Harvick to stand-in for Larson in All-Star Race practice and qualifying

In Larson’s quest to complete ‘The Double,’ the week prior to the big races is actually posing the greatest scheduling challenge. 

On Fast Friday (May 17th), the 2021 NASCAR Cup champion will not skip Indy 500 practice. With All-Star Race practice and qualifying happening on the same day and clashing with Indy, Larson has made the decision to skip Friday’s on-track sessions at North Wilkesboro. 

2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion and current FOX Sports commentator Harvick will pilot the car in his absence. Larson announced this on FS1, just prior to the start of Sunday’s race at Dover.

“When Rick [Hendrick] called a couple of days ago and said ‘hey I need a favor’ … I know when the conversation starts like that, usually you have to say yes,” said Harvick. “I appreciate you guys [Larson and HMS] calling and it’s going to be fun.”

Kyle Larson, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Kyle Larson, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Penske Entertainment

Larson said of the announcement: “I don’t think I’ll be able to get there for the heat race, so they’ll have all day on Saturday to change everything back to me. That factored into it a lot. But we’re all excited. I think everybody at Hendrick Motorsports thinks this is going to be good for us. All the teammates get to see how you [Harvick] communicate stuff because as far as I know, I don’t think any of us have ever worked with you before.”

On Saturday (May 18th), Larson will then have to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, driving the No. 17 McLaren-Hendrick entry. Unlike NASCAR, there are no locked in entries and someone will be going home.

Larson indicated that he may miss the heat races as well, which start while 500 qualifying is still ongoing. However, he asserts he will be back in North Carolina for Sunday’s race.

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Danny Hansen / NKP / Motorsport Images

Harvick is ineligible to run the race itself, which takes place within a couple of hours of Fast 6 qualifying. Larson has previously indicated that he would likely skip that portion of Indy 500 qualifying if he made it that far.

Larson is the defending winner of the All-Star Race, winning in dominant fashion at the resurrected North Wilkesboro in 2023.

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