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Kyle Larson 18th in Indy 500; misses out on ‘The Double’

Kyle Larson 18th in Indy 500; misses out on 'The Double'

INDIANAPOLIS — Rain was not Kyle Larson’s friend Sunday.

Larson was determined to complete the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600, known as “The Double,” but didn’t get a chance to run a single lap in the NASCAR race.

Storms swept through Indianapolis Motor Speedway and delayed the start of the race, ruining Larson’s chance at finishing all 1,100 miles in a single day. But after driving his No. 17 car to an 18th-place finish in his debut in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” — despite a pair of rookie mistakes — the NASCAR star nevertheless headed to Charlotte.

After two helicopter rides and about an hourlong flight, Larson arrived for the 400-lap race that Justin Allgaier had started in his place. Just as he arrived, weather brought the race to a halt with 151 laps left, giving Larson time to climb into the No. 5 car.

But he never got to turn a lap at Charlotte as the race was called after a two-hour rain delay, with Christopher Bell getting the victory.

“I would definitely love to be back next year,” Larson said of the Indy 500. “Feel like I learned a lot. Made a couple of mistakes early there with the restart — not sure what I did there. Feel like I did a really good job after that and was able to learn a lot.”

Larson started fifth and spent most of the Indy 500 — won for the second time in a row by Josef Newgarden — hanging with the leaders. But he made a minor mistake going through the gears on an early restart and lost about 10 spots, then made a major one later in the race, when Larson locked up the tires entering pit road and was caught speeding.

Larson was sixth at the time but had to drive through pit road again to serve the penalty, shuffling him outside the top 20. He managed to pick up a couple of spots over the last 70 laps but never got a caution that could have given him a chance.

“It killed our opportunity,” Larson said of the pit-road mistake. “Could have executed better.”

Arrow McLaren fielded the car for Larson in a partnership with Hendrick Motorsports. With rain in the forecast all week, the big question entering Sunday was whether NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick would pull the plug on the effort and send Larson to Charlotte early so that he could race for stage points and help his chances in the Cup Series playoffs.

But when the rain ended, a spokesman for Hendrick Motorsports confirmed that the Indy 500 would be the priority.

“I think it would be fantastic to have him back,” said…

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