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Will Kyle Larson Miss NASCAR Playoffs After Failure to Race at Charlotte? NASCAR Waiver Policy Explained

Gowtham Ramalingam

“A Lot of Room for Improvement”: Kyle Larson Downplays Himself Despite 2023 Milestone

“Unless otherwise authorized by NASCAR, driver(s) and Team Owner(s) must start all Championship Events of the current season to be eligible for The Playoffs.” That’s what the NASCAR Rule Book states in regard to playoff eligibility. The only question after the end of the rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 is, where does this put Kyle Larson, who did not start the race?

The Hendrick Motorsports star opted to stay in Indianapolis to complete the rain-delayed Indy 500 despite knowing the fact that he would not be able to start his Cup Series race on time if he did so. He ended up in 18th place after leading four laps throughout the event and flew to the Charlotte Motor Speedway to take over the #5 Chevrolet Camaro that Justin Allgaier was turning laps in.

Unfortunately for him, even before he could get into his seat, heavy rain began hitting Charlotte as well and the promotion decided to end the race at Lap 249 and Christopher Bell was announced as the winner. End of the day, Murphy’s law kicked into action for Larson and everything that could go wrong went wrong. So, what are the chances of his request to waive the playoff eligibility rule being entertained?

History sets an optimistic precedence. The promotion has granted playoff waivers for reasons far less justifiable than Larson’s. Kyle Busch was granted a waiver in 2015 after missing 11 races and he went on to win that year’s title. Chase Elliott was given two waivers, one for injury and one for suspension. 

Will Kyle Larson be given a playoff waiver by NASCAR?

NASCAR has been in the know about Larson’s Double attempt for over a year now. This must have given Hendrick Motorsports plenty of time to consider such a worst-case scenario and prepare a plan of action for it. Moreover, it was with the approval of his team that Larson opted to stay in Indianapolis instead of flying to Charlotte immediately after the rain delay for the Indy 500 was announced.

Fox Sports reporter Bob Pockrass said about the matter from Charlotte, “NASCAR hasn’t obviously told us that he would get the waiver but Hendrick wouldn’t put Justin Allgaier in the car if they thought there was any chance they weren’t getting a waiver. It’s the right call.” His contention was that Larson’s participation in the Indy 500 was ultimately beneficial for NASCAR. The promotion is yet to announce if it sees things the same way.

About the author

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham is a NASCAR journalist at The SportsRush. Though his affinity for racing stems from Formula 1, he found himself drawn to NASCAR's unparalleled excitement over the years. As a result he has shared his insights and observations by authoring over 350 articles on the sport. An avid fiction writer, you can find him lost in imaginary worlds when he is not immersed in racing. He hopes to continue savoring the thrill of every lap and race together with his readers for as long as he can.

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