INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Kyle Larson was keeping a close eye on the weather Sunday, which threatened to push back the start of the Indianapolis 500 and put his shot at completing every lap of the race along with the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte in jeopardy.

The forecast at Indianapolis Motor Speedway called for a band of storms to push through around 12 p.m. EDT, just before the time the Indy 500 was scheduled to begin. There was hope that a window before another band of storms arrived would allow enough time to dry the track and finish at least 101 laps, making the race official.

Larson is trying to become the fifth driver to do “The Double,” and the only driver besides Tony Stewart in 2001 to complete all 1,100 laps. The preparation has been ongoing for more than a year, though the weather was hardly cooperating.

“If it’s going to rain here Sunday, then I just want it to rain all day and the (Indy 500) to be on Monday,” Larson said earlier in the week. “I don’t even want to think about what could happen if we’re sitting in the rain Sunday.”

Larson is starting fifth in the No. 17 car for Arrow McLaren in a joint venture with Hendrick Motorsports, his NASCAR Cup Series team. Rick Hendrick was at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to watch Sunday, and while Larson was not supposed to miss the Cup Series race, the NASCAR team owner wavered a little bit earlier in the week when asked about the weather.

“We’ve talked about it many times, and we know we need to be at Charlotte for the points,” Hendrick said. “We’re just going to let it play out … (and) we’ll make that decision Sunday.”

Larson was expected to follow the plan used by others who have attempted both races: He would finish the Indy 500, take a helicopter to a nearby airfield, board a private jet to Charlotte, then climb aboard another helicopter for the last hop to Charlotte Motor Speedway. If the Indy 500 began on time, he would have just enough time to make it for the start.

“It would be very hard. It would be very tough,” Hendrick said of the possibility of pulling Larson from the Indy 500 early. “We’ve got a tremendous amount of folks there at Indy, and he’s in such a good position, it would be extremely hard.”

There were about 125,000 of the 345,000 fans expected in the speedway by 11 a.m., and Indianapolis Motor Speedway president J. Douglas Boles said they would be asked to leave the grandstands if the storm approached. The concern was not the heavy rain but high winds and lightning that made the front especially dangerous.

The track takes about 90 minutes to dry, depending on a number of factors. Indianapolis Motor Speedway brought in NASCAR’s track drying equipment to use along with its own in the hopes of speeding up the process.


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