Kyle Larson Commences 2024 Indianapolis 500 Preparation with Phoenix Test

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(UPDATED) Kyle Larson begins 2024 prep for Indy 500 with test at Phoenix

Following his fifth-place finish in NASCAR’s preseason exhibition at the Los Angeles Coliseum this past Saturday night, Larson is now gearing up for his next challenge: his inaugural attempt at the Indianapolis 500 in May.

Behind the wheel of Arrow McLaren’s No. 17 Chevrolet-powered entry, in partnership with Hendrick Motorsports, Larson will be making his debut at the one-mile, low-banked tri-oval.

This outing is considered a rookie evaluation for the team rather than an IndyCar Series test. A spokesperson from Arrow McLaren confirmed to that the team members assisting Larson at the upcoming test are the same individuals assigned to his Indy 500 program.

Kyle Larson Commences 2024 Indianapolis 500 Preparation with Phoenix Test
Kyle Larson Commences 2024 Indianapolis 500 Preparation with Phoenix Test (Credits: Autosport)

The only exception is veteran race engineer Mike Pawlowski, recently brought on board for this one-off effort, who won’t be present. Pawlowski boasts previous experience with teams such as AJ Foyt Racing, Andretti Global, and Chip Ganassi Racing, among others.

Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 winner who now serves as the Sporting Director for Arrow McLaren, will be present to provide Larson with coaching and feedback.

With the looming threat of rain potentially disrupting the test on Tuesday, on-track activities were rescheduled to Monday afternoon. Larson’s only other scheduled on-track session at this time is the Indy 500 Open Test on April 10-11.

The 31-year-old California native last piloted an Indy car in October during the Rookie Orientation Program at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, completing all three phases in 72 laps with a top speed of 217.898 mph.

Ahead of the test, Larson stated, “I’ve got a couple of tests coming up here if the rainstorm doesn’t hit too hard. I’m supposed to test Tuesday in Phoenix, and I think there is an open test in April. I would say once April rolls around, I’d say that’s when it’ll get hot and heavy on prep work. I’m so used to being busy, so I don’t think it’s really going to feel way different for me.”

“Just more studying and stuff behind the screen of a computer. It should be okay, I think. Our Cup team, hopefully, will be in a good spot where we’re fast and all of that.”

“You’re not stressing about that as much as you need to, but I want to do a good job, so it’s definitely going to take a lot of focus on the IndyCar side to do a good job.”

“I’m confident that I’m going to get all of the data and information to study with, and all of these extra laps will help me come the month of May and will help it all go smooth.”

Larson is aiming to become the first driver since Kurt Busch in 2014 to attempt the ‘Memorial Day Weekend Double’, which involves competing in both the Indy 500 and the 600-mile Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the same day.

The late John Andretti was the first to attempt this feat in 1994, followed by Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon, and most recently Kurt Busch in 2014.

Stewart achieved the most successful run in 2001, finishing sixth at Indianapolis and third at Charlotte.


By Jayson O'Neil

Jayson is a car-o-holic, and you will often find him writing about cars & bikes here at DaxStreet. You can reach out to him at [email protected]

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