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Kyle Larson to resume Indy 500 preparations with Phoenix IndyCar test

NASCAR Cup star Kyle Larson will be on track in an IndyCar for the first time in 2024 when he tests for Arrow McLaren at Phoenix on Tuesday.

Kyle Larson

Kyle Larson

IndyCar

After finishing fifth in NASCAR's preseason exhibition at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Saturday night, 2021 Cup champion Larson will resume his preparations for his first attempt at the Indianapolis 500 at the one-mile, low-banked Phoenix tri-oval.

The outing is regarded as a rookie evaluation for the team and not an IndyCar Series test. A representative with Arrow McLaren confirmed that every team member working with Larson at the test is the same group assigned for his Indy 500 programme.

The lone participant that will not be in attendance is veteran race engineer Mike Pawlowski, who was recently signed for the one-off effort after previous stints at AJ Foyt Racing, Andretti Global and Chip Ganassi Racing.

Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 winner who now serves as the Sporting Director for Arrow McLaren, will be on hand to help Larson with coaching and feedback.

It is understood that should the threat of rain potentially impact the test on Tuesday, there are no plans to make it up with on-track running the following day. The only other on-track running planned for Larson at this time is the Indy 500 Open Test on 10-11 April.

The 31-year-old previously drove an IndyCar in October as part of the Rookie Orientation Programme at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he completed all three phases in 72 laps with a fastest at 217.898 mph.

“I’ve got a couple of tests coming up here if the rainstorm doesn’t hit too hard,” said Larson, who will also be making his IndyCar debut.

“I’m supposed to test Tuesday in Phoenix, and I think there is an open test in April.

Kyle Larson at the rookie orientation program

Kyle Larson at the rookie orientation program

Photo by: IndyCar Series

“I would say once April rolls around, I’d say that’s when it’ll get hot and heavy on prep work. I’m so used to being busy, so I don’t think it’s really going to feel way different for me.

“Just more studying and stuff behind the screen of a computer. It should be okay, I think.

“Our Cup team, hopefully, will be in a good spot where we’re fast and all of that.

“You’re not stressing about that as much as you need to, but I want to do a good job, so it's definitely going to take a lot of focus on the IndyCar side to do a good job.

“I’m confident that I’m going to get all of the data and information to study with, and all of these extra laps will help me come the month of May and will help it all go smooth.”

Larson is vying to become the first driver since Kurt Busch in 2014 to attempt the ‘Memorial Day Weekend Double’, which consists of the competing in the Indy 500 and 600-mile Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the same day.

The late John Andretti was the first to attempt it in 1994, and has since been followed by Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon and most recently Busch.

Stewart delivered the most successful run in 2001, when he finished sixth at Indianapolis and third at Charlotte.

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