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Kyle Larson 'Not Too Stressed' About Lost Indy 500 Practice Time

Kyle Larson 'Not Too Stressed' About Lost Indy 500 Practice Time

Kyle Larson hopes to finally get in Indianapolis 500 practice laps Wednesday afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

May 15, 2024 by Kyle McFadden
Kyle Larson 'Not Too Stressed' About Lost Indy 500 Practice Time

More than 24 hours now into official preparations for the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and Kyle Larson is still anxiously awaiting his first practice laps at race speed this crucial Month of May.

Tuesday’s wet weather that shortened opening day practice to 23 minutes, 37 seconds carried on into Wednesday morning, thus putting the second day of Indy 500 practice on hold as Larson and his NTT INDYCAR Series competitors hope they can squeeze any sort of on-track time before the session ends at 7 p.m.

As of 12:10 p.m., there’s optimism that’ll happen as the track drying process began around the 2.5-mile oval.

“I was hoping the weather would be good today, but turns out, it’s not,” Larson, 31, said during Wednesday morning’s media availability. “Yeah, would love to get on track at some point. I’m sure we will at some point today. I wish it was soon.”

Larson and the No. 17 Hendrickcars.com Arrow McLaren team were not among the 29 drivers to log laps at race speed on Tuesday because the Chevy-powered team wanted to “make sure everything is OK” with the car before the Elk Grove, Calif., hits the 2.5-mile at blistering speeds.

RELATED: Kyle Larson Recaps Rain-Shortened Indy 500 Opening Practice

The 2021 NASCAR Cup champion did make two install laps, which is “more for (his team) to go through the data and stuff” and where drivers get through their appropriate gears upon leaving pit road, exit pit lane onto the backstretch before ducking back onto pit road.

As straightforward as that may appear, there’s still anxiety there for Larson to overcome, especially the busyness on pit road.

“To me, everything happens so quick because it’s not natural to me,” Larson said. “Leaving the pit stall for the install lap, everybody leaves at the same time. And, like, people are already getting to my outside on pit lane. I’m like, ‘What the hell?’ I thought we’d, like, get up to speed here together.

“Then, too, you do your install stuff and pit and whatever. Then you go out, and they’re already at speed, and you’re wide open as soon as you’re on the track. Like, there’s just no time to build up to it because they’er all comfortable. They can go hard right away where I would like to build up to it a little bit slower, but you can’t. All that will become more natural with each rep that I get.”

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

Indianapolis International Airport — 13 miles southwest of Indianapolis Motor Speedway — has received 1.75 inches of rainfall since yesterday morning. For perspective, 2.84 inches of rain were recorded in Indianapolis all of last May, via the National Weather Service.

Also per NWS, Indianapolis has gotten on average 4.75 inches of rainfall since 1991. Larson hasn’t been at the wheel of an IndyCar since he made 47 laps during April 10’s open test in which he was second-quickest to reigning Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden (but largely because it was a tow lap where speeds in the draft increase).

Combining Oct. 12’s Rookie Orientation at IMS, Feb. 5’s test at Phoenix Raceway, and April 10’s open test, Larson has roughly 269 laps in an IndyCar with 119 of those coming at the famed Brickyard.

Of those hundred-plus circuits, he hasn’t learned much in terms of race craft — only how to make laps at a reasonable pace on his own — so that’s going to be the first business of order.

“I feel like I stay patient. It’s just once it’s time to go, then you’re like, ‘You got to go,’” Larson said. “It’s been all fine. I really haven’t gotten enough time yet to, like, get super comfortable. I think it’ll take a day to get comfortable with how people do things.”

Is he anxious about lost track time? If his words match how he’s truly feeling, then it doesn’t appear so.

“I’m not too stressed that it’s raining and stuff,” Larson said. “There’s more time to get used to things. Yeah, when you’re new to something, you want as much time as you can get. As I said, I’m not too stressed about it.”

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