Kyle Larson on the move — in speedy Indianapolis 500 qualifying, then to North Wilkesboro for All-Star Race

Kyle Larson on the move — in speedy Indianapolis 500 qualifying, then to North Wilkesboro for All-Star Race

INDIANAPOLIS: Kyle Larson grinned after spending a few minutes calmly fielding questions from a horde of media hunching over riot barricades a short distance from his No. 17 Dallara-Chevrolet.

“There’s a great vibe to everything about Indianapolis,” he remarked. “I’m all set to go drive a stock vehicle now. I will so speak with you all later.

The winner of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series was now moving.

After saying a quick hello to his parents, Mike and Janet, Larson turned sharply left and was escorted by many security guards from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway toward the base of Victory Circle. He hardly stopped his fast pace to sign a few autographs before meeting up with Jeff Gordon and Andrews from Hendrick Motorsports.

From the top of the Tower Terrace grandstands, people were heard cheering, “We love you, baby! “Let’s go, Larson!”), and the group of people behind him walked a few more dozen steps to the media center door, where two Suburbans were waiting with their engines running.

Gordon and Larson got into a red SUV, and they drove through the infield to a helipad at Turn 2 of the Brickyard Crossing golf course.

It took him less than twenty minutes from the moment he got out of his race vehicle to the point at which he started to leave the property. For Larson, who is aiming to become the sixth driver to compete in both the Coca-Cola 600 and the Indianapolis 500 on the same day, it was another instance of his exceptional performance in the Brickyard.

His attempt at making history has been going really well.

He remarked, “I’m just happy because it’s really cool.” It’s gone far more smoothly than I could have imagined or hoped. I’m just happy for the entire Arrow McLaren team. I’m proud of the entire Hendrick Motorsports team. I’m glad that Rick and Linda Hendrick let me do this.

Yes, as far this week has been fantastic. We’ll thus be excited to move to racing mode and see what skills I can pick up there to prepare for the event.


Larson could have been discussing his next destination, which was the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway, where he was working hard to maintain his lead in the $1 million competition.

He meant, however, the 108th Indianapolis 500, where, as a rookie, he would start fifth after making it to Sunday’s final qualifying round.

The focus now changes to 230 mph traffic comfort, therefore Larson was returning directly to Indianapolis after the All-Star Race for a practice session on Monday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the 2.5-mile track. Larson will get one more chance on Friday during the two-hour final practice for Carb Day.

Rain this week had cut into practice by a few hours, so he was keen to go back to focus on his racecraft. However, Larson was also prepared to bid adieu to the exhilarating experience of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, which is determined by averaging the speeds of four nerve-racking laps around the 2.5-mile track.

After completing four 10-mile runs in the previous two days, Larson expressed his happiness at not having to perform another qualifying run. To be honest, it wasn’t that stressful at first, but as time goes on and you know they’re going to put the (turbo boost) up further, it becomes more worrisome every time you go out. You’re definitely looking for that little bit more speed.

“It seems like driving would be more difficult for someone without expertise. Thus, the sheer amount of nerves that fray each time is increasing. I’m relieved that we survived and that I won’t have to do four more laps in qualifying trim.

While Larson never made a mistake, he did have a significant moment on a practice lap on Sunday between Turns 1 and 2. The weekend’s audience of over 90,000 people was the biggest for Indy 500 qualifying in over a decade.

Two hours later, Larson defeated Indy 500 champions Takuma Sato and Ryan Hunter-Reay as well as Arrow McLaren teammate Pato O’Ward, earning one of the biggest cheers from the fans during the Fast 12.

“After Kyle Larson advanced to the pole shootout, people used to ask me or say to me, ‘Can you believe Kyle Larson?’ and I used to think the same way, but I don’t anymore,” Gordon said. “He simply never fails to step up, and it’s enjoyable to watch and take part in the whole experience.”

The focus now shifts to whether Larson can win the race on May 26th, as there is growing optimism that he may.

Mario Andretti remarked, “Well, he’s shown that he’s very comfortable so far.” “I think that young man will definitely be a factor in the race; he has the ability to really converge.” He competes in racing. That is all. He came for more than just a drive. He is undoubtedly going to give it his all since he came here to win.

That will occur concurrently with his attempts to win a few races in North Carolina, the first of which being the All-Star Race on Sunday night. Larson was able to arrive about an hour ahead of schedule in order to be ready for a race that would have an alternative tire, a new asphalt surface, and many other unknowns thanks to NASCAR’s assistance in delaying the green flag by 16 minutes.

To get his bearings, Larson has been speaking over the phone from Indianapolis with crew chief Cliff Daniels and replacement driver Kevin Harvick on Friday.

He remarked, “I actually look forward to the challenge of trying to figure it out quickly with zero laps there.” Thus, it ought to be enjoyable.

Since 1996, Nate Ryan has covered NASCAR for a variety of publications, including USA TODAY, the San Bernardino Sun, Richmond Times-Dispatch, and NBC Sports Digital for the last ten years. In addition to hosting the NASCAR on NBC Podcast, he has covered a number of other motorsports, such as the IMSA and IndyCar series.

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