NASCAR: 5 championship contenders who could miss the playoffs entirely

Five usual contenders to win the NASCAR Cup Series championship are at risk of missing the 2024 playoffs entirely.
Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR
Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages
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5. Kyle Larson

The fact that Kyle Larson even needs to be included here is a bit ridiculous, but there is a chance that NASCAR won't grant him a playoff waiver after he missed the rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Larson, who had led the Cup Series points standings since early April heading into this past weekend, has won twice this season. One would think that those multiple victories would lock him into the postseason, but drivers technically must compete in all 26 races in order to be eligible, unless they get a waiver.

Larson's Memorial Day Double attempt got a bit chaotic when the 108th running of the Indy 500 was rain-delayed by four hours at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Despite being a full-time Cup Series driver, he opted to stay and run all 200 laps at the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) Speedway, Indiana oval.

It was Justin Allgaier who piloted the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in what ended up being a 249-lap rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 at the four-turn, 1.5-mile (2.414-kilometer) Concord, North Carolina oval.

Larson was at the track ready to run the final 151 laps of the scheduled 400-lap race, even though he had already given up his opportunity to score any points by being late, but rain caused the event to be called early.

As a result, he never turned a lap, becoming just the second driver ever to attempt the Memorial Day Double and only end up competing in one of the two races. It hadn't happened since 1995.

NASCAR not granting arguably their best driver a waiver after weather impacted his Memorial Day Double attempt, especially since he did, in fact, qualify for the Coca-Cola 600 on Saturday, would be shambolic on many levels, but it remains a possibility.

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There are 12 races remaining on the 26-race regular season schedule, starting with this coming Sunday afternoon's Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. Fox Sports 1 is set to provide live coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET. Start a free trial of FuboTV now if you have not already had a chance to do so and don't miss any of the action!