Kyle Larson deal could be bad news for Kyle Busch

Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Kyle Larson has signed with Arrow McLaren to compete in the Indy 500 in 2024, a team once rumored to have interest in Kyle Busch for 2023.

The Arrow McLaren IndyCar team announced Thursday that 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson is set to join the team for the 2024 Indy 500 in attempt to complete the Memorial Day Double.

Rick Hendrick, the owner of Larson’s Cup Series team Hendrick Motorsports, is set to be a co-owner of Larson’s car for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”, and the car is set to carry sponsorship from

Just four drivers have ever attempted the Memorial Day Double, competing in the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and then flying to Charlotte Motor Speedway to compete in NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600.

Kurt Busch is the most recent one to try it, having done so in 2014. Only one driver, Tony Stewart, has run all 1,100 miles on the same day, having done so in 2001.

A driver who has long been discussed as a candidate to attempt the rare feat is Kurt’s brother Kyle, who said in 2017 that he had an opportunity to run the race but couldn’t get approval from Joe Gibbs, his Cup Series boss at the time.

After winning his second Cup Series championship in 2019, Busch was given the green light to seek out rides with Chevrolet (not Honda since they are a global rival of Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing are a Toyota team). But nothing ever materialized for Busch while he was with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Now with Richard Childress Racing, a Chevrolet team, Busch still has approval to seek out rides with Chevrolet for the 200-lap race at the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) Speedway, Indiana oval, where he is a two-time Brickyard 400 winner.

Interestingly, Busch had been in talks with Arrow McLaren about competing in the 107th running of the Indy 500 this May, yet they ultimately opted to go with the more experienced Tony Kanaan, who won the race in 2013 and is a regular contender at the front.

Now with Kyle Larson having signed a deal, it appears that Arrow McLaren is eliminated from Kyle Busch’s potential list of Indy 500 options for 2024 also.

If an Indy 500 bid for Busch involving Arrow McLaren is to materialize, it won’t happen until 2025 at the earliest — and it’s ironically because they opted to take a different approach and go with a driver who, like Busch, doesn’t yet have any IndyCar experience.

This is not to say that Larson’s deal is the be-all and end-all for Busch’s prospects of competing in the Indy 500; there are still a number of other Chevrolet teams out there that have been discussed as possibilities, most notably Team Penske and Ed Carpenter Racing.

Other Chevrolet teams such as Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, A.J. Foyt Enterprises, and Juncos Hollinger Racing should not be discounted, as all have proven to have the ability to field competitive entries at Indy in recent years.

Busch also said in 2017 that he would be fine if he has to “split the limelight” during his Indy 500 debut, though he admitted that he was kind of glad he didn’t get the chance to run the race that year since two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso “stole the headlines” with his entry.

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Would Busch be willing to share the stage with another Cup Series driver? Is he willing to wait until 2025 to potentially get a shot with Arrow McLaren, even though that shot isn’t a sure thing?