Roger Penske Pumps Brakes on NASCAR Champ Ryan Blaney’s Indy 500 Ambitions. Larson to Attempt Double


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — One NASCAR championship down and Ryan Blaney already has his eyes on another prize.

Roger Penske said Thursday that NASCAR’s reigning Cup champion had inquired about someday running “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” but “The Captain” pumped the brakes.

“It’s interesting to me that Blaney said to me that he’d looked to go to Indy,” Penske said Thursday ahead of Blaney and Team Penske’s coronation as Cup champions. “I said we’re going to have to slow down a little bit. We’re going to have everybody coming to Indy.”

Kyle Larson will try to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 this May and become the first driver since Kurt Busch in 2014 to attempt to complete both the Indy 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. Five drivers have attempted it nine times, and only Tony Stewart has completed all 1,100 miles.

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Blaney’s interest in doing the double was revealed Thursday by Penske, who said Larson team owner Rick Hendrick approached Penske about running Larson in the Indy 500. Penske said he declined a partnership because Team Penske had to improve its own three-car Indy 500 effort before taking on another driver.

Josef Newgarden won the Indy 500 last May for Penske’s 19th win in the iconic race; Hendrick took the Larson deal to McLaren, which will field a car for Larson this coming May.

Blaney admitted Thursday “I’ve poked around that idea with RP for a couple of years now, and we’ll have to see where that goes” about the Indy 500.

“I feel like not many people can do the double. It would be neat to just do it,” Blaney said. “I have respect for all forms of motorsports. So I think you want to go experience something like that. At my age it would be perfect to do it. I think the nostalgia of it, being able to say you ran 1,100 miles on one day on the racetrack, is pretty special.”

Blaney turns 30 on Dec. 31.

Blaney’s interest in Indy was news to Larson, who is deep into his IndyCar immersion. But when it comes to doing the double, Larson wants to see some of the IndyCar drivers try NASCAR.

“I would love to see a Josef Newgarden come run the Coke 600,” Larson said. “A lot of the guys come from the NASCAR side do it, so it would be interesting to see the other side of the switch.”

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