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Will Rick Hendrick Let Kyle Larson Attempt “The Double” Again?

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What’s Happening?

Kyle Larson’s attempt at “The Double” ended in disappointment as rain at Indianapolis and Charlotte caused him to miss the Coca-Cola 600. It nearly cost him a shot at his second Cup Series Championship as NASCAR mulled whether or not to give him a Playoff waiver for over a week. Is that enough to keep him and team owner Rick Hendrick from attempting “The Double” again?

  • Kyle Larson has publicly stated multiple times since that he would like to attempt “The Double” again. His contract also provides a potential opportunity to do so in 2025.
  • However, a recent report by Adam Stern has suggested that Rick Hendrick might not be keen on Larson trying it again. Why would Hendrick not want to give it another chance?
  • Fans want to see Larson attempt “The Double” again. No one was satisfied with how this attempt ended, and they now want to see another try at it.

What Kyle Larson Had to Say

While Larson has stopped short of outright committing to an Indy 500 ride in the future, he has mentioned that he wants to do it again. He told Bob Pockrass after the Coca-Cola 600 was postponed, “Hopefully I get to do it again.” When speaking to the media at Iowa last week during a test at the venue, Larson said he would “Love to” compete in the Indianapolis 500 again.

His current contract also includes a provision for him to compete in the race again. Jenna Fryer reported in early 2023 that Larson’s deal at Indianapolis was a two-year deal, allowing him to race in 2025.

However, just because Larson could do something doesn’t mean he will or even that he should. Remember that he never definitively said he is attempting “The Double” in 2025. He certainly won’t be the only one with a say in the decision.

Rick Hendrick’s Perspective

Adam Stern of Sports Business Journal did a deep dive into the overall impact of Larson’s “Double” attempt in terms of finances and online traffic. Stern reported whether Hendrick would support another Larson run at Indianapolis.

Stern said that Hendrick does have the option to team up with McLaren again, but there is no guarantee that they will do it again after all of the fallout from the weekend.

There are two reasons to speculate on. One is finances, and the second is the waiver situation.

Stern reports that Hendrick Motorsports spent $3 million to fund Larson’s Indy 500 effort, which is 2x-3x more than a normal Indy 500 effort. Remember that, according to another Stern report, the top Cup Series teams spend roughly $20 million per car or about $550k per race. Spreading $3 million per race over a 36-race schedule would cost Hendrick Motorsports $108 million for a full season.

Running the Indianapolis 500 is not a cheap souvenir that any NASCAR race team can do on a whim. It costs a lot of money, and that kind of investment makes it understandable for HMS to keep Larson at Indy.

Looking at the whole “Waiver” debate, “The Double” nearly cost Kyle Larson a Playoff spot. Now, this wouldn’t be as big a financial loss for Hendrick because the No. 5 car would still be eligible for the Owners Points Playoffs, and those standings are how the race teams get paid at the end of the year. However, the team is still taking the risk of arguably their best driver not being a Championship contender.

That’s something Larson himself has to consider as well. Is he willing to risk a potential Cup Series Championship to compete in the Indianapolis 500? Well, he was this year, so who’s to say he won’t be again?

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