Kyle Larson playoff decision finally confirmed by NASCAR

Kyle Larson has retained his eligibility for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, with NASCAR having finally granted him a waiver.
Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR
Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR / Logan Riely/GettyImages

More than a week after Hendrick Motorsports requested a playoff waiver for Kyle Larson, NASCAR has finally made the decision to grant him one.

Larson was in need of a waiver after missing the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway two weekends ago. He was attempting to complete the Memorial Day Double, first by competing in IndyCar's Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and then by competing in the Coca-Cola 600.

But rain caused the Indy 500 to be delayed by four hours, and with Larson opting to stay to compete, he missed the start of the Coca-Cola 600. Justin Allgaier was called upon to fill in for him behind the wheel of the No. 5 Chevrolet.

When Larson arrived at Charlotte, 249 of the scheduled 400 laps had been run around the four-turn, 1.5-mile (2.414-kilometer) Concord, North Carolina, but the rain had started to fall.

NASCAR later made the decision to call the race, meaning that instead of becoming the fifth individual to attempt the Memorial Day Double, Larson became just the first driver since 1995 to see his Memorial Day Double attempt end with an appearance in only one of the two crown jewel races.

As a result, Kurt Busch's Memorial Day Double attempt in 2014 remains the most recent, though it is believed that Larson will try again in 2025.

Kyle Larson playoff waiver saga

Larson had already presumably locked up his Cup Series playoff spot by winning the races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway earlier in the year.

However, unless a waiver is granted following an unexpected absence, drivers must compete in all 26 races on the regular season schedule to remain eligible for the playoffs.

Given the wide range of reasons for NASCAR granting playoff waivers in the past, it was believed that Larson receiving one was a foregone conclusion. However, as more and more time passed with no decision having been made, it seemed that there was a very real possibility of him not being granted one.

NASCAR even removed his playoff point total from the playoff standings. Larson had already earned 17 playoff points this season, 10 thanks to his two race victories and seven thanks to his series-leading seven stage victories. NASCAR credited him with zero, meaning that he was, at that point, ineligible for the playoffs and thus the championship.

But now the debate is over, and the speculation has ended. Barring anything unforeseen over the course of the regular season's final 11 races, the 2021 champion is locked into the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, and he has all 17 of his playoff points back.

Larson, who had led the point standings since the race at Martinsville Speedway in early April before missing the Coca-Cola 600, sits in second place now, trailing only Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin.

NASCAR: Austin Cindric not locked into playoffs after Gateway. NASCAR: Austin Cindric not locked into playoffs after Gateway. dark. Next

The Toyota/Save Mart 350 is the next race on the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series schedule. It is set to be broadcast live on Fox from Sonoma Raceway starting at 3:30 p.m. ET this Sunday, June 9. Start a free trial of FuboTV now and don't miss any of the action!