NASCAR reviews HMS petition for Kyle Larson's playoff eligibility, no decision timeline set

The 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500
Kyle Larson in The 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500 (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Kyle Larson's eligibility for the 2024 Cup Series playoffs is currently uncertain as NASCAR is mulling over whether the #5 Hendrick Motorsports driver should be given a playoff waiver. Larson failed to start the Coca-Cola 600 during his Memorial Day weekend Double Duty attempt.

Larson attempted the Double last weekend, however, the Indy 500 was delayed by four hours due to a rain storm. It forced Hendrick Motorsports to choose between the Triple Crown event and the NASCAR Crown Jewel race. The top bosses at HMS prioritized the IndyCar event due to the effort and resources poured into the venture.

After Kyle Larson secured a P18 finish in the maiden Indy 500 effort, he flew back to Charlotte only to be greeted with more rain as NASCAR called the race official. With the 2021 NASCAR Cup champion missing a regular season event, Hendrick Motorsports had requested a waiver for the #5 Chevy driver.

AP Sports reporter Jenna Fryer confirmed that NASCAR has received a request for a waiver from HMS. However, there is no timeline as to when they will announce the decision.

"Update: #NASCAR confirms it has received a request for a waiver for Larson from Hendrick Motorsports and says no timetable for when decision will be made," Fryer wrote on X (formerly Twitter.)

After the introduction of the playoff system, NASCAR made it mandatory for drivers to participate in every race, preventing them from missing races after qualifying for the postseason. A team can request waivers to keep the driver eligible.

NASCAR has previously granted waivers for drivers who were forced to miss races due to injury/illness. Kyle Larson has already qualified for the playoffs with two wins. Larson's case is unique as he and his team prioritized the Indy 500 over the Coca-Cola 600.

There are many arguments in Larson's favor as he intended to participate in the Coca-Cola 600 and flew back to complete the rest of the race. He also brought plenty of attention to both NASCAR and IndyCar with his Double attempt.

NASCAR VP elaborates on Kyle Larson's waiver request

Elton Sawyer, NASCAR's Senior VP of Competition, recently shed light on how they process a waiver request. He stated that a single person doesn't make the decision to grant waivers.

Sawyer also conceded that NASCAR was in unchartered waters with Kyle Larson's case. He also added that they hadn't decided after preliminary discussions.

In a recent appearance on SiriusXM Radio, Sawyer said:

"I think you look at it from the standpoint of, obviously they submit the request. He has missed a race, so we start — it’s a little bit of uncharted waters for us, because in the past the waivers have been mostly given for a medical reason, so this one is a little bit different, from that aspect, and just a lot of, we’ve had some preliminary discussions, but we haven’t landed."

The delay in announcing the verdict has certainly increased the anticipation surrounding Larson's eligibility for the playoffs.

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