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IndyCar Indianapolis 500

Kyle Larson open to future Indy 500s if debut “doesn’t scare the shit out of me”

Kyle Larson is open to the possibility of participating in future Indianapolis 500s depending on how his debut goes for this year’s edition.

Kyle Larson, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

A 31-year-old California native, Larson is learning the nuances of an Indy car through the process of his maiden attempt to make the field of 33 for the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Thus far, though, Larson has only logged a combined 85 laps – with a best of 225.245mph (17th overall, in-tow) — due to rain hampering most of this week’s practices.

Regardless of how limited his running has been to this point, the reality is the final verdict of his experience won’t come until the checkered flag falls after the race on May 26.

When asked by Motorsport.com about the desire to make more attempts at the Indy 500 or even other IndyCar Series races, Larson provided a candid response.

“Yeah, maybe,” said Larson, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion. “I just kind of want to see how this experience goes first.

“If I enjoy it, and if it doesn't scare the shit out of me, then maybe I would like to do it again.”

Kyle Larson, McLaren-Hendrick Chevrolet

Kyle Larson, McLaren-Hendrick Chevrolet

Photo by: Penske Entertainment

There is also the factor on how things settle with legendary team owner Rick Hendrick, whom Larson drives for in the Cup Series and is also supporting this Indy 500 effort as a co-owner with Arrow McLaren.

The combined forces have allowed Larson to become the fifth driver to make a run at ‘The Double’ – competing in the Indy 500 and 600-mile Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the same day on Memorial Day Weekend – to join the likes of John Andretti, Kurt Busch, 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.

“Yeah, there's a lot that goes into it,” Larson said. “I don't want to close the door on anything in the future.

“But it's hard when you're a full-time Cup Series driver to do other opportunities or get to experience other things.

“The IndyCar schedule kind of overlaps with NASCAR, and other forms of motorsports do as well. As long as I'm a full-time guy, I don't think there's a whole lot that I can do, but there's definitely stuff that I’d like to do in the future.”

Kyle Larson, McLaren-Hendrick Chevrolet

Kyle Larson, McLaren-Hendrick Chevrolet

Photo by: Penske Entertainment

The one person who has helped smooth Larson’s transition is 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan, who now serves as Sporting Director for Arrow McLaren.

“Tony Kanaan has been the guy I've talked to a lot,” Larson said. “I don't do a good job of remembering everything, but there's just a lot of stuff that we talked about as far as, and again, mostly like pit lane stuff, but even qualifying, talking through it, Tony's been really good as far as I feel like dumbing everything down and I think everybody between media or engineers, everything is such a big deal.

“Tony's been really good to like, 'Nah, it's not that big deal. Just calm down.'

“That's been good because it's really easy when you go into something new to overthink things. I'm a rookie. I haven't been a rookie in something in a long time, but I remember being a rookie; everybody's feeding all sorts of information and a lot of times it's coming from people who've never driven race cars, so it's like I don't really know what's real or whatnot.

“Having Tony and his experience and all that and being a racer, he's just been a really good for me to just bring things down and all that.”

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