Arrow McLaren considering Kanaan, Siegel as possible Indy 500 subs for Larson

With lightning and downpours in Sunday’s forecast, which currently calls for nearly two inches of rain to land on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Mother Nature might derail Kyle Larson’s plans of competing in both the Indy 500 and NASCAR’s 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The latest prediction for Sunday has a 50-percent chance of foul weather descending on IMS almost two hours before the 12:45pm ET green flag and staying into the early evening, which could push the 200-lap contest to Monday.

To prepare themselves for the possibility of losing Larson to the needs of his full-time job in NASCAR on Sunday, the Arrow McLaren team and the IndyCar Series have started discussing options to keep the No. 17 Arrow McLaren Chevy in the field if the skies open and force Larson to leave for North Carolina.

Arrow McLaren sporting director Tony Kanaan has been the team’s backup plan in recent months. With the injury to former driver David Malukas, the 2013 Indy 500 winner was one of the primary options to step into the No. 6 Chevy, but that role was filled by Callum Ilott.


Although the team and the series weren’t ready to offer any official statements, both confirmed to RACER that they’re evaluating a possible refresher run for Kanaan — who did his Indy 500 farewell with Arrow McLaren last year and finished 16th — later this week.

If it were to rain on Sunday, but dry enough for the race to start after Larson needed to leave, Kanaan would be cleared to drive after a refresher is completed. If rain were to delay the 500 until the day after the Charlotte NASCAR race, the team and Larson would need to decide how they wanted to proceed.

Rick Hendrick also alluded to the possibility of keeping Larson in Indy at the expense of competing in the Cup race.

“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 then Kyle and myself and Jeff Gordon, we’ll make that decision Sunday.

“The pressure of being in the race and starting with a great starting spot and knowing we’ve got the 600 to run, it’s going to be pressure all day. How does the race go? Is it going to rain? What time do we have to leave to get back to Charlotte? This is going to be a tremendous amount of pressure, but we signed up for it. We’re in the race. We qualified. Kyle is a heck of a talent. I just hope that the weather cooperates and we get to finish the race.”

RACER also understands a scenario where Kanaan is not used as Larson’s backup is being contemplated and the bumped Dale Coyne Racing driver Nolan Siegel, who is approved to race without needing to do a special session in the car, could be drafted in to pilot the No. 17 Chevy. Siegel is no stranger to McLaren CEO Zak Brown, who co-owns the United Autosports sports car team Siegel will drive for next month in the LMP2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The precedent of using a bumped driver was seen as recently as 2023 when Stefan Wilson was injured and unable to drive for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports after being hit from behind during post-qualifying practice. The bumped Graham Rahal was recruited to drive Wilson’s No. 24 Chevy, which was moved from its 25th starting spot to the back of the field. If such a situation plays out with Larson and the No. 17 Chevy which qualified fifth, Siegel would be expected to start 33rd.

Story originally appeared on Racer