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Kyle Larson Staying in Indy; Justin Allgaier to Start Coke 600 in No. 5

Photo Credit: Craig White,

After 18-plus months of meticulous planning, Kyle Larson will not get the full experience of running ‘The Double’.

With a savage thunderstorm pushing the start time for the Indianapolis 500 back several hours, Larson will not have the time necessary to finish the legendary 500-mile contest and travel back to Charlotte, North Carolina, with the Coca-Cola 600 scheduled to begin at 6:22 PM ET.

Just before 3:00 pm ET on Sunday, Hendrick Motorsports confirmed that Larson would indeed remain at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500, leaving his status for the beginning of the NASCAR Cup Series event at Charlotte as unlikely.

Barring some early-race issues in the Indianapolis 500, or a delay in the start time at Charlotte, Justin Allgaier – the designated standby driver — will take the green flag behind the wheel of the no. 5 Chevrolet Camaro.

Thus, Allgaier will be credited with competing in Sunday’s 600-mile contest, plus any statistics accumulated at the end of the evening — no matter who is behind the wheel of the No. 5 when the checkered flag is displayed.

“It’s cool to see their preparation,” Allgaier said Saturday. “I’ve sat through the meetings and tried to understand their thought process on how they’re going to accomplish everything. If I know one thing with Hendrick Motorsports, it’s that every I is dotted and every T is crossed, and this week has been no different than that.”

The native of Riverton, Illinois has 81 previous starts in the NASCAR Cup Series, but only two since the debut of the seventh-generation racecar.

Allgaier has served as the fill-in driver for Hendrick Motorsports once before, piloting the No. 48 Chevrolet at Indianapolis in 2020 when Jimmie Johnson tested positive for COVID-19.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series veteran will attack the 1.5-mile racetrack with no laps of practice, something that Hendrick Motorsports wasn’t able to accomplish with only 20 minutes of practice.

“No, with the way it’s going to work out with the abbreviated practice, no option to get in that car,” said Allgaier. “We’ve spent a lot of time trying to get – if we have to make a driver swap, ready to go, but with the ability to do the wheel force testing and do some of the work for Chevrolet and then what I’ve done in the past with Hendrick – as far as just knowing which way their setups drive like, I feel like it should be kind of a plug-and-play situation.”

Last weekend at North Wilkesboro Speedway, NASCAR, working with Hendrick Motorsports and Kyle Larson, delayed the start time of the All-Star Race, to make sure the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro was able to take the green flag.

Between the uncertain timing in Indianapolis and the looming threat of weather later in the evening at Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR will be hard-pressed to significantly delay the start of the Coca-Cola 600 — at least to the degree that Larson would need to start the event in the No. 5 Chevrolet.

With Allgaier likely to start Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Charlotte — and more importantly, Larson not — the Elk Grove, California native will need NASCAR to grant him a post-season waiver.

As of the time of publishing, the sanctioning body has yet to confirm whether or not Larson will be granted a post-season waiver.

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