Photo: Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment

Hendrick, Arrow McLaren Unveil Schemes for Larson’s Double Attempt

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

INDIANAPOLIS – Kyle Larson is one step closer to making the Memorial Day Double at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway a reality.

Ahead of Sunday’s running of the NASCAR Cup Series Verizon 200 at the Brickyard, Larson along with Hendrick Motorsports and Arrow McLaren unveiled the two Chevrolets that he will pilot in 2024 when he attempts to run all 1100 miles of the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600.

Both cars, including Larson’s No. 5 Cup car and the No. 17 Chevrolet he will run at Indianapolis, will feature sponsorship from and an orange, blue, and white paint scheme.

“Obviously I’m extremely excited, but at the same time, I’m so busy racing and trying to take care of my family that I haven’t — like it hasn’t really set in yet that it’s truly a reality,” Larson said. “When you have days like today and you unveil the car, all those little steps, it definitely makes it seem more real.

“But I’m sure once things slow down in the off-season and I have a lot of time to sit around and think about the upcoming season is when it’s really going to hit. I’m sure that’s when all the nervousness will start to creep in, but as well as the excitement.”

Rick Hendrick, who owns Larson’s car in the Cup Series, explained that getting to have one of his cars and drivers in the field will allow him to check another marquee race off his bucket list, with Indianapolis joining Daytona, Charlotte, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“I think Daytona and the Indy 500, and I got to do the 24 Hours of Le Mans, so I’m kind of getting my bucketful here,” Hendrick added. “I never dreamed I’d go to Daytona in a stock car, so we’re coming up on 40 years next year. This is such an unbelievable place, that and Charlotte, doing the 600 and this race. It’s going to be unbelievable.

“We all talked about it. Kyle wanted to do it. We’re just very fortunate that Arrow McLaren were able to put it together for us. So, I can’t wait to have that car in the museum.”

Hendrick added that the idea of participating in the Indy 500 is something he has pondered for a number of years, but this is finally the time when everything fell into place to make it happen.

“Jeff Gordon and I talked about it, but he wasn’t really keen. He was so focused on driving the Cup car. But this is the first time that we really got serious with it.

“So Roger [Penske] and I have talked about it for years. I actually had a sticker on his car a couple years back. But no, this is the first real effort that we said, hey, let’s go do it.”

Larson has already been deep into preparations with Arrow McLaren for his NTT IndyCar Series debut, having gotten his seat fitted and running simulator laps with the team to get a feel for the nuances of the open wheel car, but things will get real later this year when Larson takes part in his Rookie Orientation Program and makes his first laps in anger around the 2.5-mile speedway.

Currently, that ROP is scheduled for sometime in October.

“I definitely, obviously, look forward to October and getting to do the rookie orientation,” Larson said. “I am — I have thought about that a little bit, so I am nervous when I do think about that. But I think once I get in the car, a lot of those nerves will hopefully go away after a few laps, and it will feel like home, just like all the other race cars I drive.”

Following his ROP, additional testing is in the process of being scheduled and laid out, along with other possible oval testing to give Larson more time in the car at the intense speeds that an Indy car can create.

“We’re building up that plan,” said Arrow McLaren Racing Director Gavin Ward. “So we’ll kind of communicate that once it’s all kind of finalized. Yeah, just in general, trying to maximize everything we can to get up and running as best as possible.”

“No matter what the results are out of this, he’ll be a better race car driver. I love that because that’s kind of how I see it for the team. No matter how we do on this, and we’ll put our everything in to make it a success, we’ll come out as better race teams. That’s the mentality that I love and preach, so it’s nice to hear that.”

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.