Motorsport News

Inside Kyle Larson’s quest for the Indy 500-Coke 600 Double

Inside Kyle Larson's quest for the Indy 500-Coke 600 Double

SPEEDWAY, Ind., and CONCORD, N.C. — Kyle Larson fears no race car, racetrack or racing rival.

He is widely considered to be the most versatile racer of his generation, a modern day A.J. Foyt or Mario Andretti. That’s why the idea of taking on arguably the most daunting challenge that American motorsports has to offer, attempting to complete the planet’s biggest race (the Indianapolis 500) and NASCAR‘s most grueling race (the Coca-Cola 600) on the same day was so attractive. Because Kyle Larson fears nothing and loses to few.

On Sunday, though, Mother Nature kicked Kyle Larson’s ass.

His reaction? To figure out a way to do it all over again.

“Don’t try to question it, because, no offense, you don’t really understand it,” Andretti himself said on Sunday, admittedly jealous of the 31-year-old’s carefully planned and ultimately doomed Double attempt. “Anyone [in Indianapolis] or in Charlotte or over in Monaco this morning, anyone with a racing helmet in their hand today, they get it. It makes sense to them. To us. Racers. It’s why we root for Kyle, because we want to do it as well.”

Even if it fails?

“If it fails, that’s just lessons learned for the next time. And the next. Until you get those trophies,” expounded the man with so many trophies, from IndyCar, Formula One and NASCAR, too.

On Sunday, Larson completed only 200 laps and 500 miles of what was supposed to be a 600-lap/1,100-mile day. He also sprinted through 619 miles of travel, carried over that distance by way of two golf carts, two Chevy Suburbans, two helicopters and a Dassault Falcon 2000LXS. To make all of that happen took more than a year of planning by dozens of people working for two legendary race teams, NASCAR’s Hendrick Motorsports and Arrow McLaren of IndyCar. The meetings were endless. The logistics were exhausting. It was all going to work. Until it didn’t.

“There were so many scenarios that could have played out so many different ways,” Larson said Sunday just before midnight, in the rain-soaked Charlotte Motor Speedway garage, the Coca-Cola 600 having just been called by NASCAR, with Christopher Bell declared the winner with 151 of 400 laps…

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