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Kyle Larson reacts after qualifying for his first Indy 500

Kyle Larson during Indy 500 Qualifications (Photo courtesy: Penske Entertainment: Matt Fraver)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson added another checkmark on his “To Do” list as he gets ready to race in his first-career Indianapolis 500.

Larson, the 2021 Cup Series champion, clinched a spot in the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on Saturday during qualifications.

“It’s really cool,” Larson said. “Yeah, just happy. We didn’t get to finish that first run and would have liked to have just gotten that in to know that we were in the show at that point. But, yeah, I thought the team did a good job of not stressing out and going out there and I think we went faster than we probably would have the first time. So, just happy with the team and how we’ve executed the day.”

Larson posted the 6th fastest four-lap average, going 232.563 mph.

As a result, he will qualify in the Fast 12 Sunday afternoon with a chance to advance to the Fast Six.

Larson of course is hoping to complete “The Double,” which entails completing all the laps in the Indy 500 and all the laps in NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

No driver has attempted “The Double” since Kurt Busch in 2014. The last driver to successfully complete all 1,100 miles on the same day in both Indianapolis and Charlotte is Tony Stewart (2001).

News 8 Sports’ Andrew Chernoff spoke with Larson after he qualified for the Indy 500 on Saturday and asked him about the atmosphere at Indianapolis Motor Speedway now that he’s had a week or so to practice and qualify for the 500.

“You can tell from day one that it’s bigger than any other race,” Larson said. “There’s probably not any other sporting event that has a two-week buildup with fans as passionate as they are here. So, it’s awesome. I really enjoy it.”

Larson’s teammates all had solid Saturdays as well. Alexander Rossi (4th) and Pato O’Ward (10th) each advanced to the Fast 12 as well. Meanwhile, Callum Ilott will start 15th in next weekend’s Indy 500.