Kyle Larson will still run both races if Indy 500 is delayed a day

Kyle Larson at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo by Joe Skibinski | IMS Photo)

Kyle Larson is hoping for the best but planning for the worst. Sort of.  Larson is trying to become one of a few drivers to race in two of the biggest motorsports events in America on the same day: The Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600.

Mother Nature, however, may have other plans.

Currently the forecast for Sunday in Speedway, Indiana site of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, isn’t promising with chances of rain 70% and over including the possibility of severe storms.

“I mean, sure, yeah, it’s stressful because weather is always unpredictable, but you just don’t really know until it’s like happening,” Larson said Thursday. “So it’s hard to plan for weather. You can have all these plans and backup plans and backup plans for the backup plan. But you just can’t really do anything or react until it’s kind of the moment.”

Those reactions, thanks to the current forecast, could be based on a partial delay, or a complete washout.  A partial delay could mean that Larson will have to abandon his sixth place starting spot and head to Charlotte Motor Speedway to race in the 600.

“I think for me where I sit, if it’s going to rain, I hope it rains all day,” Larson said. “That way it can just get pushed to Monday or something, and then Charlotte is not going to rain, I just hope it doesn’t rain, and we can get it in on Sunday night and then come here Monday.”

Larson said he’s not sure how the team will react.

“I don’t know anything,” Larson said. “I have no answers for you guys as far as decisions and all that. I don’t think anybody really does at this point. It just probably has to come down to game time decisions and plan it by ear and yeah, I don’t know. So hopefully the weather Gods work out for us and do we can get both races in.”

He also isn’t sure what his input in that reaction will be.

“I’m the one behind the wheel, so I would think that I have some sort of play in logistics and all that and decisions,” Larson said. “But again, I mean, I think it all just comes down to, you know, game time and figuring it all out on the spot. So yeah,

“I think there’s, you have a plan, there’s backup plans for the backup plan and then backup plans for that plan. So you just don’t really know until it comes down to the moment.”

Should the Indy 500 take the green and then get delayed, Larson would have to make the decision whether to wait it out, or head to Charlotte. It’s a dilemma Tony Stewart faced in 2001 when he was trying to complete his second double. He was leading the Indy 500 and the rain came. The race was delayed but did get back underway. At least one of the Indy 500 drivers hopes Larson waits out any delay.

During their joint news conference this week, Santino Ferrucci, who finished third in last year’s Indy 500 reminded Larson that in 2001 Stewart elected to wait out the rain delay at Indy no matter the consequences when it came to the 600. He finished sixth at Indy and third in the 600.

“Yeah,” Ferrucci told Larson. “You’re good. Stay here. I like having you here.

“They didn’t have the playoffs back when he raced, so it’s a completely — yeah, dude, you’re good. I’d say he’s staying here.”

Should the Indy 500 get moved to Monday, denying Larson of a true same day double, he still wants to complete both races.

“I would love to be able to complete both races whether that’s on separate days, you know, whatever,” he said.  I guess. “But yeah, I mean, it’s the double, right? And is it truly the double If it’s not on the same day I don’t know.

“In a perfect world, I would love to have it all happen on the same day to have done it…I would for sure probably be a little bit bummed, that I wasn’t able to do both in the same day.

“But I think I would be happiest though if I did get to run both and didn’t have to, you know, come out one car or whatever.

“We’ll see how it goes. Hopefully the weather ends up working out for us.”

Greg Engle