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Dale Jr., Joey Logano, and Others Comment on Kyle Larson’s Waiver

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What’s Happening?

This week, the focus of the NASCAR world has been on Kyle Larson. Will he receive a Playoff waiver, or will he not after missing the Coca-Cola 600 to start the Indianapolis 500? Some of the biggest names in the sport have all weighed in, and it’s fair to say that opinions are all over the place.

  • Kyle Larson was scheduled to attempt “The Double” on Memorial Day weekend, racing the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. However, bad weather came through, causing the Indianapolis 500 to be delayed. Larson missed the start of the Coca-Cola 600, which was eventually shortened due to weather, without Larson turning a lap.
  • The argument has two sides. On one hand, Larson had every intention of competing in the Coca-Cola 600 before the weather came, and NASCAR has given out plenty of waivers. However, the other argument is that Larson competed in a rival series, neglecting a “Crown Jewel” NASCAR Cup Series event.
  • There is minimal consensus amongst fans about whether or not Larson deserves a waiver. Some believe strongly that Larson deserves a waiver while others do not.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. gave his thoughts on his most recent episode of the Dale Jr. Download. He began by discussing Larson’s dilemma due to the amount of money and time invested into the Indy 500 effort.

Kyle Larson has to run the Indy 500. They have they have so much invested in that race. They’ve prepared all month, practicing, qualifying, money has been spent, and there’s there’s no way he can back out of trying to run that event. So, all right, that has to move forward and it did, right? That’s the choice they made, and that’s fine. Kyle may miss the 600 I’m totally fine with that. You know, that decision was not made Sunday. That decision was made way back when Kyle Larson said I want to do “The Double”, because when you make that choice you got to know that anything could happen to to make it tough to make both events, right? And so, he made that choice a long time ago, and I’m fine with it.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. had no problem with Kyle Larson missing the Coca-Cola 600 to compete in the Indianapolis 500. Given that the Indy 500 is the biggest motor race in the world, that makes sense, but is the decision all about how NASCAR feels about the situation? Earnhardt Jr. weighed in on that.

I feel like that Nascar has been so loose with these waivers at this point. I never doubted him getting a waiver, I thought he’d get one. I really don’t know how NASCAR feels about Kyle Larson going to race at Indy and missing the [Coca-Cola] 600. Do they care? Does that make them mad? Are they frustrated with Larson for choosing the 500 over the 600? In that moment, I don’t know even if they were a little annoyed. I doubt that it’s moving the needle much, and they would withhold the waiver. I think he gets the waiver.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t have a problem with Larson’s decision, and he doesn’t believe that NASCAR has an issue with it. However, this scenario is a big gray area, and Earnhardt Jr. does not share the same opinion as others.

Jeff Gluck and Jordan Bianchi

Jeff Gluck and Jordan Bianchi both weighed in on the debate in the most recent episode of “The Teardown.” Both took polar opposite sides in this debate. Gluck gave his opinion while playing the role of Hendrick Motorsports, talking to Bianchi, who was acting as NASCAR.

You’ve [NASCAR] literally given waivers to every single thing like ever pretty much. You give waivers for suspensions, people that you’ve suspended, and we [Hendrick] had every intention to be here we he came and qualified. It’s not like he was trying to miss the race, it’s not like he planned to just do Indy and skip your event. He wanted to do both. That was the entire thing. We sold thousands of t-shirts with us. We had a documentary crew do both. Our intention the entire time was to do both. In fact, we made a massive effort to get him back down there to get him in this race. He could have just stayed in Indy and said, ‘wow I ran the INDY 500 I’m too late I’m not going to come.’ We got him down there. We sent a jet. We did everything in good faith, and we were communicating with you the entire time of what was going to happen, so what else do you need to know? Oh, also,have you heard about something called Garage 56? Remember that that little thing we helped you out with yeah you better give us a freaking waiver dude

Jeff Gluck

Obviously, this was slightly dramatized as Gluck played the role of HMS in a theoretical situation, but the point still stands. Larson had every intention of competing in both races and made an honest effort to do so.

However, that was not enough for Jordan Bianchi. He believes that Larson does not deserve a waiver.

I think it’s it opens up a Pandora’s box, and it is a bad precedent to set. Yes they have given them for suspensions before, but, you could make the case that when those things have happened they’ve happened in NASCAR races. You look at this scenario this was a choice they made. You [Larson] knew if you went to Indy, and again all for it, great, you’re right hey great you guys sold more t-shirts, congratulations…But, you knew going to Indy brought risks, and there was consequences. You just skipped what is supposed to be a Marquee Crown Jewel race. A race that [Jeff Gluck] just said awards more points, so technically more important than any other regular season race because of the points awarded, and instead you went to Indy. It’s great, I’m glad you made that effort. You had every intention of coming here and running the race and starting the race, and I get that, but, once things got kicked down the road in Indianapolis why did NASCAR your full-time job why did that have to move to the back burner?

Jordan Bianchi

Bianchi reiterates that both Larson and HMS made this choice. Once the Indy 500 was delayed, Larson chose to compete at Indianapolis instead of a “Crown Jewel” NASCAR race. If Larson made that choice, then is it worth it for NASCAR to give him a waiver?

Joey Logano

Joey Logano was far more open-ended with his opinions. He never said specifically whether or not Larson deserved a waiver, but, he did explain why this argument is so difficult. This is due to the precedent that NASCAR has set with the waivers.

Here are some scenarios where it can get gray. It’s one thing if you get hurt in the race car. That’s black and white in my opinion. Well, in a NASCAR Cup car, the waiver makes sense to me that you can still compete in the Playoffs if you make the Playoffs. If you get in a car accident driving down the road? Does that deserve a waiver? Maybe, if you weren’t driving like an idiot. The scenario that happened last year with Chase Elliott, he gets hurt snowboarding. Do you get a waiver there? Pretty gray….pretty gray.

Joey Logano

Logano’s sentiment is that this rule is very unclear and the Kyle Larson situation represents a new gray area. This was somewhat echoed by NASCAR’s VP of Competition, Elton Sawyer, who called this particular Kyle Larson situation “Uncharted waters” in a recent interview on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio. This is a gray area.

However, Logano also considered the reality of the situation. While he felt for Larson’s difficulties, Logano admits that, while he does not know what NASCAR should do, Larson did prioritize Indy over NASCAR.

He [Larson] decided the Indy 500 is more important than the Coca-Cola 600. He made that decision, or his people, whoever, he was a part of it, he made the decision. He put IndyCar ahead of NASCAR, that’s the fact. Right or wrong? I don’t know. Waiver or not? I don’t know…I’m not taking anything away from what Larson did, I thought it was the most badass thing anyone can do, to try to run both of those races in one day.

Joey Logano

Logano later mentioned how NASCAR giving Larson a waiver could lead to some issues down the road. What if other drivers want to compete in other races or take weeks off? Does the precedent set by granting Larson a waiver allow other drivers to do that?

Let’s just say, next week, we win at Gateway, that would be great, and I decide there’s this race in Le Mans I want to run. Let’s just say I want to run that. Can I do that? Shoot, say I just want to take a week off! Can I do that? It opens up a can of worms is what I am trying to say.

Joey Logano

Denny Hamlin

Denny Hamlin is very much in favor of Larson getting a waiver. Hamlin looks at what Larson missed the Coca-Cola 600 for, to race in the Indianapolis 500. It’s a huge event, but, does NASCAR feel the same way?

[Kyle Larson] wasn’t missing this to go to a High Limit race, you know. He was missing this to do the Indy 500. I don’t know how NASCAR feels about him choosing Indy over the Coke 600, but I think it would be hard pressed for you to convince me that the Coke 600 is bigger event than the Indy 500. Would anyone make that argument?…I think I think yes he absolutely should. I think absolutely he will. I would think it’d be very hard that they made this decision without already consulting with NASCAR on what they would do.

Denny Hamlin

Hamlin believes that Larson and HMS likely made that decision after consulting with NASCAR. However, no waiver process has formally started, and Larson is not listed in the official Playoff standings on NASCAR.com. So, how true that statement is is unclear at the moment.

If these comments tell us anything, it’s how unclear this decision is, and that NASCAR has a very difficult decision. Let us know on Discord or X what your take is, and don’t forget you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube.

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