel CART series, scoring five wins in 2016. He didn’t actually race in IndyCar, however, until 2013, making six starts, including the Indianapolis 500, for Team Penske, with a best finish of seventh.

John Andretti

The late Andretti, perhaps as expected given his family name, made many open-wheel starts in addition to his stock car racing prowess. He made a total of three IndyCar starts in the 2010s, two of which came in the Indy 500 in collaborative efforts between Andretti Autosport and Richard Petty Motorsports, Petty being the home for many of his Cup starts.

Kurt Busch

Former Cup champion Busch pulled off the doubleheader of the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in 2014 by making his first — and to date only — IndyCar start, finishing sixth in Andretti’s No. 26.

Bryan Clauson

After breaking onto the national racing scene in stock cars, making Xfinity starts for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2007 and 2008, Clauson eventually moved to open wheel, starting three IndyCar races between 2012 and 2016, all in the Indy 500. Further starts are likely to have been made, but Clauson died in a racing accident in August 2016.

Conor Daly

Current IndyCar full-timer Conor Daly dipped his toe into NASCAR extremely briefly in the latter part of the decade, driving the No. 6 for Roush Fenway Racing in the 2018 Xfinity Road America race, finishing 31st after suspension issues.

James Davison

First making himself known to NASCAR fans via multiple Xfinity road course starts in recent years, Davison has jumped to Cup this year, making his oval NASCAR debut with Rick Ware Racing. On Aug. 6, Davison and RWR announced a further partnership that will put the pair in the 2020 Indy 500.

Milka Duno

The Venezuelan was more of a fixture in the ARCA Menards Series in the early 2010s when it came to stock cars, but Duno also broke into NASCAR’s national ranks in 2014 with a pair of Xfinity starts and one Truck race, scoring a best finish of 25th in that Truck event at Talladega Superspeedway.

RC Enerson

The newest addition to this list competed in three IndyCar races in 2016 for Dale Coyne Racing, all road courses, with a best finish of ninth at Watkins Glen International. His lone start last year, this time for Carlin, came at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where he finished 17th.

Dario Franchitti

Franchitti competed in IndyCar from 2003 to 2013, tallying 21 wins and four straight series championships. He also participated in an ill-fated attempt at NASCAR stardom in 2007 and 2008, the latter his attempt at the Cup rookie of the year crown, which lasted a third of the season before the plug was pulled.

Jack Hawksworth

Three-year IndyCar full-timer Jack Hawksworth, who now competes in the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship (with two wins thus far this season), also has one Xfinity start to his name. That came last year at Mid-Ohio for Joe Gibbs Racing, finishing 15th after starting second and leading five laps.

Michel Jourdain Jr.

Mexico City’s Michel Jourdain Jr. was more known for his CART statistics open wheel-wise, with 152 starts in that series over nine years, including two wins. After 15 years away, he returned to IndyCar for the 2012 Indy 500. In terms of stock cars, he attempted a career move with a partial Xfinity schedule in 2005, followed by occasional starts the rest of the decade, and he’s still active in NASCAR’s Peak Mexico Series.

Buddy Lazier

It’s a bit of an obscure trivia fact that Lazier, an eight-time IndyCar winner and a fixture at the Indy 500s over the years until 2017, has a NASCAR past. It’s not much, to be clear; he drove one race in 2007 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Truck Series, finishing 24th, three laps down.

Katherine Legge

Current sports car competitor Katherine Legge made inroads in IndyCar in the early 2010s, with 11 starts and a best finish of ninth at Auto Club Speedway in 2012. In 2018, she ran three road courses and one oval for JD Motorsports with Gary Keller in the Xfinity Series.

Juan Pablo Montoya

One of the more famous NASCAR-via-open-wheel stars, Juan Pablo Montoya enjoyed a nine-year NASCAR career that included a pair of Cup wins. He didn’t actually compete full time in IndyCar until 2014, driving three seasons, with four wins in that span.

Danica Patrick

Patrick was an open-wheel star before NASCAR, driving full time in the IndyCar Series between 2005 and 2011 prior to her foray into the Xfinity and Cup series. As part of her 2018 retirement, Patrick drove one final Daytona 500 before a last hurrah in the Indy 500.

Buddy Rice

Another Buddy, another somewhat random Truck start. Like Lazier, Rice, too, tried a single Truck race, his coming in 2003, finishing 20th at Homestead-Miami Speedway for ThorSport Racing. More of a staple of 2000s IndyCar, he’s included here thanks to a pair of IndyCar starts in 2011 at Indianapolis and Kentucky Speedway.

Alex Tagliani

First a winner in CART, Tagliani later moved to IndyCar, with 74 starts between 2008 and 2016. He later became an in-demand road racer in the Xfinity and Truck series, nabbing six top fives and eight top 10s between the two series in 13 starts to date.

Paul Tracy

Longtime CART star (and 2003 series champion) Tracy also made 20 IndyCar starts, including 11 in the 2010s. He also attempted a brief foray into NASCAR, starting with six Xfinity starts in 2006 and an additional Truck race in 2008.

Jacques Villeneuve

More known for his Formula 1 racing since the mid-’90s, Jacques Villeneuve made a few tries in NASCAR’s national series, most recently at Sonoma Raceway in 2013. He also has a single IndyCar start to his name, the 2014 Indy 500, finishing 14th.

About the author

Rutherford is the managing editor of Frontstretch, a position he gained in 2015 after serving on the editing staff for two years. At his day job, he's a journalist covering music and rock charts at Billboard. He lives in New York City, but his heart is in Ohio -- you know, like that Hawthorne Heights song.

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I’m wondering if this trend is just infatuation or an indictment on NASCAR….

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