2024 Indianapolis 500: Kyle Larson becomes latest NASCAR star to do Indy-Charlotte Double (2024)

For more than a century, the greatest race car drivers in the world have challenged the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to try and compete in its greatest race, the Indianapolis 500, each month of May. This coming Sunday, 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson joins the long list of great racers to have competed in the Indy 500, making his debut in The Greatest Spectacle in Racing and pursuing one of racing's most arduous undertakings in the process.

Larson will become the fifth driver in history to race in both the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the same day, looking to complete all 1,100 miles on arguably the single biggest day in U.S. motorsports. Larson has quickly become one of the biggest stories in Indianapolis, and his entry into the Indy 500 field became even bigger when he ended up competing for the pole and qualifying an impressive fifth last Sunday before flying to North Wilkesboro Speedway and finishing fourth in the NASCAR All-Star Race.

The presence of Larson in the Indianapolis 500 field continues a long tradition of NASCAR crossovers in IndyCar's feature event dating back to the 1960s -- Cale Yarborough, Bobby Johns, Lee Roy Yarbrough, and Bobby and Donnie Allison were just a few of the NASCAR greats to race in the Indy 500, and the Wood Brothers also made their mark on Indianapolis with their famous pit crew. But starting in the 1990s, when lights were installed at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the co*ke 600 was moved to evening time, it became possible for drivers to compete in both the Indy 500 and NASCAR's longest race on the very same day.

Ahead of Kyle Larson's first Indy 500 bid, here is a complete overview of the history of the Indy-Charlotte Double, with each driver to have attempted and completed the feat.

1994 -- John Andretti

After making his Indy 500 debut in 1988 and racing full-time in CART from 1990 to 1992, John Andretti -- the nephew of Mario Andretti -- made the switch from open-wheel cars to stock car racing in 1994, joining car owner Billy Hagan's team to run the full season in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. But given his and his family's ties to Indianapolis, Andretti still desired to race in the Indy 500. And with that, Andretti would become the first driver to ever compete at both Indianapolis and Charlotte on the same day, developing a travel itinerary to make it happen.

Andretti qualified 10th for the Indianapolis 500 driving an A.J. Foyt-owned Lola, and he also qualified in the top 10 for the co*ke 600 in ninth. After finishing 10th in the 500, Andretti flew to Charlotte in time for the start of the 600, but only completed 220 of 400 laps before suffering a crankshaft failure and finishing 36th.

Andretti would also compete in the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis later that year, becoming the first driver to ever run both the Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 in the same year.

1995 -- Davy Jones

A forgotten figure in the history of the Indy-Charlotte Double: Davy Jones

Jones tried to do the Double in 1995, but he wasn't fast enough to qualify for the #CocaCola600. He had to settle for racing in only the #Indy500 where he finished 23rd. pic.twitter.com/uNHna2IEVh

— Steven Taranto (@STaranto92) May 22, 2024

Following up on Andretti, IndyCar veteran Davy Jones intended to do the Indy-Charlotte Double in 1995, driving for Dick Simon at Indianapolis and Jasper Motorsports in NASCAR. However, Jones' plans were foiled when he failed to qualify for the co*ke 600, leaving him to settle for only running the Indy 500 and finishing 23rd.

1997 -- Robby Gordon

2024 Indianapolis 500: Kyle Larson becomes latest NASCAR star to do Indy-Charlotte Double (1)

After going to NASCAR full-time in 1997 with Team SABCO, Robby Gordon's initial plans of doing a pure Indy-Charlotte Double would also be foiled, but that was due to the effects of Mother Nature. Rain forced the Indianapolis 500 to be postponed to Monday, leaving Gordon to fly to Charlotte and run only the co*ke 600 on Sunday, completing 186 laps before crashing and finishing 41st.

Gordon started 12th at Indianapolis on Monday in a car owned by Felix Sabates -- also his car owner in NASCAR -- making 15 laps before more rain pushed the rest of the race to Tuesday. Gordon only made it four more laps before his car caught fire, leaving him with a 29th-place finish.

1999 -- Tony Stewart

2024 Indianapolis 500: Kyle Larson becomes latest NASCAR star to do Indy-Charlotte Double (2)

Tony Stewart made the switch from open-wheel to NASCAR after winning the Indy Racing League championship in 1997, first running the NASCAR Busch Series alongside the IRL in 1998 before heading to the Cup Series in 1999 with Joe Gibbs Racing. He would wind up doing the Indy-Charlotte Double for the first time in his rookie season, qualifying 24th and finishing ninth at Indianapolis for Tri-Star Motorsports before heading to Charlotte for the co*ke 600. Stewart wound up leading 13 laps in the 600 and finishing fourth.

2000 -- Robby Gordon

2024 Indianapolis 500: Kyle Larson becomes latest NASCAR star to do Indy-Charlotte Double (3)

Robby Gordon tried the Indy-Charlotte Double again in 2000 for car owner John Menard, but inclement weather would again wind up altering his plans. Gordon qualified fourth at Indianapolis driving for John Menard and 42nd at Charlotte, but rain delayed the start of the Indy 500 by several hours and prevented Gordon from starting his car in the co*ke 600. Backup driver P.J. Jones started Gordon's car at Charlotte while he finished sixth and Indianapolis, and he then took over for Jones midway through the co*ke 600 and finished 35th.

Despite running his Cup car at the finish of the co*ke 600, Gordon did not go into the record books as having run both Indy and Charlotte on the same day. Per NASCAR rules, P.J. Jones was credited as the driver of the No. 13 Ford and received championship points by virtue of having started the car.

2001 -- Tony Stewart

Stewart would pull double duty again in 2001, and he would proceed to go a distance that go racer had ever gone before. Driving for Chip Ganassi at Indianapolis, Stewart would qualify seventh and lead 13 laps on his way to finishing sixth, then flew to Charlotte and finished third in the co*ke 600.

With Stewart finishing on the lead lap at both Indy and at Charlotte, Stewart would end up becoming the first -- and to date, the only -- driver to ever complete all 1,100 miles of racing during the day.

2002-2004 -- Robby Gordon

2024 Indianapolis 500: Kyle Larson becomes latest NASCAR star to do Indy-Charlotte Double (4)

After joining Richard Childress Racing in NASCAR, Robby Gordon would run the Indy-Charlotte Double three years in a row from 2002 to 2004, with his best outing coming in 2002 as part of a collaboration between Team Menard and RCR. Gordon finished eighth in that year's Indy 500, then flew to Charlotte and finished 16th.

Driving for Andretti Green Racing the next year, Gordon would qualify on the front row at Indianapolis in third, but he would fail to finish after suffering a gearbox failure and then ran 17th at Charlotte. Rain would again be a theme in Gordon's final Double attempt the next year, as rain midway through the Indy 500 kept him from finishing the race before he had to fly to Charlotte for the 600. Relief driver Jacques Lazier got in Gordon's car at Indianapolis, finishing 29th due to a mechanical failure after 88 laps, while Gordon ran 20th at Charlotte.

2014 -- Kurt Busch

The most recent driver to run the Indy-Charlotte Double was Kurt Busch in 2014, who ran IndyCar for the first time ever when he partnered with Andretti Autosport. Busch took to open wheel immediately in his first and only IndyCar start, qualifying 12th and finishing sixth in the Indianapolis 500 before flying to Charlotte to take the wheel of his No. 41 Cup ride for Stewart-Haas Racing. Busch would end up suffering an engine failure after completing 271 laps in the co*ke 600 and finished 40th.

2024 Indianapolis 500: Kyle Larson becomes latest NASCAR star to do Indy-Charlotte Double (2024)
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