Kyle Larson will attempt to become the fifth driver to race the Indy 500-Coca Cola 600 doubleheader, joining Arrow McLaren Racing for the 2024 Indianapolis 500.
Joining fellow NASCAR Cup Series champions Tony Stewart (who ran both races in 1999 and 2001) and Kurt Busch (the most recent driver to race Indy and Charlotte on the same day in 2014), Larson will drive a McLaren Chevrolet at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with backing from HendrickCars.com, which sponsors his No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro with Hendrick Motorsports in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Larson’s Chevy for the Indy 500 will be co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Rick Hendrick, who will make his IndyCar team owner debut after 40 years of fielding cars in the NASCAR Cup Series. Hendrick is the winningest owner in NASCAR history with 14 championships and 291 victories (including a record 10 at the Brickyard).
“I’m super excited,” Larson said in a 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.”
A new name is coming to the Indianapolis 500. ✍️
— Arrow McLaren IndyCar Team (@McLarenIndyCar) January 12, 2023
Said Hendrick: “Having the opportunity to support Kyle, partner with an elite team like Arrow McLaren and promote HendrickCars.com in one of the world’s great auto racing events is truly unique. All of us are competitors. Putting Kyle in top-level equipment and allowing ample time for him to prepare for such a difficult challenge was important. 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% committed to doing it right and look forward to working with (McLaren).”
Larson, 30, won the 2021 Cup championship, his first with Hendrick in NASCAR’s premier series. He has 19 victories, including 10 during the ’21 season that is considered one of the best in U.S. racing history. He also is a very accomplished dirt racer, counting the prestigious Knoxville Nationals and Chili Bowl along with World of Outlaws features among more than 400 career victories across many disciplines.
Interested in the Indy 500 for years, Larson has spoken openly about wanting to be remembered as one of the greatest all-around racers of all time, and an Indy 500 victory would put him in the conversation with versatile legends such as Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt and Stewart, a three-time Cup champion who also has an IndyCar championship.
“Adding Kyle Larson with a HendrickCars.com partnership to the Indy 500 lineup in 2024 is exciting for our Arrow McLaren team as well as for race fans,” Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, said in a release “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. It’s been great working with Rick Hendrick and (Hendrick Motorsports vice chairman) Jeff Gordon to pull this together, so a big thank you to them for what’s to come in May 2024.”
The late John Andretti was the first driver to attempt the Indianapolis Motor Speedway-Charlotte Motor Speedway double in 1994. Robby Gordon has the most attempts of both the Indy 500 and Coke 600 in the same day (1997, 2002, ’03, ’04).
In 2001, Tony Stewart became the only driver to complete the full 1,100-mile distance in the same day (finishing sixth in the Indy 500 and third in the Coca-Cola 600). Gordon was a mile and a half short in 2002, completing all 200 laps at Indy and 399 of 400 laps at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Larson’s car number and livery for the 2024 Indy 500 attempt will be announced at a later date.
Brown confirmed last year that McLaren Racing had considered fielding a car for two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch in the Indy 500 this year.
Arrow McLaren will attempt to put four cars in the 2023 Indy 500, fielding Chevys for full-time drivers Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist and Alexander Rossi and a one-off attempt by 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan.
Though the team’s lineup is uncertain for 2024, Larson figures to be joining a formidable trio of Indy 500 winners and champions next year.
“Kyle’s ability and desire to compete across so many disciplines of motor racing is as rare today as it is refreshing,” Gavin Ward, Arrow McLaren racing director, said in a release. “He’s one of the best dirt track racers on the planet. He’s a NASCAR Cup champion. He’s won a Rolex 24 at Daytona. He’s an incredibly talented driver and has shown his ability to win no matter what he’s racing. I can’t think of a more exciting addition to Arrow McLaren’s 2024 Indy 500 lineup. We’re all racers on this team, and we’re going to give it everything to make sure this endeavor is as successful as possible.”