“Almost Spun Out”- Kyle Larson Finds Himself in Tough Waters as He Steps Into the World of IndyCar

Published 02/07/2024, 2:56 AM EST

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In its rich history, NASCAR has seen some versatile drivers in every generation. Drivers like Tony Stewart and Mario Andretti continue to radiate the spirit of racing, irrespective of the circuit and the car. Hendrick Motorsports star Kyle Larson is the latest driver to follow in their footsteps. Last year, Larson announced that he aimed to become the first NASCAR driver to complete the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 double since 2014.

Owing to Rick Hendrick and the team’s affiliation with IndyCar powerhouse Arrow McLaren, Kyle Larson capitalized on the opportunity. Having completed the Rookie Orientation Program in October last year, Larson has returned to IndyCar this week at Phoenix. Revealing his experience from Monday’s day-long practice sessions with five sets of tires, the 31-year-old listed the challenges of racing in an IndyCar.

Kyle Larson has a scare in the Arrow McLaren IndyCar at Phoenix


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The 2021 Cup Series champion aims to replicate Kurt Busch‘s feat in 2014. Busch was the last NASCAR driver to race in the two prestigious races nine years ago, joining an exclusive club of drivers to try the double. After enrolling in last year’s orientation program, Larson pointed out the massive difference between racing a Cup Series car and an IndyCar vehicle.

Monday was Larson’s longest session of testing the Arrow McLaren, and it could have gone slightly awry. Losing his grip over a corner of the Phoenix raceway, Kyle Larson felt like his rear was losing traction on the bottom and caught it right in time to save his car. The conditions were different this time, with the one-mile track shorter than his usual testing tracks. Explaining his outing, Larson said,

“Just wrapped up here at Phoenix in the Arrow McLaren IndyCar. Kind of found the edge there and almost spun out. Just ran through some pit stop kind of scenarios. Thanks to everybody at Arrow McLaren and Hendrick Motorsports and everybody involved. We’ll see how the rest of the time goes.”


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“Honestly, yesterday was probably more uncomfortable just because it’s a smaller track,” the driver added.

One of the significant differences between NASCAR and IndyCar is the weight of the vehicles. Experiencing a massive decrease in weight and a speed buff, Larson has adapted well to the discipline with the help of his orientation program. With Phoenix being a different challenge, Kyle Larson claimed that he had fun as he tried to experiment in the Arrow McLaren.

“Things are happening quicker. You’re having to lift off the throttle a little bit. At Indy (during rookie orientation), once we got through the different stages and stuff, we were wide open pretty easy by yourself. It was a cool day and all that. Yesterday was fun to kind of have to work on the timing of the corner and work through some balance things because, yeah, I mean, the balance was definitely not perfect, which was good to feel, ” explained Larson.

Divulging more about his growth as an IndyCar driver and the increasing similarities with NASCAR’s 7th-Gen cars, Kyle Larson showed optimism and caution simultaneously in his elaborate statements.

Larson has adapted well to IndyCar racing


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Kyle Larson has excelled in every field of racing he has raced in. Whether dirt track, sprint car, or NASCAR, his racing excellence always manages to outshine others. Adaptability is one aspect of their profiles that helps NASCAR drivers race on various circuits. Tony Stewart has shown the same in the past after being the first driver to win an IndyCar and a NASCAR championship.

“It’s always good when you can, as a driver, put yourself in new situations where you’re challenging your brain, you’re challenging yourself to evolve and learn something new, figure out the differences or similarities between race cars,” said the High Limit Racing owner.

“I think there’s still a ton for me to learn and a ton left out on the table for me to get comfortable. The more reps I get with everything, not just making laps around track, but in and out of the box like I mentioned, exiting pit road hard, stuff like that is going to be important,” he added.


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Kyle Larson’s enthusiasm to learn is incredible. With Hendrick Motorsports’ backing, the 31-year-old has reached new heights yearly but has shown no signs of stopping.

Watch This Story: Kyle Busch and Joey Logano Respond with Sarcasm After NASCAR Docuseries Ignores Them


Written by:

Ansuman Abhisek


One take at a time

Ansuman Abhisek is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. Even before he made his way into the world of motorsports, he had already made a name for himself in the sports journalism field by working as a writer for a few media houses. Now, having covered multiple Cup races live, he has often been the first to report on-track incidents and also provide his readers with an in-depth analysis of the same.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath