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Kyle Larson’s Indy-Charlotte double in jeopardy because of rain-delayed Indianapolis 500

Kyle Larson's Indy-Charlotte double in jeopardy because of rain-delayed Indianapolis 500

Weather put a kink in Kyle Larson’s plans to run both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600. (Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kyle Larson's quest to become the fifth driver to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day took a blow on Sunday because of a weather delay in Indianapolis.

The Indianapolis 500 was initially slated to start at 12:45 p.m. ET, but was postponed because of storms. The weather passed by mid-afternoon, and track-drying trucks took to the speedway in anticipation of a 4:44 p.m. ET start.

With the Coca-Cola 600 scheduled to start in Charlotte at 6 p.m. ET, that left Larson with a choice. He said during the rain delay that racing in the Indianapolis 500 was the "priority" and reportedly planned to start the race. His team was seen preparing his car ahead of the rescheduled race time.

Larson said during the delay that he's disappointed that weather didn't postpone the Indianapolis 500 to Monday to allow him to start both races.

“I think our plan is to keep this as a priority,” Larson said, per the Associated Press. “I think I would be here racing. But I’m actually bummed about that in a way. I wanted it to just rain out today. With the rain coming, I’d rather it be a bigger storm and last longer.”

He explained his decision to race in Indianapolis to NBC's Marty Snider.

“We had too many people here," Larson said, per Snider. "I just could not let them down.”

He also reportedly didn't rule out joining the Coca-Cola 600 before it's over. Per AP, his backup driver Justin Allgaier is expected to start the NASCAR race in his car. If Larson can make it to Charlotte in time, he would take over mid-race in an attempt to finish. Larson and team owner Rick Hendrick confirmed that plan to Snider.

The decision is a high-stakes call for Larson, who's the points leader in the NASCAR Cup standings. Missing the Coca-Cola 600 would mean missing out on any points that he would have otherwise earned from the race. Larson is competing for his second NASCAR Cup title after winning his first in 2021. It's widely believed that Larson will receive a waiver from a rule requiring drivers to start in every race to be eligible for the playoffs, but it's not a certainty.

Four drivers have successfully taken on the Memorial Day weekend double by starting in the Indianapolis 500, then flying to Charlotte to compete in the Coca-Cola 600. Kurt Bush was the last to compete in both races in 2014. Tony Stewart did it twice in 1999 and 2001. Robby Gordon did it five times (1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004).

John Andretti was the first to complete the feat in 1994. The double was made possible when lights were installed at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1992, allowing the race to take place after sundown.

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