2024 Indianapolis 500 Coverage

Kyle Larson Recaps Rain-Shortened Indy 500 Opening Practice

Kyle Larson Recaps Rain-Shortened Indy 500 Opening Practice

Kyle Larson will have to wait until Wednesday morning to log his first official Indianapolis 500 practice laps.

May 14, 2024 by Kyle McFadden
Kyle Larson Recaps Rain-Shortened Indy 500 Opening Practice

Kyle Larson was not among the 29 drivers to log laps at race speed during Tuesday's rain-shortened opening practice of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, which was ultimately cut short by wet weather that moved through Indianapolis Motor Speedway starting at 9:26 a.m.

The Chevy-powered No. 17 Hendrickcars.com Arrow McLaren team did make an install lap to ensure Larson could get through all the gears without an issue plus be able to make it on and off pit road OK. But per a team official, Larson didn't log a lap at race speed because the team wanted to "make sure everything is OK" with the car before the Elk Grove, Calif., driver took to the 2.5-mile oval.

"The install stuff is more for all them to go through the data and stuff," Larson told FloRacing. "I only made like a half a lap basically. I just went to speed through turns one and two pitted."

Six-time NTT INDYCAR Series champion and 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon led all drivers with a lap of 229.107 mph from the practice sessions that only lasted 23 minutes.  

Larson recorded the second-fastest lap of the rain-shortened morning test session, clocking in at 226.384 in his Arrow McLaren No. 17 race machine. Only the defending Indy 500 champion was faster, as Josef Newgarden ran a lap at 228.822 mph.

The 2021 NASCAR Cup champion's latest laps — 47 of them to be exact— at IMS were during April 10's open test session where he posted the second-quickest time of the day at 226.384 mph, slowest only to reigning Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden's mark of 228.811 mph. 

Despite Larson needing to wait until Wednesday's 10 a.m. practice to resume on-track pursuits, he can at least soak in the Indy 500 experience a little bit more at a time.

"It's just a lot to learn. I want to get out there and make laps," Larson said. "Just happy to be here and (that) it's finally arrived where I get this experience of competing in the Indy 500. I know I'm with a great team with Arrow McLaren and having Hendrickcars.com on board, and help from Hendrick Motorsports as well is pretty cool.

"Yeah, just hoping for a good couple weeks here and just learn as much as I can each time I get out there. And try to get familiar with things before we get into qualifying this weekend and then obviously the race next week."

Tuesday wasn't an entire washout, though, as he became more familiar with the high-tech cockpit of the IndyCar. That's important, too.

"In this, you have weight jackers, fuel mappings, different pages on the dash to go to. I don't know if I said the weight jacker? But the weight jacker as well. The clutch on the steering wheel ... paddle shifters. It's a lot more in-depth of a cockpit and a lot tighter of a confinement, too. 

"There's a lot of stuff to get used to, not only in the cockpit, but outside the cockpit. It's just a lot. Just trying to process as much as I can and thankfully have a lot of track time to hopefully (figure it out)."

RELATED: Kyle Larson Breaks Down Latest IndyCar Test Ahead Of Indy 500 Debut

But when Larson gets back on track, he knows exactly what the first order of business will be.

"I think for us, these first couple days, we want to get there in traffic as much as possible," Larson said. "And learning as much as we can with traffic and balance — and anything, really. I don't even know ... like I'm sure there's going to be a lot of other stuff I'll learn that I'm not even thinking about right now. As we get closer to the weekend, we'll swap over to qualifying mode."

So, with now a lot more time on his hands on opening day, what could he have planned the rest of the afternoon?

"I'm not sure what the rest of the day holds," Larson said. "I'm sure we'll have a meeting to go over what we did up to this point today."

He then laughed, perhaps humored that he can't envision what the team meeting would look like because he's naive to what to fully expect.

"I'm sure I won't have to talk probably," Larson said through another laugh, implying he'll be doing most of the listening and absorbing of information.

Team meetings aside, Larson's got one more priority the rest of the evening.

"I need to go get a haircut ... Owen (my son) needs a haircut," Larson said. "That's what my plan is for the rest of the day, pretty much. I texted (Kubota High Limit Racing campaigner) Spencer Bayston last night asking where he goes. I think we're all going to meet up later to go together. It needs to start raining soon, though. I need my hair cut."

2024 Indianapolis 500 Coverage