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Ken de la Bastide: Ken de la Bastide column: NASCAR should grant Larson's waiver

Jun. 4—Although the proverbial wheels are not falling off, NASCAR has big decisions to make as the 2024 season rolls along.

The first has to do with the waiver request of Kyle Larson to be allowed to compete for the championship during the "Chase."

Unfortunately for both NASCAR and Larson, Mother Nature didn't cooperate with his attempt to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and the race at Charlotte.

Rain resulted in a four-hour delay for the start of the Indy 500, and when Larson arrived at the track in North Carolina, that race was in a rain delay and was not restarted despite the fact the track was dry.

Under NASCAR rules, Larson would not be eligible to compete for the championship because he missed a race.

Larson and his Hendrick Racing team have requested a waiver to allow him to compete for a second championship.

He was leading the points standings before Charlotte and already won a race, which would have locked him into the Chase.

Right now, among fans of racing, Larson is the most recognizable driver in the country.

He competed admirably at the Indianapolis 500, the first time he drove an IndyCar, contends weekly in the NASCAR events and when not at a NASCAR race is competing in sprint cars on dirt tracks around the country.

Not granting a waiver would be a black eye for NASCAR, one that will leave fans and competitors shaking their collective head.

Instead of embracing that Larson could compete with the best drivers in IndyCar, something that should be viewed as a positive for NASCAR, it is considering penalizing the driver instead.

Instead of leaving the decision to NASCAR officials, team owners and other drivers who compete against Larson should be asked to determine whether or not the waiver should be granted.

The other big news last week was the Stewart-Haas racing team is going to disband after this season.

What happens to the four drivers and crew members at the end of the year is unknown as well as who will purchase the four charters the team owns, guaranteeing a starting spot in all NASCAR races.

Is it possible, even with the charters and sponsorships, the Stewart-Haas team is facing a fiscal crunch?

NASCAR is in the process of developing a new agreement with team owners on the distribution of broadcasting rights revenue.

A first proposal was met by some team owners as a lot of work remains to be done.

It's going to be an interesting few weeks for NASCAR.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.