NASCAR officials granted Kyle Larson a waiver on Tuesday to restore his eligibility for the Cup Series Playoffs.

Hendrick Motorsports applied for the exception after Larson missed the Coca-Cola 600 on May 26, with his arrival at Charlotte Motor Speedway delayed by rain at the Indianapolis 500, where he finished 18th in his IndyCar debut. Larson has qualified for the Cup Series’ 16-driver postseason field as a two-time winner this season.

The NASCAR Rule Book covers eligibility in Section, which states: “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. If a starting position was not earned, then the driver(s) and Team Owner(s) must have attempted to Qualify, at the discretion of the Series Managing Director, for the Race.”

“We didn’t take it lightly,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, 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.

“This was without a doubt uncharted waters for us,” Sawyer said. “In the past those waivers have been given mostly for medical reasons. … This one was unprecedented in that we had a driver miss one of our races, a championship event, to be at another event. That’s why it took as long as it did.

“There were different views from different people. Everyone had a view on it. The ultimate decision we wanted to get to was the right decision, and we feel like we got there.”


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