NASCAR confirms discussions about granting Kyle Larson a playoff waiver but no request yet by Hendrick

INDIANAPOLIS — Hendrick Motorsports has yet to request a waiver for Kyle Larson to maintain playoff eligibility if he misses the start of the Coca-Cola 600, but NBC Sports has learned that talks have occurred between the team and NASCAR about the scenario.

Confirming that discussions had occurred, a NASCAR spokesman said no decision had been made because the team needed to submit a request for a waiver to be granted. NASCAR rules stipulate that drivers must start all 26 regular-season races to be eligible for the playoffs.

Technically, a team is unable to request the waiver until a driver officially misses the start, so it's highly
unlikely that NASCAR would decide on a waiver today (and certainly not before the Coca-Cola 600 begins).

A storm delayed the 12:45 p.m. ET start of the Indy 500, leaving Larson in jeopardy of his attempt at "The Double." The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion was bidding to become the fifth driver to run the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.

Rain had stopped at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as of 2:30 p.m. ET, and track president Doug Boles was hoping to dry the 2.5-mile track in two hours. IMS has rented NASCAR's Air Titan track drying system.

The green flag for the Coca-Cola is at 6:22 p.m. ET. Though NASCAR has said it would work with Larson and Hendrick to adjust the start time at Charlotte Motor Speedway, there'd be no viable option of racing the Indy 500 today and then making it to North Carolina before 9:30 p.m. ET at the earliest.

Both Larson and Hendrick Motorsports vice chairman Jeff Gordon said during prerace interviews with NBC Sporrts’ Marty Snider that starting the Indy 500 would be the priority today, indicating the No. 17 Dallara-Chevrolet driver would take the green flag at the Brickyard. The team confirmed the decision in a 3:34 p.m. social media post.

Kyle Larson - 2024 Indianapolis 500 Rookie Luncheon - By_ Titus Slaughter_Large Image Without Watermark_m105971.jpg
Kyle Larson - 2024 Indianapolis 500 Rookie Luncheon - By_ Titus Slaughter_Large Image Without Watermark_m105971.jpg

Rain delays start at Brickyard, but Kyle Larson says Indy 500 remains his priority: ‘We need to run it’

The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion remains committed to his IndyCar debut even if it means missing the start of the Coca-Cola 600.

Hendrick has Justin Allgaier on standby to start the Coke 600 in the No. 5 Chevrolet. Larson would be able to relieve Allgaier but would receive no points.

If Larson were to leave the Indy 500 early, he wouldn't be allowed to have a relief driver per an Indy 500 rule since 2015.

Even if Larson were to endure a mechanical failure or a crash early in the Indy 500, it's unlikely he would be able to get to Charlotte in time for a 6:22 p.m. green flag as it takes somewhere between 75 to 90 minutes.