Kyle Larson, the 2021 NASCAR Cup champion, will become the fifth driver to attempt the Memorial weekend “double,” shorthand for the Indianapolis 500 IndyCar race and the Coke 600 NASCAR race in Charlotte, both held on the same day.
Drivers John Andretti, Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon and Kurt Busch are the others who have run the double. Busch did it last, in 2014, while Stewart in 2001 is the only driver to complete all 1100 miles. None of them has ever won either leg of it.
Larson will join McLaren Racing as part of Arrow McLaren’s lineup for the 2024 edition of the Indy 500. The Chevrolet entry will be co-owned by Larson’s NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick and carry title sponsorship from HendrickCars.com.
“I’m super excited,” Larson said. “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 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 Charlotte [Motor Speedway] 600 and maybe even get a win or two that day.”
In the past, drivers would helicopter to the Indianapolis airport from the track and take a private jet to Charlotte, then helicopter to the speedway. Should a driver win the Indy 500, there would be no way to do the post-race ceremonies in time to make it to Charlotte, but for a first-timer like Larson, that seems unlikely, anyway.
At this point it’s unknown whether Larson will attempt an IndyCar race in 2023 or in early 2024 to prepare for his 500 run. With NASCAR’s packed schedule, it would be very difficult. Larson has open-wheel experience in karts and sprint cars, but an IndyCar is a very different animal.