Kyle Larson is optimistic that rain and his daughter’s uncertainties won’t spoil his debut at the Indianapolis 500

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Kyle Larson puts on his helmet

Audrey Larson, who is just 6 years old, wants Alexander Rossi to win the Indianapolis 500. She believes her dad will flip his car, but if he doesn’t, she hopes he finishes second.

Kyle Larson, aged 31 and a father of three, aims to follow in the footsteps of racing legends like Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt. He wants to prove that he can win in any type of car.

Now, Larson faces a new challenge: competing in both the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. Only four drivers have done this before, with Tony Stewart being the only one to finish all 1,100 miles in 2001. Kurt Busch tried it in 2014 but didn’t finish.

Larson hasn’t sought much advice, mainly because he’s not sure what to ask about driving an Indy car. However, the racing greats before him aren’t too worried about how he’ll perform, as he starts fifth in a joint effort between Arrow McLaren Racing and Hendrick Motorsports, his NASCAR team.

Indianapolis 500 race

“He has the potential to do what’s never been done and win both of these races,” Stewart said. “He’s just one of those naturally talented guys that you can put him in anything and he can drive it.”

The list of drivers who try both open-wheel racing and stock car racing is long and the differences are stark. Stock cars can take a beating and contact is part of the deal; Indy cars are far more fragile, and contact with a competitor or wall can end someone’s race immediately.

Robby Gordon attempted “The Double” five times, with his 2002 showing of eighth at Indy and 16th at Charlotte his best attempt. He too believes Larson can win both races; Larson already won the 600, NASCAR’s longest race, in 2021.

“Kyle has a shot, a legitimate shot,” Gordon said. “We may look at him as a stock car driver, but he knows where his wheels are, he’s not worried about clipping wheels with anybody or getting tires tangled.

Kyle Larson waits in the pit session during practice

We all know he’s not scared, and he’s also light, that’s going to help him. He’s got a lot of advantages, and Kurt Busch did a great job, but I think Kyle will do a better job.”

The agreement between Hendrick and McLaren lasts for two years, which might be a wise move if the Indy 500 is rained out on Sunday. The weather forecast isn’t very certain.

Rick Hendrick has mentioned it would be difficult for him to pull Larson out of Indy to make it to Charlotte, but there’s a chance the NASCAR team owner insists Larson sticks to his NASCAR commitments.

McLaren chief Zak Brown stated that the final decision will be made by Hendrick, who brought Larson’s entire No. 5 crew to Indianapolis on Friday for Carb Day so they could experience the Indy 500 atmosphere. Larson has been involved in this project for over a year, but he has fully embraced the last two weeks at the historic speedway.

Rain disrupted a lot of track time in the first week, but since then, Larson has been busy: he milked a cow, took part in community day at a local elementary school, and was scheduled to lead the annual driver parade Saturday through downtown Indianapolis.

Kyle Larson in the Indianapolis 500

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials are letting Larson lead the parade to shorten his time in the city, giving him more time to get to Charlotte later Saturday for qualifying for the 600.

Larson, who competes in the Daytona 500, some of the top sprint car races globally, and won the Rolex 24 at Daytona sports car event, believes that many significant events can learn from the grandeur and ceremonial aspects of Indianapolis.

“This is like Disneyland or the Disney World of racetracks. It is the nicest facility,” he said. “Two weeks of stuff, buildup to the race — there’s so many things that make this event feel different and bigger.

But yeah, there’s no other event I’ve been a part of to this point, and I haven’t even gotten to race yet, that’s felt quite as big as the Indy 500.”

Larson said his 9-year-old son, Owen, has grasped the magnitude of the Indy 500. Audrey remains unimpressed, while 17-month-old Cooper is just along for the ride.

“Audrey thinks I’m crazy. She’s said it multiple times, ‘Why are you going to get in a car that you are going to flip?’” Larson said. “Every time we’ve talked about it, she says it. I don’t know where she’s seen it.

Kyle Larson talks to Scott McLaughlin

Owen, I think he gets how cool the cars are and how big the space is, and I hope Audrey does once the race gets here.” Audrey seems to be alone in her opinion about Dad, given that some of the best drivers in motorsports history seem to be in Larson’s corner.

McLaren is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first of its two Indy 500 wins with Johnny Rutherford this year, and “Lone Star JR” went to Kokomo Speedway last week to watch Larson race a sprint car.

“He’s a racer,” said Rick Mears, the four-time Indy 500 winner, who downplayed Larson’s lack of IndyCar experience. “I’ve said for years that I can come out here or anywhere and test for three weeks and I will learn more in the first 30 laps of the race than I learned in three weeks of testing.

Because in testing and practice, you don’t get put in positions that you do in the race. And that’s when you start learning.

“That’s where his learning curve is, right? He’s dealt with similar stuff through the years. He’s going to have his work cut out for him, but if he does the job I think he will, he’ll have an opportunity.”


By Brian Anderson

Hi myself Brian, I am a second-year student at Symbiosis Centre of Management Studies, Noida, pursuing a BBA degree. I am a multi-faceted individual with a passion for various hobbies, including cricket, football, music, and sketching. Beyond my hobbies, I possess a keen interest in literature, particularly fictional books, and channels my creativity into content writing. I am constantly exploring the realms of both business administration and the world of imagination through my diverse pursuits.

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