Kyle Larson to attempt The Double in 2024 with Arrow McLaren, Hendrick
With 500 days to go until the 2024 Indianapolis 500—yes, you read that right, 2024—now the 108th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing’s one-off driver’s first entry, it might very well steal the show.
2021 NASCAR Cup champ and legendary dirt-track racer Kyle Larson has linked up with Arrow McLaren, with the support of his NASCAR boss Rick Hendrick, to run the 2024 Indy 500 on May 26. 2023 entries) became only the fifth driver to run The Double across IndyCar and NASCAR on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.
Similar to Kurt Busch, the last driver to attempt The Double in 2014, Larson will have more than a year to build up his knowledge of the Indy car with testing opportunities that will likely include a day on a non-IMS oval, as well as running his rookie mentoring program months in advance. From his debut in May, as 500 rookies have done in recent years.
His oil for his Indy 500 debut, as well as his car number, will be announced at a later date, but his entry will be owned by Hendrick and will carry title sponsorship from HendrickCars.com – Larson’s primary sponsor in the Cup Series for his No. 5 Chevy-powered ride.
“Competing in the Indianapolis 500 is a dream of mine and something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time — ever since I was a kid, before I started competing in sprint cars,” Larson said in a statement. “Doing this with Arrow McLaren and Mr. Hendrick, in particular, is a dream come true.
“I’m really looking forward to it, even though it’s still about a year and a half away…and maybe (I’ll take) a win or two that day.”
The 2021 Coca-Cola 600 at CMS was Larson’s second of 10 wins two years ago in what quickly became a dominant performance en route to his first Cup title in his first season with Hendrick Motorsports. To date, Larson has won 19 points-paying Cup races as well as the 2019 and 2021 All-Star Race and the 2014 Rookie of the Year Award.
Next year’s 500 will mark Hendrick’s first foray into IndyCar racing for a team owner whose stock car teams have won a Cup race record 291 points. He is also the winningest owner in NASCAR on the IMS Oval with 10 Brickyard 400 wins on the 2.5-mile oval (Jeff Gordon, 5; Jimmy Johnson, 4; Casey Kahne, 1).
“To have the opportunity to support Kyle, partner with an elite team like Arrow McLaren and promote HendrickCars.com in one of the world’s greatest motor racing events is truly unique,” Hendrick said in a statement. “Putting Kyle into top-tier equipment and allowing him plenty of time to prepare for such a tough challenge was important.
“A collaboration like this was just what we needed to make it happen, and luckily, the stars lined up. We are 100% committed to doing it right and look forward to working with Zack and his organization.”
Having been one of a handful of those in the NASCAR world who recently raised their hands as potential frontrunners who might want to follow in the footsteps of Busch, Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart and John Andretti, Larson looked like he might be poised to make a run at the 500 this year, as Zac Brown, President McLaren Racing executive, entering a major name in a one-off ride alongside his full-season three-car tandem Pateau Oward, Alexander Rossi and Felix Rosenqvist. Larsson, Hendrick & Gordon (Vice President of Hendrick Motorsports) held preliminary talks with the Brawn team but were unable to reach a deal that made sense to both sides.
In addition, McLaren’s IndyCar arm is also courting Kurt Busch’s younger brother Kyle, after it was revealed the latter will switch Cup teams and manufacturers in 2023 to Chevy and Richard Childress Racing from Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing. The younger Bush made it clear in his initial statements his longstanding desires to do “The Double” and his ability to finally pursue this opportunity that Toyota and Gibbs had previously denied. But in the end, Brawn said he prefers an experienced driver and a foolproof driver who has the talent to battle for the win. Arrow McLaren signed it to 2013 500 winner and 2022 third-place finisher Tony Kanaan.
As Kanaan had already hinted to IndyStar late last year, his 22nd appearance in Greatest Spectacle in Racing could be his last, though he said he wouldn’t race in May after making that decision firmly. In the Arrow McLaren release regarding the addition of Larson, he noted “an opening in the 2024 lineup,” hinting that Kanaan’s tenure at Arrow McLaren will definitely be for one race as the team considers bumping up to four cars full-time in 2024 that will make Larson its fifth driver.
There’s still a chance Johnson could precede Larson’s bid at “The Double,” who said earlier this week he’s still considering a 500th opportunity with Chip Ganassi Racing – the team he campaigned a full season’s IndyCar campaign with in 2022 before stepping away. stopped racing full-time to pursue an ownership share with what is now the Legacy Motor Club (formerly Petty GMS) with Richard Petty and Maury Gallagher. Johnson is currently committed to debuting his No. 84 Chevy at the Daytona 500, and he’s also said he’d like to run a few more Cup races in 2023—including perhaps an All-Star race that runs directly against qualifying for the 500, as well as Coca-Cola 600 in an effort to add “The Double” to his famous resume.