NASCAR Grants Kyle Larson Special Waiver to Qualify for Cup Series Playoffs

Arrow McLaren/Rick Hendrick driver Kyle Larson (17) makes a pit stop Sunday, May 26, 2024, during the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Arrow McLaren/Rick Hendrick driver Kyle Larson (17) makes a pit stop Sunday, May 26, 2024, during the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. / Gary Mook/For IndyStar / USA TODAY

After his ballyhooed May 26 attempt at "double duty" went sideways, NASCAR is giving driver Kyle Larson a mulligan at Cup Series championship eligibility.

Larson has received a waiver to remain eligible for the NASCAR playoffs despite rules that bar drivers from championship eligibility if they miss a race, stock car racing's governing body announced Tuesday morning.

The owner of two NASCAR wins this season, Larson had designs on running both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on May 26. Finishing 18th in the former after a lengthy rain delay, Larson arrived via air during another rain delay 249 laps into the latter—which was eventually called.

“We didn’t take it lightly,” NASCAR senior vice president of competition Elton Sawyer said Tuesday. “There was a lot of discussion internally... We ultimately landed at giving Kyle a waiver. Essentially our decision-making was, although we had the inclement weather in Indianapolis as well as Charlotte, Kyle made every attempt to get to Charlotte. He was standing in the pit box with his helmet on ready to go."

Larson won the NASCAR Cup Series title in 2021, the only championship of his career. Kurt Busch in 2014 is the most recent driver to successfully start both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600, finishing sixth in Indianapolis and 40th in Charlotte.


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Patrick Andres

PATRICK ANDRES

Patrick Andres has been a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated since 2022. Before SI, his work appeared in The Blade, Athlon Sports, Fear the Sword, and Diamond Digest. Patrick has covered everything from zero-attendance Big Ten basketball to a seven-overtime college football game. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.