Cup Champ Larson Headed To Indy 500 In 2024

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, January 14 2023

Kyle Larson will take his talent to Indy cars and the Indy 500 in 2024.. (File photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer

NASCAR superstar Kyle Larson will double his Memorial Day weekend workload in May 2024, when he joins Arrow McLaren for the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Larson’s Chevrolet-powered Dallara will be co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Rick Hendrick. Hendrick is chairman/CEO of Hendrick Automotive Group and the owner of Hendrick Motorsports, 14-time NASCAR Cup Series champions. Larson won the 2021 Cup championship in his rookie season with HMS. 

Additional details, including car number and livery for the McLaren Chevrolet, will be announced at a later date. But pending additional 2023 entries, Larson would become just the fifth driver to run “The Double” on Memorial Day Sunday _ competing in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway on the same day. 

Kyle’s double would be the first attempted since 2004 NASCAR Cup champ Kurt Busch competed in both events on May 25, 2014. Busch started 12th and finished a strong sixth at IMS driving for Andretti Autosport before flying to CMS, where his run for Stewart-Haas Racing ended on Lap 271 of 400 after dealing with a shock issue and ultimately, engine failure.

“Competing at the Indianapolis 500 is a dream of mine and something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time _ since I was a child before I ever began competing in Sprint Cars,” Larson said in a team news release from Indianapolis. “To do it with Arrow McLaren and Mr. Hendrick especially is a dream come true. I’m grateful for the opportunity and am really looking forward to it even though it’s still about a year-and-a-half away. I’m really looking forward to competing in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 and maybe even get a win or two that day.”

Larson, 30, will begin the 2023 Cup schedule at next month’s 65th annual Daytona 500 as the winner of 19 point-paying races, the 2019 and 2021 NASCAR All-Star Races and the 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year award. During his 2021 championship campaign, the Elk Grove, Calif., native won 10 point-races and led more laps in a single season (2,581) than any driver since 1995. 

Partnering with McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown, the 108th Indianapolis 500 will mark the first event as an NTT IndyCar Series owner for Hendrick, whose stock-car teams have won a record 291 point-paying Cup races. Hendrick also is NASCAR’s winningest owner at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with 10 Cup victories on the famed oval. 

“Having the opportunity to support Kyle, partner with an elite team like Arrow McLaren and promote HendrickCars.com in one of the world’s great auto racing events is truly unique,” Hendrick said. “All of us are competitors. Putting Kyle in top-level equipment and allowing ample time for him to prepare for such a difficult challenge was important.

“It’s going to be very, very special to field a Chevrolet in the Indy 500 as a car-owner. A collaboration like this was what we needed to make it happen and fortunately the stars aligned. We’re 100 per cent committed to doing it right and look forward to working with Zak and his organization.”

Entering his 12th season in Cup and third with Hendrick Motorsports in the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Larson consistently had expressed his interest to race the Indy 500 with Team Chevy. Arrow McLaren, with an opening in its 2024 lineup, plans to have him compete at the front of the traditional 33-car grid. 

Widely regarded as a world-class talent, Larson’s resume features more than 400 career wins in a variety of disciplines and vehicles on dirt and pavement. His versatility and experience compliments McLaren Racing’s investment, strategy and competition in different racing series.

“Adding Kyle Larson with a HendrickCars.com partnership to the Indy 500 lineup in 2024 is exciting for our Arrow McLaren team as well as for race fans,” Brown said. “He’s a complete driver, known for racing anything on wheels, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Kyle can do in an NTT IndyCar Series car.

“It’s been great working with Rick Hendrick and (Hendrick Motorsports vice chairman) Jeff Gordon to pull this together, so a big thank you to them for what’s to come in May 2024.” 

Larson will join a list of notable drivers to run for Arrow McLaren in the Indy 500, including two-time race-winner Juan Pablo Montoya, two-time Formula 1 World Driving Champion Fernando Alonso and 2013 race-winner Tony Kanaan. The latter will join the team of Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist and 2016 race-winner Alexander Rossi for the 2023 Indy 500.

“Kyle’s ability and desire to compete across so many disciplines of motor racing is as rare today as it is refreshing,” said Gavin Ward, racing director of Arrow McLaren. “He’s one of the best dirt track racers on the planet. He’s a NASCAR Cup champion. He’s won a Rolex 24 at Daytona. He’s an incredibly talented driver and has shown his ability to win no matter what he’s racing.

“I can’t think of a more exciting addition to Arrow McLaren’s 2024 Indy 500 lineup. We’re all racers on this team, and we’re going to give it everything to make sure this endeavor is as successful as possible.” 

McLaren Racing was founded by racing driver Bruce McLaren of New Zealand 60 years ago, in 1963. The team entered its first Formula One race in 1966. McLaren since has won 20 F1 world championships, 183 Formula 1 grand prixs, the Indianapolis 500 three times and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in its first attempt.     

McLaren Racing competes across five racing series. In 2023, the team will race in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship with McLaren F1 drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri; the NTT IndyCar Series with Arrow McLaren drivers Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist and Alexander Rossi; the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship with NEOM McLaren Formula E Team drivers René Rast and Jake Hughes and the Extreme E Championship with NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team drivers Emma Gilmour and Tanner Foust. The team also competes in the F1 Esports Pro Championship as McLaren Shadow, having won the 2022 Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships.


Veteran Argentine racing star Agustin Canapino will join Juncos Hollinger Racing’s NTT IndyCar Series lineup for the 2023 schedule.

Canapino, 32, will drive the team’s No. 78 Chevrolet-powered Dallara as teammate to Great Britain’s Callum Ilott. Canapino will be the first driver from Argentina to contest a full season in America’s premier open-wheel series since Juan Manuel Fangio II drove in INDYCAR 25 years ago.

Canapino is one of Argentina’s most successful drivers and steps up to INDYCAR after claiming 15 national championships in his homeland _ including multiple titles in the Super TC2000, Top Race V6 and Turismo Carretera categories.

Canapino has previous experience as a JHR driver, having raced for the Indianapolis-based team in 2019 when he formed part of its Cadillac DPi entry for the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.

Canapino successfully completed a private test in a current generation JHR Indy car at Sebring International Raceway in October. “For me, this is a great opportunity,” Canapino said in a team release from Indianapolis. “So, I’m very grateful to Ricardo Juncos, Brad Hollinger and all the sponsors that are making this possible. I’m going to do my best in every moment to get the best possible results.

“I’m going in with my mind set on learning and going step-by-step, but I’m also focused on evolving throughout the season. The goal is to finish the races, get to know the car and the circuits _ especially the ovals.

“INDYCAR is the most competitive and difficult category in the world, and the cars are the most demanding and require the maximum effort and preparation on my part. I’m happy to take on this challenge and I’m motivated to perform and repay those that have trusted me with this opportunity.”

Ricardo Juncos, JHR founder and Team Principal, believes Canapino’s race-winning pedigree will be a huge asset to his organization.

“To be able to communicate this news today is incredible for me and my team,” Juncos said. “It has been more than 20 years since I came to North American motorsports. It has been a long road of uninterrupted hard work in which I have been fulfilling different dreams, and to see this particular one becoming a reality is truly incredible.

“After a complete analysis of each of the options we had to drive our No. 78 car, we have made the decision that Agustín Canapino is the right choice. Brad Hollinger (team co-owner) and I have full confidence in his ability. With a very successful racing career in Argentina behind him, he exceeded all expectations when he trained at Sebring, and he’s confirmed that talent with what we’ve seen in his driving since.”

Hollinger is looking for the pairing of Canapino and Ilott to immediately move JHR up the INDYCAR pecking order. “Callum demonstrated significant potential during his inaugural 2022 campaign as he surprised the field with his strong pace while learning every track,” Hollinger said. “Partnering Agustín with Callum gives Juncos Hollinger Racing an extremely talented and proven driver lineup.

“Agustin brings an unparalleled level of success in multiple race series to the team. His ability to adapt is exceptional and the significant experience he has accumulated winning multiple championships will complement Callum and the team nicely. We look forward to competing at the tip of the arrow this year with the goal of multiple podiums.”

JHR’s decision to give Canapino his shot at INDYCAR came after a partnership to turn a series of exhibition laps and promote INDYCAR in Argentina at the end of last year. JHR and Canapino appeared at the Autódromo de Buenos Aires and the International Circuit of Termas de Rio Hondo during their “INDYCAR Exhibition” tour. Their presence marked the first time INDYCAR had run in Argentina for 51 years and 75,000 fans (60,000 in Buenos Aires and 15,000 in Rio Hondo) packed the stands to witness the historical moment.

Juncos believes the team’s appearance re-ignited his homeland’s passion for INDYCAR and his ambition is to see the series return there in the near future. Argentina’s last INDYCAR race was held at the Autodromo Ciudad de Rafaela in 1971, with Al Unser defeating Lloyd Ruby.

Juncos also confirmed a new collaboration between JHR and “Visit Argentina” to promote the country to motorsports fans in North America during 2023. “Representing my country permanently and promoting tourism in Argentina throughout the INDYCAR series, including at the famous Indy 500, fills me with pride and is another dream come true,” Juncos said.

Ricardo Sosa, executive secretary of INPROTUR added, “The presence of an Argentine driver again in INDYCAR represents a historical fact for the Argentine Republic. The work being done by the team led by another Argentinean in Ricardo Juncos should also be highlighted. It is an historic moment for the country, a big step forward in motorsports and we should all feel proud to be part of this unique story while Argentina continues to show the incredible pool of drivers it has.

“Argentina is once again present in the INDYCAR series and especially in the U.S. market, which is our main source of tourists from non-bordering countries. We are convinced this is the way forward, working together and positioning the sport with Argentina.”

Formed in 2021, Juncos Hollinger Racing is a championship-winning team fielding multiple cars in the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, the Indy Lights Series and the NTT IndyCar Series. The mission of Juncos Hollinger Racing is to mentor drivers from around the world into the next level of their careers through its Driver Development Program.

Editor’s Note: John Sturbin is a Texas-based journalist specializing in motorsports. During a near 30-year career with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he won the Bloys Britt Award for top motorsports story of the year (1991) as judged by The Associated Press; received the National Hot Rod Association’s Media Award (1995) and several in-house Star-Telegram honors. He also was inaugural recipient of the Texas Motor Speedway Excellence in Journalism Award (2009). His list of freelance clients includes Texas Motor Speedway, the Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, Rome (N.Y.) Daily Sentinel, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller Times, NASCAR Wire Service, Ford Racing and Used Car Dealer magazine).

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, January 14 2023
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