Indianapolis 500

Drivers who try the Indy 500-NASCAR 600 double have had mixed results. Kyle Larson is next

Only four drivers have attempted the Memorial Day weekend double — completing 1,100 miles of racing in a single day.

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Only four drivers have attempted one of the most grueling days in motorsports: the 1,100-mile Memorial Day weekend double.

Kyle Larson is trying to become the fifth to race in both the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on the same day and the 31-year-old Californian believes he can do it.

He qualified fifth for Sunday's 500, which starts at around 12:45 p.m. Eastern. The plan is to complete the showcase in Arrow McLaren's No. 17 car and then be flown to Charlotte, North Carolina, for his more familiar No. 5 Chevrolet for NASCAR's longest race set to start at 6 p.m.

Previous quests have been derailed by weather delays, full rainouts, mechanical problems and late arrivals all marring an inflexibly tight schedule. Only one driver, Tony Stewart, has finished on the lead lap of both races on the same day.

Weather could again pose a major obstacle for Larson, the first driver to make the attempt since Kurt Busch in 2014. The current forecast in Indianapolis calls for strong chance of rain Sunday.

The race has not been rained out since 1997 when it took three days to run the race, ruining Robby Gordon’s first shot at the double. A look at the previous efforts:

John Andretti

Total double attempts: One (1994)

At Indianapolis: Started 10th, finished 10th

At Charlotte: Started ninth, finished 36th

Total laps completed: 416 (196 of 200 at Indy; 220 of 400 at Charlotte)

The skinny: The nephew of racing great Mario Andretti and cousin of former IndyCar driver Michael Andretti added his chapter to the family legacy as the first to attempt what once seemed unfathomable. The term “double” soon became synonymous in both the open-wheel and Cup series, and has continued to resonate even after Andretti's death in January 2020. The soft-spoken Andretti even tossed aside the family's long-standing “feud” between his uncle and four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt, teaming up with Foyt on race day. Andretti claimed a top-10 Indy finish in Foyt's No. 33 Ford before traveling to Charlotte, where a faulty crankshaft relegated him to 36th place. Andretti made five more Indy starts from 2007-11 but never tried the double again.

Robby Gordon

Total double attempts: Five (1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004)

At Indianapolis: Started 12th, fourth, 11th, third and 18th; finished 29th, sixth, eighth, 22nd and 29th

At Charlotte: Started 28th, 42nd, 12th, 38th, 20th; finished 41st, did not start, 16th, 12th, 20th

Total laps completed: 1,926 (669 in five Indy starts, 1,257 in four Charlotte starts)

The skinny: The five attempts and total completed laps are records in double history, though rain wreaked havoc on Gordon's hopes. His first shot was washed out in 1997: He was able to race in the 600, but the 500 was completed the following day so it's not a true same-day double. A rain-delayed start in Indy three years later forced him to miss the start of the Coca-Cola 600, giving PJ Jones the start — and credit for all of the laps completed in Charlotte. Attempt No. 4, in 2003, was derailed when the scheduled 400-lap Coca-Cola was shortened to 276 laps. In 2002, he came within one lap of completing all 1,100 miles. A mechanical problem only 88 laps into the 2004 Indy 500 ended his fifth and final attempt.

Tony Stewart

Total double attempts: Two (1999, 2001)

At Indianapolis: Started 24th, seventh; finished ninth, sixth

At Charlotte: Started 27th, 12th; finished fourth, third

Total laps completed: 1,196 (396 in two Indy starts, 800 in two Charlotte starts)

The skinny: The three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion grew up in Indiana, dreaming of winning the 500. But he only made five career starts in the race, two coming after he left open-wheel racing for the Cup series. He still found success at his adopted home track and on Memorial Day weekend. “Smoke” completed all but four laps combined in the four double races, posting top-10 finishes in each one. In 1999, he became the first driver to complete all 600 laps in one day and still is the only one to achieve that the feat.

Kurt Busch (2014)

Total double attempts: One (2014)

At Indianapolis: Started 12th; finished sixth

At Charlotte: Started 28th; finished 40th

Total laps completed: 471 (200 at Indy, 271 at Charlotte)

The skinny: Busch became the most recent driver on the list when he teamed up with Michael Andretti's IndyCar team a decade ago. The month started relatively well. Busch qualified on the fourth row of the 11-row field and started in the middle of the pack at Charlotte. But after matching the highest 500 finish by a driver pulling double duty, Busch's quest ended with a blown engine in Charlotte. He told reporters the attempt would be a “memory I'll have forever."

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