Column: Kyle Larson Takes First Steps Toward Coke 600 / Indy 500 Double In 2024
Column By: REID SPENCER / NASCAR – DAYTONA BEACH, FL – Racing in the Indianapolis 500 has long been a dream of Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Larson.
Early last week, Larson took the first concrete step toward making that dream a reality. On a visit to the Arrow McLaren race shop in Indianapolis, Larson was fitted for the seat he will occupy during the 2024 running of the race.
The driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet already has made his mark in a wide variety of racing equipment. Among his accomplishments are winning the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series championship, the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, and the Knoxville Nationals and Kings Royal for winged sprint cars.
Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion and Larson’s teammate on the winning 2015 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona team, also attended the fitting.
“I know we will have a shot to win,” Larson said in a Hendrick Motorsports release. “This is definitely winning equipment. It’s going to be a fun experience. Want to soak it all in and try to do the best job we can come a year from now.”
Larson plans to race in the 2024 Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the same day. He would become the fifth driver to run that double—joining John Andretti, Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon and Kurt Busch.
Tyler Reddick Expects Early Tribulations To Serve Him Well When Playoffs Arrive
Almost assuredly, Tyler Reddick will qualify for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, thanks to his Mar. 26 victory on the road course at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Tex.
But the driver of the No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota hasn’t adjusted seamlessly to the transition to his new Toyota team. In fact, after moving from Richard Childress Racing to 23XI to start the 2023 season, Reddick has suffered through some spotty results on paved oval tracks.
“Honestly, I like to look at the ‘What ifs’ to a degree,” Reddick said. “We’ve had a lot of other good races that have kind of gotten away from us. But this is a new venture for me—my first year with Toyota, first year with this team and just trying to get to know everybody.
“I think, from that standpoint, we’re doing a really good job of that. It’s really great that we have that win, but we’re just building on all the important things that matter when the Playoffs come around.
“The numbers, while we’d certainly like to have a few more here or there in certain columns, it’s just about going through these experiences and learning together, so when it comes time to get down to business in the Playoffs, we’ve gone through all those trials, and we’re ready.”
Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez Enter CARS Race At Wilkesboro As All-Star Warmup
Trackhouse Racing drivers Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez provided strong indication of how serious they are about the May 21 NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
Both Chastain and Suarez have entered the CARS Tour Late Model Stock event scheduled at the venerable short track on Wednesday, May 17.
“I have never been to North Wilkesboro nor really spent much time driving a late model,” said Suarez, who will drive the No. 99 Jockey Chevrolet for R and S Race Cars from South Boston, Va.
“Every little bit helps. Plus, it’s going to be a lot of fun going short-track racing. Getting familiar with the track will help our program a lot.”
The NASCAR Cup Series hasn’t raced at .625-mile North Wilkesboro since 1996, when Jeff Gordon won the last points event held there. The NASCAR All-Star Race is an exhibition—but a lucrative one indeed.
“They are paying a million dollars and giving out a beautiful trophy to win the race,” said Chastain, who will drive the No. 28 Ambetter Chevrolet fielded by the Pinnacle Racing Group of Mooresville, N.C.
Trackhouse Racing owner Justin Marks is part of a group that acquired the CARS Tour at the end of the 2022 season. The ownership group also includes Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton.
Earnhardt, Harvick and Chase Briscoe also will compete in the May 17 race.