It’s not a stretch to say that when he thinks of the Indianapolis 500, Kyle Larson keeps looking at his watch.
“I think someday I’ll end up doing it, I just want to make sure the timing is right,” Larson said Wednesday on Happy Hours on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Larson would welcome the chance to follow Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Kurt Busch, who finished sixth in the 2014 Indy 500, in doing double-duty at both Indianapolis and in NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 later the same day. But he admits there’s a caveat.
“I would love to run (the 500),” Larson said. “The thing is the way we are (running) in Cup, I’m on the borderline of making the playoffs right now.
“And for me to go and run the Indy 500, which is something totally different than what I’ve ever grown up racing, I feel like I would have to dedicate so much of my time to learning how to be a good IndyCar driver. I don’t want to go there and just say I started in the field. I want to go there and do what Kurt (Busch) did, if not better.”
Larson admits to some other hesitation as well, including this story from 2017 where he said he was worried about some of the heavy crashes at Indy.
“I think that would take a lot away from my Cup stuff,” he said. “I know I race sprint cars and stuff and people might say that takes away from it but that’s something I’m comfortable with and I feel like that makes me a better driver in NASCAR.
“I don’t know if I would be hurting myself if I went and ran Indy. If I was able to get a win in the first … couple races of the Cup season, then I think I could go to Chip and be like, ‘Alright, I’m locked in the playoffs. Let’s go do it and give it a good effort, too.’
“It’s the biggest race in the world. I would love to a part of it, but I also want to be able to do good at it and also feel like I’m not taking anything away from my day job.”
Larson might be tempted to drive an IndyCar first at a place like Pocono Raceway and see if he could be competitive. Tony Stewart gave him some advice about that.
“I’ve heard Tony talk about it, running like Pocono or something the year before,” Larson said. “That would be a good deal I think.
“You look at their restarts, their restart procedures are way different. The pit stops are way different. Just everything is so different. You’ve got all sorts of knobs on your steering wheel. Different boosts and weight jacker settings that you do throughout a lap. There’s so much that I would have to learn.”