Kyle Larson won’t start ‘double’ after Indianapolis 500 delay

Kyle Larson won’t start ‘double’ after Indianapolis 500 delay

INDIANAPOLIS — Kyle Larson fulfilled a long-time ambition by taking the green flag in the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, even as the NASCAR star’s hopes of accomplishing one of the rarest feats in motorsports were dashed by The rain at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Larson will race while his car is running at Indy and then make the trip to North Carolina to participate in NASCAR’s longest race of the year.

He is attempting to become the fifth driver to do “The Double” by racing the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. That was thrown into doubt when a severe storm hit the track and delayed the start of the race for four hours, ending any hope Larson had of starting both races and completing the 1,100 miles.

The last to do so was Kurt Busch in 2014, and the only driver to complete the 1,100 miles was Tony Stewart in 2001.

Larson said earlier in the day that the “priority” was to stay in Indianapolis, but no decision was made until the rain left the track.

“It looks like there’s going to be that window where I guess we’ll be able to dry it out to run today,” Larson said earlier in the day, “but obviously that affects things for the 600. It’s still the weather. I don’t know exactly what it’s going to be like, but the worst case scenario is happening, which is a shame.

Justin Allgaier replaced Larson behind the wheel of the No. 5 car for the Charlotte start.

Under NASCAR rules, Larson is not allowed to participate in the playoffs unless he starts every race. However, Hendrick Motorsports may submit a waiver to NASCAR, requesting an exception to the rule.

Larson hoped enough rain would force the Indy 500 to run on Monday, allowing him to start both races.

Larson started fifth in the Indy 500 in the No. 17 Arrow McLaren car in a joint venture with Hendrick Motorsports. That team’s owner, Rick Hendrick, was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway early Sunday hoping to see Larson race.

With the departure delayed by about four hours, Larson and his team were forced to make a difficult decision.

“It would be very difficult,” Hendrick had admitted earlier in the week, when asked about pulling Larson out of the Indy 500 early. “We have a tremendous amount of people in Indy and he’s in such a good position. It would be extremely difficult.”

Larson had planned to follow the model used by others making The Double: He would finish the Indy 500, take a helicopter to a nearby airfield, board a private jet to Charlotte and then board another helicopter for the final jump to Charlotte Motor Speedway. . If the Indy 500 started on time, he would have enough time to make it to the start.

“I’ve been around Kyle a little bit throughout my career,” NASCAR driver Noah Gragson said. “He’s an extraordinary driver, and to be able to see one of our guys who we’ve raced with every weekend try a different discipline of motorsports is really cool.”

NASCAR driver Chase Briscoe said he was excited to see Larson in the Indy 500 because of their shared background.

“I’m excited for the NASCAR side, but I’m more excited for the sprint car side, to see another sprint car driver go to the Indianapolis 500,” Briscoe said. “It’s kind of the origin of Indy. You had these sprint car guys that came and ran (you had AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Jack Hewitt, Bryan Clauson recently) and that was always the question. If you were the best, Chico of the sprint car, you wanted to run the Indy 500. That was the dream, so it’s cool from that standpoint.”