close
close

Spotter Tyler Monn will be Kyle Larson's eyes for the Indy 500 and NASCAR CocaCola 600 doubleheader

0

  • At the Indianapolis 500, Tyler Monn will share spotting duties for Kyle Larson with veteran IndyCar spotter Travis Gregg, who will be stationed in the third turn area.
  • Monn will be working near the first corner of the 2.5-mile track.
  • As for the Charlotte trip for the 600, Monn, 31, will take part in the air, helicopter and road rides that will be part of the adventure.

Dozens of individuals will be involved next month when NASCAR champion Kyle Larson attempts to become the youngest driver to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600, two of motorsports' premier races, on the same day.

However, one man will be closer to expanded action than most. Tyler Monn, who has been Larson's spotter for the past four seasons in the Cup Series, will also serve as driver spotter in Indy, tying him to Larson on May 26 for a possible 1,100 race miles.

The Indy-Charlotte Double is a grueling exercise that requires a complicated scheduling matrix to allow Larson to continue his busy Cup schedule while also taking part in 500 tests, practices and qualifications. Monn, 31, will take part in the air, helicopter and road rides that will be part of the adventure.

Qualifying for Toyota Owners 400 for the Nascar Cup Series

Jonathan Bachman//Getty Images

Kyle Larson will rely on crew chief Cliff Daniels to call the shots for the NASCAR half of the Memorial Day weekend doubleheader.

“I've never been more excited to do anything,” said Monn, who will play a key role in his first visit to the 500, one of the world's premier and most prestigious auto races. “It's a great opportunity. I’m sure I’ll be exhausted after the 600m, but it’s a chance to do something not many people have done.”

The Indy 500 is scheduled to start at 12:45 p.m. The 600 start time is 6:00 p.m. If Larson completes the 500 (and there are no weather delays or long red flag stops), he has about a two-hour window to get out of the speedway and fly to Concord, North Carolina, to get into his Hendrick-owned Chevrolet for the 600 Motorsports to rise.

Monn will be one of the few people riding in Larson's shadow. He accompanied Larson to Indy for a rookie test last year and is scheduled to be at the track this Wednesday and Thursday to cover for Larson at 500 open tests.

Spotting in the Indy 500 is significantly different than the same task in most Cup races. Monn will share spotting duties for Larson with veteran IndyCar spotter Travis Gregg, who will be stationed in the third turn area. Monn will be working near the first corner of the 2.5-mile track.

Tony Kanaan Kyle Larson IndyCar Indianapolis

Penske Entertainment/James Black

2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, left, coaches Kyle Larson during an IndyCar rookie testing session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“The guy in turn one picks up the car as it exits turn four, drives down the front straight and through one and two,” Monn said. “Then the guy takes her out of two in turn three and down the back straight and through three. They covered the entire route.”

Monn said he spent many nights watching the broadcasts of previous 500s to familiarize himself with traffic flow, pit stops and drivers' overtaking techniques.

“The biggest difference is in the passing game,” he said. “Normally in the cup it takes a while for a player to leave the line to pass. In IndyCar, as soon as you see this guy step out of line, you know he’s going to overtake immediately.”

Monn's job will be to keep Larson aware of activity around him and approaching cars in an environment with speeds exceeding 230 miles per hour.

The communication dynamics will also be different. “The main thing we talk about is the names,” Monn said. “When I tell Kyle in the Cup Series that the 20th car is behind him, he knows that that's Christopher Bell or that the ninth car is Chase Elliott. We’ll be using names in Indy because he doesn’t necessarily know all the car numbers, although we’ll be together so much on race day that it might be easier to put the numbers together with the names.”

Stamp

Mike Hembree has covered auto racing for numerous media outlets, including USA Today, NASCAR Scene, NBC Sports, The Greenville News and the SPEED Channel. He's been roaming garage areas and pit lanes for decades (although the persistent rumor that he drove the first Indianapolis 500 is untrue). A winner of numerous motorsports and other media awards, he has also covered virtually every other major sport. He lives near Gaffney, South Carolina and can be convinced to attend Bruce Springsteen concerts if you have tickets.