Kyle Larson starts Indy 500 prep with a test at Phoenix

Kyle Larson starts Indy 500 prep with a test at Phoenix

Kyle Larson will take to the track for the first time aboard an IndyCar Series machinery this year in a test at Phoenix Raceway.

Kyle Larson’s audacious plan to complete both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day (May 26, 2024) is a highly anticipated spectacle this season.

The 2021 Cup Series champion has now provided a response to the long-standing questions about the approach he will take to accomplish this achievement.

As part of his preparations for his first shot at the Indy 500 in May, Larson is traveling to the one-mile, low-banked tri-oval after placing fifth in NASCAR’s preseason exhibition at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Saturday night.

“If this rainstorm doesn’t hit Arizona too hard, I’m supposed to test on Tuesday at Phoenix,” Larson said. “And then, I think there’s an open test in April.

“So, I would say once April rolls around, I think that’s when it’ll get pretty hot and heavy on prep work.”

Hendrick Motorsports and Arrow McLaren will collaborate to field him in the No. 17 Chevrolet-powered car. However, this outing is not considered an IndyCar Series test, but rather a rookie evaluation for the team.

According to an Arrow McLaren spokesperson, every team member assisting Larson in the upcoming race is the same crew allocated to his Indy 500 campaign.

The only crew member who will not be present is seasoned race engineer Mike Pawlowski, who was brought on for the special project and has worked for AJ Foyt Racing, Andretti Global and Chip Ganassi Racing.

Last October, Larson successfully finished his Rookie Orientation Program, which marked a significant advancement for the endeavor dubbed as the “Hendrick 1100.” Inspiring confidence into the endeavor, he completed 72 laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, reaching a maximum speed of 217.898 miles per hour.

Although Kyle Larson knew that the Indy 500 would demand more attention, he told the media that he intended to keep performing strongly in the Cup series.

“It definitely is going to take a lot of focus on the IndyCar side to be able to do a good job,” he said.

“So, I’m confident that I’m going to get all the data and information that I need to study, and hopefully, all these extra laps that I’m going to get will help me, and when it comes to May everything will go smooth.”

Larson went on to say that he wouldn’t mind a reduced schedule because he was already so busy. This year’s Memorial Day weekend has been set aside for Kyle Larson’s endeavor. If he achieves the feat, he will be the first Cup driver to accomplish the task since Kurt Busch in 2014.

The first person to attempt it was the late John Andretti in 1994. Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon and Kurt Busch were the next in line in 2014. Stewart had the most successful run of his career in 2001 when he placed third in Charlotte and sixth in Indianapolis.

According to Bob Pockrass, the promotion may ease the driver’s burden through the elimination of the requirement for him to attend the driver’s meeting in Charlotte.

Pockrass added that previous attempts at the double had resulted in drivers having to start the race from the rear. Starting positions now count toward stage points, which would be a minor disadvantage for Kyle Larson.

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