INDIANAPOLIS — Arrow McLaren is building an INDYCAR empire and doing so in a short amount of time. They already have Pato O’Ward on their roster and he’ll be here for the foreseeable future. They have Alexander Rossi joining the team for his first of a multi-year deal in 2023. They also have Felix Rosenqvist back and have brought in Tony Kanaan to run the one-off Indy 500 entry this May too.
Next year…. Well watch out.
O’Ward and Rossi will return. I do wonder where Rosenqvist lands because it’s almost all but certain Alex Palou will be wearing papaya in 2024. His contract with Ganassi is said to be done at the end of this upcoming year and all signs are on the wall that he’s leaving and going to McLaren. With the F1 side having two young drivers, I don’t see Palou leaving Ganassi’s INDYCAR operation and going to McLaren’s Formula E side. He’s moving to their INDYCAR team with eyes on a future F1 seat.
That Indy only ride? Well that’s going to Kyle Larson now.
Think about that for a minute. In 2024, -Arrow McLaren will strut through Gasoline Alley and onto pit lane with O’Ward, Rossi, Palou and Larson. Good luck trying to beat that camp? Larson is entering a very good situation here with this team.
Last year, O’Ward finished runner-up in the Indy 500. Rosenqvist had an even better car for far longer and was fourth. Rossi finished 5th with Andretti and now comes aboard. Kanaan was the meat of the O’Ward and Rosenqvist sandwich in third.
That’s right, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th placed finishers in last year’s Indy 500 are on the same team for this year’s Greatest Spectacle in Racing. In 2024, you’re inserting Palou who finished second in 2021, had a top 3 car last year before a penalty but he rebounded to finish 9th. You have Rossi who has 5 top 7 finishes in 7 Indy 500 tries and the only reason it’s not 7-for-7 is because he crashed in 2020 while driving from the back after a pit exit penalty that dropped him from inside the top 3 to outside the top 20. In 2021, he had a top 5 car before that untimely first caution that pinned him on track while he ran out of gas on pit road and dropped him to the back of the field.
O’Ward has went from sixth to fourth to second in his three Indy 500 starts. Now you get Larson who’s won in everything he’s ever driven and joining this team.
The best anyone has ever done in the double was Tony Stewart in 2001 who finished sixth at Indy and third in Charlotte. Kurt Busch was the last to do so in 2014 where he finished sixth as a rookie at Indy but blew an engine in Charlotte.
Larson is the real deal and can do what no one else has done before – win of the other or dare I say…both