IndyCar: Possible Kyle Larson replacement confirmed for Indy 500

If Kyle Larson is unable to compete in this year's Indy 500 due to a weather-related schedule change, Tony Kanaan is set to come out of retirement.
Kyle Larson, Arrow McLaren, Hendrick Motorsports, Indy 500, IndyCar
Kyle Larson, Arrow McLaren, Hendrick Motorsports, Indy 500, IndyCar / Bob Goshert/For IndyStar / USA TODAY

Kyle Larson is planning on becoming just the fifth driver to attempt the Memorial Day Double, first by competing in IndyCar's Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and then by flying to Charlotte Motor Speedway to compete in NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600.

Larson's effort, the first for any driver since 2014, is dubbed the "Hendrick 1,100", as he competes full-time for Hendrick Motorsports in the Cup Series, and Rick Hendrick's team have partnered with Arrow McLaren to field his No. 17 McLaren-Hendrick Chevrolet in the Indy 500.

But Larson has made clear that the Coca-Cola 600 is his priority. The Indy 500 hasn't been postponed due to weather since 1997, but you can never trust a weather forecast in Speedway, Indiana this time of year.

Additionally, last year's Coca-Cola 600 was postponed due to rain, meaning that even if the Indy 500 does get postponed, there is no guarantee that the NASCAR race won't be.

In the event that Larson has to choose between one or the other, the Coca-Cola 600 is his choice, which is not surprising considering the fact that he is still a full-time Cup Series driver.

In the Indy 500, qualifying locks the car into the race. Assuming Larson successfully qualifies the No. 17 Chevrolet this weekend, the car would need a new driver if weather prevents him from being able to take part in the 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) oval itself.

And that new driver would reportedly be Tony Kanaan.

The 2004 IndyCar champion and 2013 Indy 500 winner had planned on making his 2023 Indy 500 start with Arrow McLaren, where he currently holds an advisory role, his last.

But ever since he made that announcement before last year's race, there have been jokes thrown around suggesting that he will be back for "one more year", given the fact that his initial "Last Lap" tour was set for 2020, and he has now competed in four more Indy 500s since that was first announced.

We are now one late May rainstorm in Indiana away from those jokes becoming a reality, as Kanaan is officially the backup driver for the No. 17 Chevrolet, despite the fact that he will not be allowed to do a refresher test ahead of time since he is not on the race's entry list. Given that fact, it remains to be seen how IndyCar would handle such a scenario.

And while the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" may not have been postponed in 27 years, rain is always a factor at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. The last three opening days of Indy 500 practice, going back to 2022, have produced a combined total of 24 minutes of track time, all this past Tuesday.

IndyCar: Kyle Larson drops slightly before Indy 500 practice starts. dark. Next. IndyCar: Kyle Larson drops slightly before Indy 500 practice starts

NBC is set to provide live coverage of the Indy 500 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 26. Fox is set to provide live coverage of the Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte Motor Speedway beginning at 6:00 p.m. ET later in the evening. Begin a free trial of FuboTV and don't miss either race, even if bad weather comes into play!