Indy 500: Possible Kyle Larson replacement ruled out

Tony Kanaan will not replace Kyle Larson if the schedule for the 108th running of the Indy 500 becomes impacted by bad weather.
Kyle Larson, Arrow McLaren, Hendrick Motorsports, IndyCar, Indy 500
Kyle Larson, Arrow McLaren, Hendrick Motorsports, IndyCar, Indy 500 / Bob Goshert/For IndyStar / USA TODAY

With the threat of bad weather on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the time when the 108th running of the Indy 500 is scheduled to be contested, there is no guarantee that Kyle Larson will actually get to compete in the race.

Larson is attempting to complete the Memorial Day Double, and because he is a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver, he has emphasized that it is his priority to be at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Sunday evening's Coca-Cola 600.

Arrow McLaren sporting director Tony Kanaan had been considered Larson's backup in the event that Larson became unable to compete in the Indy 500 due to bad weather. The 2013 Indy 500 winner retired after the 2023 race, but he remained open to the possibility of a substitute role if called upon.

However, in order for Kanaan to be allowed to fill in behind the wheel of the No. 17 McLaren-Hendrick Chevrolet, he would have needed to complete a veteran refresher course at the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) Speedway, Indiana oval, and that will officially not happen.

Tony Kanaan ruled out from replacing Kyle Larson

With that pre-race track time officially out of the question for Kanaan, it means that there is only one possible replacement for Larson: Nolan Siegel.

Siegel, who drove the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda during practice week and qualifying weekend, was the only one of the 34 drivers on the entry list who failed to qualify for the race. He found himself behind the eight-ball after a crash in the Fast Friday practice session, and his car never had the pace to secure a spot in the field of 33.

Siegel, unlike Kanaan, or any other potential Larson stand-in, for that matter, already has plenty of track time this month after completing his own Rookie Orientation Program, and he currently has no commitments for Indy 500 race day.

There is not necessarily a guarantee that Siegel would replace Larson if the need were to arise, but it has now become crystal clear that if somebody does replace Larson, it would have to be the 19-year-old Palo Alto, California native.

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NBC is set to provide live coverage of the 108th running of the Indy 500 beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 26, with the green flag set to fly shortly after 12:30 p.m. ET, weather permitting. Start a free trial of FuboTV and don't miss any of the action!