Kyle Larson continued his preparation for the Indianapolis 500 in May with an evaluation test at Phoenix Raceway Monday evening. He is seeking to become just the fifth driver to race both the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.
The 2021 Cup Series champion laid down hot laps around the 1-mile oval and host of NASCAR’s Championship Weekend in the No. 17 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, with Hendrick Motorsports. Larson first got behind the wheel of the Indy car last October and re-adjusted to the hot rod throughout the evening.
“It was good to get some laps at a different place, a fast-paced track and get comfortable with lifting and stuff like that, so built up to it,” Larson said following the test run.
IndyCar used to hold events at Phoenix up until 2018, so Larson had few notes to go off with the current version of the series’ car not being the same as it was then.
“Obviously, the car is a lot different than what was (run) here in 2018, so don’t really know how my driving style was in reference to what somebody who races these things every weekend would be like,” Larson said. “But I feel like I got comfortable enough to where we finally found the edge and almost spun out off Turn 4, so that was good to have a moment like that.”
With varying lines to run and alternate choreography than what Larson is used to in the Cup Series, there’s still a lot for the 31-year-old to catch up on before the month of May at the Brickyard – the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Just ran through some pit-stop scenarios and making mistakes doing that was good, so felt like I did better getting into my stall than I did at the Indy Rookie Orientation. We were able to check a lot of boxes and get reacclimated.”
Next up for Larson will be the Indy 500 Open test in April at Indianapolis, which will serve as the final warmup before the first practice for the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 26.