‘I felt uncomfortable’- Justin Allgaier Admits Stomach Sickness Before Taking Over Kyle Larson’s Car

Justin Allgaier stepped into the spotlight during Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, taking over for Kyle Larson in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 car. As the designated standby driver, Allgaier faced a daunting task: stepping in for one of the hottest drivers in the series.

When rain delayed the start of the Indianapolis 500, it became clear that Larson would have to choose between completing the Indy 500 or making it to Charlotte for the 600. He opted for the latter, and Allgaier got the nod to take the green flag.

Starting from the rear due to the driver change, Allgaier initially struggled, feeling like he was “going on the wrong side of the road.” However, as the laps ticked away, he found his rhythm. Working with crew chief Cliff Daniels, he logged fast laps and even unlapped himself before the end of stage one.

Talking with Bob Pockrass Allgaier revealed, “I was actually not in a great spot. I felt like at that moment, I was kind of knowing that things were gonna happen and be the way that they were. And it’s not for real because I was nervous.”

“It was, I felt uncomfortable because I knew what the job was, but I also knew how tall of a task it was, right? To not have any laps, to not have been in this race car this year at all, in race conditions with other cars on the race track. There’s so many variables that I think you have to think about.”

justin Allgaier’s primary mission was clear: keep the car intact for Larson. He knew that crashing the car would jeopardize Larson’s chances. “If I crash the car, it doesn’t matter when Kyle gets here,” Allgaier emphasized. His job was to hand over a competitive car to Larson, allowing him to go for the win whenever he took over.

In the end, Allgaier finished 13th when the red flag halted the race. His performance showcased his adaptability and commitment to the team, even in unexpected circumstances. As a capable backup, he stepped up when needed, proving that racing is about more than just the driver behind the wheel.

Why did Justin step into Kyle Larson’s car?

Justin Allgaier had been on standby since January, aware that he might need to step into Kyle Larson’s shoes if Larson didn’t make it back from the Indianapolis 500.

On the morning of the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600, Allgaier faced uncertainty. Would he actually drive Larson’s No. 5 Chevrolet at Charlotte Motor Speedway? The plan was for Allgaier to hold the fort until Larson arrived from the Indy 500. However, Mother Nature had other ideas, and the weather disrupted their original intentions.

During the race, the Hendrick Motorsports team decided not to swap drivers under yellow flag conditions. Doing so would risk losing track position to other cars that weren’t pitting. But when the red flag came out, the driver swap finally happened. Allgaier stepped into Larson’s car, showcasing his adaptability and skill.

Allgaier acknowledged the unique situation. As a substitute, he didn’t want to replace a driver due to injury, as was the case with Chase Elliott last year. While driving a dream-worthy car was cool, he hoped not to find himself in such a scenario again.

Justin said, “And for me, it really didn’t matter whether I substituted or didn’t come up.
That’s something for me that I’ve been in that organization for a long time. I can’t not state enough how amazing the Hendrick Motorsports organization is. So, you know, for me, I’m here. I have a fire suit. This fire suit didn’t happen this week.”

He continued, “For me, if I crashed on lap one or if Kyle goes out and wins the race, it doesn’t change the game. Pridefully, I want Kyle to go win the race because I want to know that the adjustments that we made and the speed that we found tonight will ultimately give him the opportunity to do that. But regardless of how he finishes, I mean, just the double in his own,
the planes, trains, and automobiles that he played on to get here, it’s really special. So, you know, it’s been a fun day.”

“I’m glad it’s over, and I’ll go to Portland next week with the Xfinity Steers card. Just be Justin again, and go have some fun with that.”

Allgaier’s day in the #5 car

Justin Allgaier found himself unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. With rain delaying the start of the Indianapolis 500, Kyle Larson faced a dilemma: either leave Indy early to race in the 600 or miss the start of the 600 to complete Indy. Larson chose the latter, and Allgaier was on standby to take the green flag in Larson’s place.

Starting from the rear due to the driver change, Allgaier initially faced challenges. He hovered around 35th in the opening laps, feeling like he was “in Europe going on the wrong side of the road.” However, as the laps ticked away, Allgaier found his groove. Working closely with crew chief Cliff Daniels, he logged fast laps and even unlapped himself before the end of stage one. The highlight? Passing a Hendrick Motorsports teammate (William Byron) and Ty Gibbs, both respected competitors.

Allgaier understood the delicate balance. His job was to keep the car intact for Larson, who would take over later. “If I crash the car,” Allgaier said, “the Double is over.” He wanted to ensure that Larson had a competitive car to chase victory when he arrived in Charlotte.

Around lap 115, the checkered flag waved for the Indy 500, where Larson made his open-wheel debut. Larson ran top 10 for much of the race but faced a late pit road speeding penalty, finishing 18th. Meanwhile, Allgaier drove 249 laps in Larson’s No. 5 Chevrolet, ultimately securing a commendable 13th-place finish in the rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600.

Kyle Larson’s heartbreaking message after missing ‘The Double’

Kyle Larson’s emotional response after missing the Coca-Cola 600 due to his commitment to the Indianapolis 500 was heartfelt and candid. Here’s what he shared:

“What I thought could be one of the best days of my life quickly turned into one of the most disappointing ones I’ve ever experienced. I hate it for Rick Hendrick, Jeff Gordon, HAG, Hendrick Motorsports, everyone a part of the 5 team, everyone on the 17 indycar for speeding, my family, my friends, my fans, and the documentary crew that has followed along the journey the past 8 months.”

“So much time, money, and effort went into this experience and it just kills me to have it all end the way it did. I feel like I let so many people down. We knew all along weather could throw a wrench into things but seeing it come to reality is a horrible feeling. Up until Sunday it was truly one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

“I can’t describe how appreciative I am of everyone’s support of me to live out a dream. I hope it’s not the last opportunity I have to try the Double but if it is I guess it was memorable. Thank you to everyone at Arrow McLaren, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and all the competitors there for making me feel welcomed. Ready to get back on track now and get refocused on winning a 2nd championship for our team.”

Ask for waiver rise after Kyle Larson missed ‘The Double’

On that fateful Sunday, Larson’s dream quickly turned into disappointment. He started the Indy 500 strong, qualifying fifth with Arrow McLaren. However, a pit lane speeding penalty dashed his chances of a strong finish. Meanwhile, at Charlotte Motor Speedway, his NASCAR Cup Series car awaited him. The plan was to race in Indianapolis and then fly to Charlotte to take over the No. 5 Chevrolet.

As the rain-delayed Indy 500 progressed, Larson prepared to switch gears. But fate intervened. Just as he settled into his NASCAR pit stall, the Coca-Cola 600 went into a weather delay. The race never resumed, leaving Larson stranded—his shot at completing The Double slipping away.

In a heartfelt post, Larson expressed his disappointment: “What I thought could be one of the best days of my life quickly turned into one of the most disappointing ones I’ve ever experienced.” He acknowledged the tremendous effort put into this endeavor by his team, sponsors, and fans. The emotional toll was evident: “I feel like I let so many people down.”

Now, the question looms: Will NASCAR grant Larson a waiver? The rules stipulate that a driver must participate in every race to be eligible for the postseason. Larson missed the Coca-Cola 600 due to circumstances beyond his control. Hendrick Motorsports must file a waiver request on his behalf, seeking special permission for the 2021 season champion to race in the playoffs.

The decision rests with NASCAR officials. Should they grant the waiver, Larson will have another chance at The Double next year. If not, this memorable attempt will remain etched in racing lore—a testament to his determination and the unpredictable nature of motorsports.


  1. Why did Kyle Larson miss the Coca-Cola 600?
    • Kyle Larson missed the Coca-Cola 600 due to his inaugural attempt at “The Double.” He aimed to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coke 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the same day.
  2. What is “The Double”?
    • “The Double” refers to the ambitious challenge of racing in both the Indianapolis 500 (IndyCar) and the Coca-Cola 600 (NASCAR Cup Series) on the same day. Larson attempted this feat in 2024.
  3. How did weather impact Larson’s double attempt?
    • Inclement weather in both Indianapolis and Charlotte disrupted Larson’s efforts. Despite a four-hour rain delay in Indy, he completed the full 200-lap race with an 18th-place finish in his IndyCar debut. However, he missed the start of the Coke 600.
  4. Why did NASCAR grant Larson a waiver for the playoffs?
    • Larson was granted a waiver because he made every effort to get to Charlotte Motor Speedway after the Indy 500. He arrived at the speedway in uniform and ready to race, but rain stopped and shortened the race, preventing him from getting in his car.
  5. How did NASCAR officials decide on the waiver?
    • NASCAR faced uncharted waters, as Larson missed a championship event to be at another race. Ultimately, they decided to grant him the exemption, considering his regular-season performance and leadership input.
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