Kyle Larson plans to race in 2024 Indianapolis 500
Kyle Larson, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion who is considered one of the world's most versatile racecar drivers, plans to race in the 2024 Indianapolis 500.
Larson will drive for McLaren Racing in an IndyCar fielded by its Arrow McLaren team and co-owned by Larson's NASCAR team owner, Rick Hendrick, while being sponsored by HendrickCars.com.
Announcing plans 16 months in advance gives Larson plenty of time to prepare for 1,100 miles of racing, competing in the Indy 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. No driver has attempted "the double" since Kurt Busch did it in 2014.
"I'm super excited," Larson said in a news release. "Competing at the Indianapolis 500 is a dream of mine and something I've wanted to do for a very long time — since I was a child before I ever began competing in sprint cars.
"To do it with Arrow McLaren and Mr. Hendrick especially is a dream come true. I'm grateful for the opportunity and am really looking forward to it even though it's still about a year and a half away. I'm really looking forward to competing in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 and maybe even get a win or two that day."
Both teams field Chevrolets, and with Hendrick's blessing and involvement, Larson should have plenty of resources. The only concern would be a NASCAR race conflicting with Indy 500 qualifying, although NASCAR traditionally has its all-star race (not a requirement for the driver to compete in) during Indy 500 qualifying weekend.
McLaren, which fields cars in both Formula 1 and IndyCar as well as several electric-vehicle series, is led by CEO Zak Brown, who has strong NASCAR ties from spending decades on the marketing side of the sport.
"Putting Kyle in top-level equipment and allowing ample time for him to prepare for such a difficult challenge was important," Hendrick said. "It's going to be very, very special to field a Chevrolet in the Indy 500 as a car owner.
"A collaboration like this was what we needed to make it happen, and fortunately the stars aligned. We're 100 percent committed to doing it right and look forward to working with Zak and his organization."
Larson will be the first Hendrick driver to do the double. An accomplished sprint-car racer before embarking on a NASCAR career, Larson also has won significant dirt late-model races in recent years. He has yet to drive an IndyCar, and IndyCar Racing League owner Roger Penske has publicly lobbied for Larson to attempt the Indy 500.
"There's a lot of people that would like to run," Penske said last month about the possibility of a driver doing the double but only a few remaining seats available for 2023. "The competition is so tight. ... You're going to see some that. It might take another year."
It will take another year, but it will be with a driver that will attract plenty of fans.
"He's a complete driver, known for racing anything on wheels, so I'm looking forward to seeing what Kyle can do in an NTT IndyCar Series car," Brown said.
"It's been great working with Rick Hendrick and [Hendrick executive] Jeff Gordon to pull this together, so a big thank you to them for what's to come in May 2024."
Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass, and sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.
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