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Pearn: "So many" NASCAR Cup drivers could pull off Indy-Charlotte Double

Only a handful of drivers have stepped up to the daunting task of trying to complete 1,100 miles as part of ‘The Double’ on Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, but Cole Pearn has tabbed others that could be successful.

Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Wurth Ford Mustang and Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro

Only a handful of drivers have stepped up to the daunting task of trying to complete 1,100 miles as part of ‘The Double’ on Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, but Cole Pearn has tabbed others that could be successful.

This year features Kyle Larson, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion, set to roll off fifth in his maiden Indianapolis 500 on Sunday as part of the first leg before heading to Charlotte for the 600-mile Cup race as the nightcap. 

When Larson takes the green flag for the Indy 500 in the No. 17 Arrow McLaren-Rick Hendrick Chevrolet, he will become only the fifth driver to attempt the endurance feat, but first since Kurt Busch in 2014. Others include John Andretti, Robby Gordon and Tony Stewart, who is the only driver to complete all 1,100 miles after finishing sixth in the Indy 500 and third in Charlotte in 2001.

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For his part, Pearn has the unique perspective of seeing both events. Known for being a key part of guiding Martin Truex Jr. to the 2017 Cup championship, he ended up in a one-off effort in the Indy 500 with Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020, roughly nine months after stepping away from racing full-time. 

Although Pearn hasn’t returned since, he has took an understanding to the challenge and believes a few current Cup Series drivers could make a successful shot at the Indy 500.

“The talent level is high,” Pearn told Motorsport.com. “Obviously, Larson, but so many of those guys right now I think could do that. Kyle could do it, for sure. Some of these younger guys seem to be getting a hold of it better and better.

“It takes time. The Cup level is hard, right? It's really hard to come as a rookie and do well; it's even harder now. They watered down the Xfinity racing so much with not having Cup regulars in there and stuff like that. These guys that yeah, they're winning Xfinity races, but it's a tall fence between those two series and it takes a long time for them to figure out at the Cup level.

Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, DEWALT 100 Years Toyota Camry

Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, DEWALT 100 Years Toyota Camry

Photo by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images

“But yeah, you got (Ryan) Blaney, (Chase) Elliott and that crew. Obviously, Larson is in there. 

“I think Christopher Bell would be one. I think he could potentially be really good in any car. He's crazy talented. I still work with Gibbs. I work in their aero department, so I get to see it a little bit and everything I've seen of him is nothing but impressive, for sure.”

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