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No, it wasn’t Christopher Bell, speeding violations on the pit lanes of the Indy 500, or even Josef Newgarden. Mother Nature took away Kyle Larson’s chances of becoming only the second driver since Tony Stewart to complete all 1100 miles of a disappointing yet memorable ‘Memorial Day Double Duty’ at the Coca-Cola 600.

This feat meant a lot to Rick Hendrick, considering he “always dreamed of watching that race.” It is safe to say his dream was realized, as his co-backed Arrow-McLaren #17 entry finished P18, even leading a few laps at one point. But Larson’s incredible attempts faced flak from many, even before Justin Allgaier ran his first confirmed laps in the #5 Chevy at Charlotte. MRN’s Dave Moody is just one of those voices expressing concerns about NASCAR’s ‘watershed disaster’ involving Rick Hendrick & Co.

Disappointments doubling down for Hendrick Motorsports?

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Penalize Busch. He Was at Fault

Many were disappointed by the Cup Series points leader till that point ‘choosing’ the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ over the ‘Longest Race of the NASCAR calendar’ aware of its delayed consequences. But even more loathed NASCAR’s decision to call the race on Lap 249 due to rain on Sunday, crowning Christopher Bell the unlikely victor of a shortened 2024 Coke 600.

It seemed the rains in Indiana had followed Larson’s chopper all the way to North Carolina. Barely as the Hendrick #5’s original driver returned to relieve Allgaier from his own tremendous Double Duty (P33 in Xfinity race), lightning struck, and ensuing rains started flooding the pit lane. Larson fans were miserable following the stoppage, considering the rule book suggests a different predicament.

Larson missed out on competing/earning points in one of the first 26 races of the regular season, making him ineligible to contend for the playoffs battle, “unless otherwise authorized by NASCAR.” Owing to his situation, Larson requires a ‘waiver.’ Consider it a document issued by the top bosses that allows a driver to compete in the playoffs despite not meeting the normal qualifications. As of now, a decision is still under discussion within the tight walls of NASCAR. But the waiver calls in recent times have been anything but consistent.

According to Seth Eggert, just 4 waiver requests out of 35 have received the thumbs down since the system’s introduction in 2014. Additionally, applications for the last thirteen waivers in the NextGen era, starting in 2022, were all approved by NASCAR. Considering NASCAR & Hendrick Motorsports’ recent radio silence, many outcries have developed across social media platforms.

With the developments in Charlotte not completely fulfilled, Sirius XM Speedway host, Dave Moody, added to the chorus tweeting, “Apparently, NASCAR has just cooperated their way into having the NASCAR Cup Series point leader skip one of the biggest races of the year, in order to race elsewhere.”

 

In a follow-up message, Moody continued, “NASCAR says it has made no decision regarding a waiver, but I can’t imagine a smart guy like Rick Hendrick making a monumental decision like this without knowing the lay of the land.”

NASCAR often faces scrutiny through fan sentiments for its inconsistent and almost unbelievable decision-making policies that may/may not potentially backfire. But in the broader perspective of the incredible attention Kyle Larson’s failed attempt managed to garner for the sport and its future advances, the fans came forward in disagreement for both of Moody’s controversial statements.

Dave Moody vs. Fans – Did Kyle Larson skip the right race?

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One fan respectfully, yet comedically opined, “Dave, you’re being a little…..Moody. Larson is doing more for the sport of NASCAR by racing the Indy 500 than he is the Coke 600. So many people from around the WORLD are going to watch him today and say ‘Where can I watch him race next week?!'” Considering Adam Stern recently announced the Indy 500 received 8% more viewership numbers than last year, that can be deemed a fair observation.

Another fan provided some additional context for the sentiments writing, “Indy is not just “elsewhere” You of all people should know that.”

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Many complained about the current championship contention system consisting of 16 drivers battling out in the last 10 races of the season, calling it a “Mickey Mouse playoff format,” that “enables race skipping.” One fan emphasized these grievances, as they stated, And (Kyle Larson) he’ll  still be 4th in points at worse after today.” Ironically, Larson lost his points lead to Denny Hamlin who now sits above teammate Martin Truex Jr with a slim five-point lead, followed by Yung Money himself in third, instead of fourth. It is important to note Larson still leads both JGR drivers in stage points, albeit competing in one less race than them.

USA Today via Reuters

Taking things to the next level, one fan took it a little too far with Moody, a three-decade-plus veteran in the motorsports business. Referencing the gossipy nature of Larson’s unforeseeable developments emerging on Sunday, their tweet read, “What a horrible take on this. Don’t act like you haven’t used this storyline to benefit you. You should thank him for providing you with content.” Moody’s incredible contributions to NASCAR in general do not warrant such reactions. 

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Regardless this comment caught many eyes as it laid out ‘another angle’ to all the discussions on Moody’s original post. “Maybe Gordon/Hendrick, in this contentious battle over charter agreements, said “This is what we’re doing” Here’s a taste of racing without your superstars. Your move, NASCAR.”

What do you think will come of Larson’s waiver situation in these exciting developments?