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Larson “pretty upset with myself” after Indy 500 speeding penalty

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After waiting out a four-hour rain delay, Kyle Larson rolled off fifth in the No. 17 Arrow McLaren-Rick Hendrick Chevrolet and experienced the highs and lows that comes with competing in the Indy 500.

Larson, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion, rotated in and out of the top 10 in the opening half of the 200-lap race, but hit trouble on lap 131 when he carried too much speed coming into the pits. As a result, Race Control handed him a drive-through penalty that he served three laps later and went a lap down.

 

However, a caution on lap 147 provided the chance to get back on the lead lap with a wave around and battle back – even leading four laps during a pit stop cycle – to collect the top 20 result. He was scored as the second-highest rookie in the field behind Ed Carpenter Racing’s first-year driver Christian Rasmussen, who started 24th and finished 12th. 

After the race, Larson teased a return to “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” before flying to Charlotte in an effort to finish the 600-mile Cup race as part of the second leg of ‘The Double’ – running both the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

Kyle Larson, Arrow McLaren/Rick Hendrick Chevrolet, #98: Marco Andretti, Andretti Herta w/ Marco & Curb-Agajanian Honda, Kyle Kirkwood, Andretti Global Honda

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

“I would definitely love to be back next year,” Larson said. “I feel like I learned a lot throughout the race. Made a couple of mistakes early there with the restart. Not sure what I did wrong there. 

“I somehow got myself into third (gear) and then felt like I did a really good job on the restarts and was able to learn a lot. Definitely feel good about knowing what I would need different for the balance to help runs and stuff. Obviously, I smoked the left front on the green-flag stop and killed our opportunity. 

“Proud to finish, but pretty upset with myself. Just could have executed a better race. You don’t know what could have happened. Yeah, bummed at myself, but huge thank you to Arrow McLaren, Hendrick Motorsports, Hendrick Automotive Group, Rick Hendrick, Chevrolet, Valvoline, everybody that’s a part of this. We’ll go hop on the jet and see if I can get into the 600 somehow.”

Larson immediately left the track for NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600, which was already well underway. Justin Allgaier jumped behind the wheel of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Larson arrived after 249 of 400 laps were completed, but a significant rain storm hit the track around the same time.

Allgaier was running 13th at the time of the red flag but Larson did not end up driving as the race never resumed. 

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