CONCORD, N.C. – Kyle Larson was back on track in the IndyCar world with Wednesday’s open test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway ahead of next month’s Indianapolis 500. 

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Driving the No. 17 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, in partnership with Hendrick Motorsports, Larson was the second-fastest car on track (226.384 mph/39.7554 seconds) in the two-hour morning session, which saw him run 43 laps. Three-time INDYCAR Series champion and defending Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden topped the board (39.3338 seconds). 

In the second session, Larson placed 12th but only ran four laps before rain canceled the remainder of the day. Wet weather also washed out Thursday's open test time, but Larson spent the day at the Arrow McLaren shop. 

"For what I needed to learn and check off my list, I thought it was a successful day," Larson said after Wednesday's sessions.

Wednesday's on-track time was the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion's first around other IndyCars. Larson's previous track time came in February during a solo test session at Phoenix Raceway and last October's Rookie Orientation Program (ROP) at Indianapolis.

PHOTOS: See scenes from the open test for Larson, No. 17 team

"It's valuable because you are not going to spend the whole race in the lead," Larson said of being able to run laps in clean and dirty air. "For a guy like me, I'll probably spend 99 percent of my race in traffic. I'm just trying to get familiar with that and learn the balance. I was surprised with the first bit of traffic we got in; the balance felt normal, but later on that same set of tires, I was getting tighter and tighter after making some ins and outs.

"It was good to experience what that felt like. The packs I've been in have only had two or three cars, but it'll be different when the field is out there. I've just got to keep getting laps and as the packs keep getting bigger, I'll learn a lot more."

Larson described needing to feel things out on his own as he gets familiar with an IndyCar. He noted how there's been different things to focus on at each test he's been a part of as he gets acclimated to a new race car. 

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"I wanted to feel the car at the ROP and just feel like little stuff," Larson said. What the steering wheel felt like. Visually, what all that felt like. That was good. Then go to Phoenix. Now I want to feel the car and it slipping and moving. Work on the ins and outs of pit stalls and things like that. That was good for that test.

"Now, today, I could move on to the next thing. How does it look around cars? How does what I've learned in the past translate to now being behind cars? ... I'm fortunate that I was able to do the ROP last year and then be allowed to run that little bit at Phoenix. I think it's definitely going to help."

The next time Larson will be on track in an IndyCar will be the opening practice for the Indy 500 on Tuesday, May 14. That kicks off two weeks of track activity that includes multiple practices, qualifying and culminates in the race on Sunday, May 26.

In what is being called the #Hendrick1100, Larson is aiming to run the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. As announced in January, the prestigious Arrow McLaren team is preparing the effort for Larson's Indy 500 run. is sponsoring both efforts and team owner Rick Hendrick will be the car owner for both. This marks the NASCAR Hall of Famer's first foray into IndyCar ownership. In August, the livery for both cars was unveiled in Indianapolis.

PHOTOS: See the livery for Kyle Larson's #Hendrick1100 cars

To prepare for his INDYCAR run, Larson has been working with Tony Kanaan, Arrow McLaren's sporting director, to get used to the characteristics of an IndyCar. Larson and Kanaan were victorious teammates in the 2015 Rolex 24 At Daytona with Chip Ganassi Racing. Brian Campe, the technical director for Hendrick Motorsports, is also very involved in this project. Campe brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, having transitioned from an IndyCar to stock cars. He won the Indianapolis 500 as a race engineer in 2015 with Juan Pablo Montoya and was the chief engineer on the 2017 championship-winning team of Josef Newgarden. 

Larson is attempting to become the fifth driver to run "The Double." John Andretti, Kurt Busch, Robby Gordon and Tony Stewart are the others. Busch was the most recent to do it in 2014, while Stewart (in 2001) was the only driver to complete all 1,100 miles of "The Double." No driver to attempt it has won either leg.