June 24, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson, 5, climbs into his car for a pit stop before the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway. A few months ago, Hendrick Motorsports and Arrow McLaren announced that Kyle Larson will compete in the Coca-Cola 600 and INDY500 “Double Duty” series next season. But while Larson’s Herculean event is scheduled for May 2024, his journey has already begun.
On October 12, 2021, the cup champion will have a Rookie Orientation program. But the prospect of someone as experienced and popular as Kyle Larson running in the INDY500 has many big names excited and looking forward to next season’s events. One of those names is Roger Penske, who owns teams in the IndyCar Series, NASCAR Cup Series, IMSA SportsCar Championship Series and FIA World Endurance Championship Series, as well as Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Roger Penske was excited to have Kyle Larson drive in next year’s INDY500 Speaking of Larson and Hendrick Motorsports entering the INDY500 series next season, $4.1 million billionaire team and track owner Roger Penske shared his excitement. “I think bringing Kyle Larson and Rick Hendrick here is a big advantage for us as a track owner and for the series,” Penske said. “Seeing Kyle do what he’s been able to do with every other race car will be a real trip for all Indianapolis fans. Added Penske: “We’ve had Europeans come here and win this race, but Larson, who competes every week, is a fan favorite every weekend. To have him come here is an amazing thing.”
But while what Kyle Larson is trying to do next year may seem impossible to some, he certainly won’t be the first to attempt the feat. Before Larson, four drivers had completed the Coke 600-INDY 500 double. Two of those four became NASCAR champions. Larson becomes the fifth driver to attempt what no one has ever done before The four drivers are Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, John Andretti and Robby Gordon. In fact, Gordon tried “double duty” five times. But of the four, only Stewart was able to compete and complete both races, or in other words complete 1,100 miles.
Jeff Gordon can also be presented as someone who participated in both races. It wasn’t all from a racing perspective for the 4x Cup champion, however, as he drove the pace car at Indiana before flying to the Coke 600 at Charlotte in 2015 in his final NASCAR season.
So Kyle Larson has plenty of big names to look to for inspiration and advice. And with Roger Penske and Rick Hendrick backing him for success, there’s a good chance Yung Money will just do what no one has done before him.