Kyle Larson has ruled out competing at this year’s 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500.
The 29-year-old California native drove the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to 10 wins, along with a victory in the All-Star race, en route to his maiden NASCAR Cup Series championship. Throughout the last half of 2021, Larson has been the subject of speculation as a possible entrant into “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”. Despite the grinding schedule that extends 38 race weekends (including non-points events) in NASCAR, he continues to find time to race – and win – in other disciplines, which includes being a two-time Chili Bowl Nationals champion and winner of the Knoxville Nationals.
While Larson admitted interest in wanting to race at the Indy 500, which would likely mean pulling double duty with the Cup Series showcasing its own Memorial Day weekend event with Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, it won’t happen at this year’s edition set for May 29.
“Yeah, no I mean I think it’s too late in the game for this year,” said Larson, during a media availability on Wednesday ahead of this weekend’s Daytona 500. “If I ever run the Indy 500, I want to be prepared. I want to show up with the feeling that I have a shot to win. I don’t want to just show up and be like, ‘Oh I get to compete in the Indy 500, that is really cool.’ Like I want to go there and be confident and know that I have a shot to run up front.
“With that takes a lot of preparation, a lot of work and I don’t think that’s something you can fully get done in a few months. I mean down the road, I’d like to do it, but I want to do it when the time is right and right now in February 2022 is not the right time. I think it is something more so down the road, but I definitely want to do it someday.”
In a recent interview with Sports Business Journal, Jeff Gordon, a four-time Cup champion that recently took over as Vice Chairman of Hendrick Motorsports, admitted the organization fully supports the possibility of Larson competing in the crown jewel event of the NTT IndyCar Series.
Gordon said, “we’re open to it, but we’d like to at least discuss as a group what makes the most sense — this is the priority here, and if he went to drive in the Indy 500, we’d want to make sure we’re supporting it, embracing it and excited about it because we think both can be done well.”
For Larson, the support is appreciated.
“It was cool to read Jeff’s article or whatever that said they were open to it,” Larson said, “and yeah we will see.”