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via Imago

via Imago

With his “The Double” attempt on Sunday, Kyle Larson certainly has many eyeballs on him. After all, racing 1,100 miles in a single day combined with a travel time of over 400 miles will be a daunting task for the Hendrick Motorsports driver. While Tony Stewart remains the only driver to have completed this challenge, Smoke certainly believes a lot in Larson.

It is no secret how the Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner is amazingly fond of Larson. Time and again, Stewart has appreciated the Cup Series driver’s immense talent and strongly believes that he could achieve greatness. However, despite his unconditional backing of the #5 driver, Larson laid out his reality.

Kyle Larson understands the impact winning the Indy 500 could have on his legacy

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Come Sunday, Kyle Larson will become the 11th driver to attempt racing both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. While completing both races will be highly challenging, Tony Stewart knows what it takes. In his second attempt at “The Double”, the legendary Cup Series driver pulled it off in 2001.

While Kyle Larson will be attempting it for the first time on Sunday, Stewart has shown an incredible amount of belief in him. Speaking on the NBC Podcast recently, he said, “He can do things that, that you can’t take every IndyCar driver, you can’t take every NASCAR driver and have the results that you get with Kyle.”

Stewart added, “He just, he’s one of those exceptional talents that probably once every generation, you have a guy like him that, that comes in and, and can do that, but he’s just, he’s just something special.” In fact, Smoke went on to compare him with some of the greats in the industry. He said, “Yeah! I mean, I think he’s better than me in a lot of aspects. He reminds me of AJ Foyt and Mario Andretti a lot.”

 

 

While this should be highly motivating for Larson, the HMS driver feels greatness is far from close for him. Speaking with veteran journalist Jeff Gluck for the Athletic, the 2021 Cup Series champion was asked if winning the Indy 500 could help him achieve greatness.

To this, Larson said, “I’m not sure. I don’t even know how many times I might compete in this event. But yeah, it definitely would help. Let’s say I imagine myself winning, then yeah, that puts my name in a totally different category, I would think, with how much your name is recognized throughout the world. Right now in America, I’m very popular in the racing scene.”

However, according to Larson, his hindrance to achieving greatness was a harsh truth. He expressed it in 11 words, saying, “There are millions of fans who have never heard my name.” While the California-born driver has been a popular name in the United States, he needs global recognition if he is to achieve greatness.

 

 

Having said that, he accepted that winning the Indy 500 would help his cause. Larson said, “But if you were to win the Indy 500, most all those people who don’t know who I am right now would know who I was. That would put you up in the category with Mario Andretti or guys like that.”

While a lot is at stake, the HMS driver conceded that he has a relaxed approach for Sunday. Larson said, “I’m not putting any extra pressure on myself for this race for that reason, but I understand the significance of winning and what it probably does to your fame and your legacy.”

Interestingly, while Larson doesn’t think that highly of him, many great motorsport entities feel otherwise.

Kyle Larson remains a popular name among the biggest names in motorsports

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Ahead of “Double Duty” on Sunday, Kyle Larson’s name is on the lips of almost every top entity in the industry. With this feat tried after over two decades, there’s certainly a lot of excitement and backing for the Hendrick Motorsports driver. Interestingly, many have spoken in his favor and even hinted at his greatness.

Alexander Rossi, Larson’s teammate at the Indianapolis 500, has raced against Max Verstappen. While he has witnessed what greatness looks like, he spoke highly of his Arrow McLaren Racing teammate. As reported by Republic World, Rossi said, “I think he’s [Larson] already towards the top, so I don’t know. Put him at the top? Like, he’s the man.” In fact, Rossi even compared him to Verstappen. He said, “I would say they’re on the same level.”

 

 

Even two-time IndyCar champion Alex Palou spoke in favor of Larson. He said, “He wins everything. So I don’t think it would make us look as idiots. I don’t want him to win. But I think he will be there, for sure.” 

Last month, even Kyle Petty spoke on similar lines. As reported by On3.com, he said, “He [Larson] is, he’s in that top when I look at it, he is in that top 0.001% of great race car drivers who can do anything any time and can not only do it but can win.”

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It only got better when motorsports legend Mario Andretti came forward to shower praise on Kyle Larson. He said, “There’s only been a handful of guys to complete both races. My nephew John is the first. It’s a lot of driving for one day, but I’ve seen what you can do, and I know you’ll be just fine. Kyle, I wish you the best of luck on your quest for 1100 miles.”

With the likes of Mario Andretti, Tony Stewart, and many others believing strongly in Kyle Larson, it speaks volumes about the amazing talent the Hendrick Motorsports driver possesses. Having said that, winning the Indy 500 should certainly help Larson gain plenty of recognition worldwide. For now, all eyes will be on Sunday to ensure and hope he has an amazing time during both races.