Last September, not long after he won his first NASCAR Cup Series race, Kyle Larson was asked on the NASCAR on NBC podcast if he’d talked with owner Chip Ganassi about competing in the Indianapolis 500.
“He always told me to worry about winning your first Cup race ,” Larson said. “I would love to run the Indy 500 at least once.”
As of Sunday, Larson has two Cup wins driving the No. 42 for Chip Ganassi Racing.
But according to his team owners, they would prefer that he stay away from extracurricular racing outside stock cars.
Minority co-owner Felix Sabates said if Larson raised the subject of the Indy 500 this year, the answer likely would be negative.
“No, I don’t think so,” Sabates said Monday night on “The Late Shift” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “It’s a different kind of racing all together. Kyle would probably be one of the few guys, like Tony Stewart, because he ran (an) open-wheel car for a long time, he could adapt to it.
“But no need for him to go take a risk of hurting himself just for one race. It just doesn’t work.”
One of Larson’s other hobbies is returning to his roots and competing in sprint car races whenever he can. CGR reportedly allows him to compete in 25 sprint races a year (with the next coming Wednesday at Placerville Speedway). But Ganassi said to USA Today Sports he’d be more comfortable if Larson no longer indulged in that form of racing.
“Let’s just say this: I do get concerned when he wants to do that,” Ganassi told reporter Brant James. “I would say I’d be much happier if he said he wanted to go play golf. But also, at the same time, I don’t want to slow him down. If he thinks that makes him better, OK, great. If he thinks that’s slowing him down, I would think he would stop it. But for now, he thinks it makes him better.”
Stewart participated in “The Double” of competing in the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 twice in his career, in 1999 and 2001. In the second attempt, Stewart competed for Ganassi at Indy and finished sixth.
When Gordon attempted it for the first of five times in 1997, he competed in both races for Sabates’ SABCO Racing.
But at the time, Gordon wasn’t competing full time in either the Indy Racing League or NASCAR. He started 20 of 32 Cup races that season.
Larson is currently on top of the Cup point standings following his win at Auto Club Speedway. He assumed the points lead for the first time in his career after three consecutive runner-up finishes following his near-win in the Daytona 500.
The 24-year-old driver is in his fourth full-time Cup season with Ganassi. But Larson was teasing a possible attempt at “The Double” as early as December 2015.
Last May, Larson visited Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Ganassi on the first day of practice for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
Still winless in NASCAR at the time, Larson allowed himself an even bigger window when it came to prerequisites for entering the race.
“It would be incredible to start the 500 someday in the future … but it’s more up to the guy on my left (Ganassi),” Larson said. “Maybe after I win a Cup race, or two or three … or maybe a championship … I can run the Indy 500.”
With or without Larson, this year’s Indy 500 will be run on May 28. Larson can be seen in his full-time ride later in the day in the Coca-Cola 600.