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NASCAR Cup Charlotte

Larson "a little bit bummed" if rain splits up Indy 500/Coke 600 double

The one thing all the prior planning cannot prepare for – race day weather – may ultimately decide whether Kyle Larson is counted among the greats who completed one of motorsports’ greatest endurance tests.

Kyle Larson, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Larson, the 2021 NASCAR Cup champion, is bidding to become just the fifth driver to race the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.

So far, he has been off to an impressive start – advancing last Sunday to the Fast Six in Indy 500 qualifying and earning the fifth starting spot.

Larson managed to make it to last Sunday night’s NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway with plenty of time to spare and found himself in contention for the win before finishing fourth.

A bleak forecast

Now comes the hard part – racing in both marquee events on the same day. But Mother Nature is throwing in a potential roadblock.

The forecast for Sunday at Indianapolis looks bleak, with an 80 percent chance of rain most of the day (the track does not have lights). The Coke 600 at Charlotte has no such issues right now.

A real possibility exists that Larson could indeed still run both races but on separate days.

While completing both would still be a remarkable achievement – regardless of the outcomes – it begs the question if the accomplishment would still hold same significance to Larson.

“Well, I mean the first thing is that I would love to be able to complete both races, whether that’s on separate days, you know, whatever, I guess,” Larson, 31, said Thursday. “I mean, it’s ‘the double’ right? and is it truly ‘the double’ if it’s not on the same day? I don’t know.

“So yeah, in a perfect world, I would love to have it all happen on the same day to have done it. I would for sure, even if I got both races in, I would for sure probably be a little bit bummed that I wasn’t able to do both on the same day, but I think I would be happy.

“Happiest, though, if I did get to run both and didn’t have to come out of one car (if he had to miss one race due to a delay). We’ll just see how it goes. Hopefully the weather ends up working out for us.”

Kyle Larson, Arrow McLaren/Rick Hendrick Chevrolet, #98: Marco Andretti, Andretti Herta w/ Marco & Curb-Agajanian Honda, Kyle Kirkwood, Andretti Global Honda

Kyle Larson, Arrow McLaren/Rick Hendrick Chevrolet, #98: Marco Andretti, Andretti Herta w/ Marco & Curb-Agajanian Honda, Kyle Kirkwood, Andretti Global Honda

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Tony Stewart was most successful in running “The Double,” being the only driver to have completed all 1,100 miles across both races. In 2001, he finished sixth in a rain-delayed Indy 500 then ran third in the Coke 600 after starting from the rear of the field.

Larson’s appears on track so far for a result equally – or even more – impressive.

As Sunday’s day of races approaches, the question what form of “The Double” will Larson’s venture take?

“I mean, I think you could look at the forecast and get worried now,” Larson said. “I don’t know anything. I have no answers as far as decisions and all that. I don’t think anybody really does at this point.

“It just probably has to come down to game time decisions and playing it by ear. I don’t know. Hopefully the weather gods work out for us, and we can get both races in.”

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