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Kyle Larson growing frustrated as Indianapolis 500 prep goes slower than anticipated

Kyle Larson prepares to take off his helmet during a practice session for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Frustration began to build for Kyle Larson on his third day of Indianapolis 500 preparations as work to his Arrow McLaren car kept him off track for a huge chunk of the session.

Rain washed out all day Tuesday and Larson got just two laps on track before the sky opened. Half of Wednesday was lost because of rain and Larson only managed 47 laps with a top speed of 225.245 mph as he learned how to run in traffic.

Larson wanted to use Thursday, the first sunny day and a full eight hours of scheduled track time, to continue to adapt to an Indy car ahead of his debut in the May 26 “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” But Arrow McLaren made an early-day engine change before Larson got 11 laps on track.

Then McLaren called him back to the garage to make extensive setup changes to the No. 17. With rain scheduled again for Friday, the day before qualifying begins, McLaren wanted Larson to get into a qualifying setup in case “Fast Friday” is a washout.

Kyle Larson leaves the pits during a practice session for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Larson is trying to become the fifth driver in history to run both the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. Tony Stewart in 2001 is the only driver to complete all 1,100 miles.

“It’s been an enjoyable experience so far, just would like to enjoy driving my car,” Larson said. “I just keep going back to the motorhome, lay down on the couch, relax. These days are so long and I just want to kind of make some laps.

“I thought the weather would be good and I’d get to turn a lot of laps, but everybody has turned laps but me. It’s been a bit boring and frustrating.”

Larson wound up getting in 29 laps completed with a high speed of 222.805 mph. McLaren teammate Pato O’Ward paced the session at 226.861 and Conor Daly at 86 laps got the most track time.

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