Don’t count on Kyle Larson competing in this year’s Indianapolis 500, but car owner Chip Ganassi doesn’t discount the idea for the future.
Ganassi addressed the matter with reporters this weekend in Long Beach, California, where the IndyCar Series races today.
The idea of Larson driving a fifth car for Ganassi at Indy next month has become more popular since Larson’s Cup win last month at Auto Club Speedway, which all but guarantees Larson a spot in NASCAR’s playoffs.
Asked about Larson driving in this year’s Indy 500, Ganassi said: “I think it’s just a matter of us having the right timing. Obviously, it takes sponsorship. What happens is every time this gets talked about it’s always in April and May. Nobody wants to talk about it in June, July and August for the following year. All these social media people want to blow me up in April, ‘Let’s do it.’ It takes a little planning.
“He knows I’m open to it if we want to sit down and make a plan and do it the right way.’’
Does Ganassi think Larson could be a natural to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day?
“Yes,’’ Ganassi said. “I think there are other guys it’s a natural for, too.
“We’re in an enviable position. When you have good cars and a good manufacturer, you’ve got a lot of people who want to drive your cars. Not that Larson wouldn’t be at or near the top of the list. There’s opportunities out there.
“I think Kyle understands we have to weigh what’s good for Kyle and what’s good for the business. If it’s a great thing for Kyle and a bad thing for the business, he know that doesn’t work and vice versa. Right now there are some other things going on in the team that we need to be focused on, so as of this May it’s going to be pretty much status quo.’’
Larson enters today’s Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway leading the points.
The last NASCAR driver to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day was Kurt Busch in 2014. Busch finished sixth in the Indy 500 to earn rookie of the year honors and placed 40th in the Coca-Cola 600 after his engine blew. Other drivers who have competed in both events in the same day are Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon and John Andretti, who was the first to accomplish the feat in 1994.
Tony DiZinno contributed to this report