Larson prepares to complete rare Indy-Charlotte double

motorsport24 May 2024 20:57| © Reuters
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Kyle Larson © Gallo Images

Kyle Larson's career is zooming at a rate that has to be clocked with a stopwatch and digital scoring, and race fans will get to see plenty of him this weekend.

In what is a delightfully full weekend for motorsports fans and gearheads around the world, this Sunday presents unrivaled high-speed action and competitive on-track maneuvering from one of the world's most glamorous cities to NASCAR's home turf, where bragging rights are at stake.

The Memorial Day weekend offerings start early Sunday morning with Formula One's Monaco Grand Prix then shifts to the US for the Indianapolis 500 in the afternoon and the NASCAR Cup Series' longest race, the Coca-Cola 600, in Charlotte in the evening.

Not a bad day of finely tuned, roaring, mechanical drama, hey?

Larson will try to compete in two-thirds of those events, similar to what he did last week when he qualified fifth for the 108th Indy 500 and quickly jetted to western North Carolina for NASCAR's All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway and ran fourth.

The 31-year-old Larson leads NASCAR's top series in points, 30 ahead of Martin Truex Jr., and ranks first in top-five finishes (six), laps led (649) and stage wins (seven).

The Elk Grove, Calif., product is also one of a trio of multiple winners through 13 races, with his two wins trailing Denny Hamlin and William Byron with three each.

Larson will race anything, it seems, and if there was physically some way to pull off a Memorial Day Triple of Monaco, Indianapolis and North Carolina's Queen City, you get the feeling the No 5 Hendrick Motorsports driver would try that, too.

But for now it's just Indy and Charlotte, a dicey duo of potentially 1 100 miles of racing with 400 miles of flying in between to complete The Double.

He will become the 11th driver to tackle two of racing's most prestigious tracks. Only Tony Stewart was able to run all 1 100 miles, which he did in 2001. Kurt Busch in 2014 was the last to attempt the feat.

However, Indy has an 80 per cent chance of rain Sunday.

"I think for me where I sit, if it's going to rain, I hope it rains all day," Larson said Thursday. "That way it can just get pushed to Monday or something, and then Charlotte is not going to rain, I just hope it doesn't rain, and we can get (Charlotte) in on Sunday night and then come here Monday."

While race-winner Joey Logano and Larson were busy battling North Wilkesboro's newly paved surface last Sunday, another kind of fracas went on following the 200-lap short track event.

After Ricky Stenhouse Jr. waited all race and slugged Kyle Busch outside the No 8 Chevrolet team's hauler for two incidents on the first two laps, NASCAR penalised Stenhouse $75 000, the largest fine ever for fighting.

The Olive Branch, Miss., native vowed to wreck Busch's Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet this Sunday, while Ricky Stenhouse Sr. was suspended indefinitely for his role in the incident.

Meanwhile, with Stenhouse and Busch having 400 laps in a long night at Charlotte to figure this all out, an adage that NASCAR created in 2010 to settle on-track disputes might still be applicable: "Have at it, boys."