Motorsport News

Surely Kyle Larson Gets That Waiver, Right?

Nascar Cup Series

Mother Nature just had to rain on Kyle Larson‘s parade in both Indianapolis and Charlotte.

When it was announced that Larson would be staying in Indy to complete the Indianapolis 500, the prevailing thought was that Larson would get a waiver to remain eligible for the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. HMS and Larson had spent years and millions of dollars to prepare for his Indy 500 debut. There’s no way that Larson — the 2021 series champion and one of sport’s most popular drivers — would be denied, right?

But as of Thursday (May 30) night, there was no news on whether Larson’s waiver request has been approved or denied. He is no longer displayed on’s playoff standings and his championship hopes are currently in limbo, right in the hands of NASCAR and its upcoming decision.

What’s complicated the process for HMS and Larson is that no one knew he would be missing the start of the Coke 600 until Sunday morning (May 26), and a surprising rain-shortened ending to the Coke 600 prevented him from seeing a single lap in the No. 5 car (more on that ending later).

Furthermore, Hendrick hadn’t started the process for requesting a waiver until midway through the week after the race.

A decision that seemed like an afterthought and a no-brainer is now one that might have lasting implications — not just for Larson, but for NASCAR and all of its drivers as a whole.

“It’s a little bit unchartered waters for us, because in the past, the waivers have mostly been given for a medical reason,” said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition. “This one is a little bit different from that aspect.”

Whether you feel that Larson deserves a waiver or not, this whole situation feels like making a mountain out of a molehill. The only reason that waivers exist are because of the win-and-you’re-in format, as the points penalty for missing a single race prior to 2014 was too much for any driver to voluntarily skip a race. Larson himself dropped from a 30-point lead in the regular season standings to third place after missing the Coke 600, which is already a big penalty in the battle for the regular season championship and those coveted 15 playoff points.

That’s not to mention that in the 11-plus years of the elimination format, there have been egregious…

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