Former NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson plans to make his first bid at racing in the Indianapolis 500 in 2024.
The deal was announced Thursday, outlining a plan for the 30-year-old driver to make his first attempt to qualify for the Memorial Day classic with the Arrow McLaren IndyCar Team. The effort comes with the backing and apparent blessing of NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick, who will co-own and sponsor the entry through his HendrickCars.com automotive group.
“I’m super excited,” Larson told HendrickMotorsports.com. “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 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 Charlotte 600 and maybe even get a win or two that day.”
Larson has not competed in the NTT IndyCar Series, but has proven his versatility in a variety of vehicles on both asphalt and dirt. He also follows the path of former Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson, a seven-time Cup Series champion who made his first Indy 500 start as part of a full-time IndyCar schedule last year.
Larson is a 19-time winner in the NASCAR Cup Series and enters his third season driving the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. He won the series championship in 2021 and placed seventh in the circuit’s final standings last year.
The last NASCAR Cup Series regular to compete in both the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day was Kurt Busch, who had double duty in 2014. Busch was the rookie of the year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a sixth-place finish, but engine failure shorted his effort in the 600-miler at Charlotte Motor Speedway and relegated him to 40th place.
Arrow McLaren will field entries for returning drivers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist this season, while also adding 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi to its roster for 2023. O’Ward finished second, and Rosenqvist was fourth behind winner Marcus Ericsson in last year’s Indianapolis 500.