Kyle Larson’s Indy 500 Announcement Triggers Confusion Around “Playoff Waiver” & Kyle Busch

Published 01/19/2023, 10:45 AM EST
Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch

The 2022 NASCAR season ended on November 6. A lot transpired during the season, and even during that season finale race at Phoenix. But that’s history now. Since that race, things have changed in the landscape of the sport, and among the two biggest affected are Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch.

Starting with Larson, 2023 comes at a crucial time in his career. After hitting a new peak in 2021, with his brilliant Cup Series title win, 2022 was a big disappointment. Even Hendrick Motorsports signaled in recent interviews that they wanted more consistency from their drivers going ahead. 

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That, however, isn’t the only reason. 16 months ahead of the race, HMS and Larson announced that he will be participating in the Indy 500. Larson further added that he would be attempting the Double, i.e. completing the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.

The enormity of that task is not lost on anyone in NASCAR. In the history of the sport, only one driver has been able to do that – Tony Stewart. A lot of others have tried but have failed.

A keen fan had a peculiar doubt about that attempt – “If you miss the 600 because of an Indy wreck. Playoff waiver, or SOL?” Bob Pockrass replied, “nascar would never tell us that until it happens but my guess is they would get a waiver.”

To go out of contention for the 2023 title that way would be very unlucky for Larson and for HMS.

Could Kyle Busch make an attempt too?

Attempting both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day is an arduous task. Just looking at the brief list of people who have attempted to do that in the last few years is proof of that.

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 06: Kyle Busch (#18 Joe Gibbs Racing M&M’s Toyota) gets into the back of Kyle Larson (#5 Hendrick Motorsports HendrickCars.com Chevrolet) during the Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum NASCAR Cup Series race on February 06, 2022, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The last person to attempt this was Kurt Busch in 2014. But it’s not like others haven’t wanted to do it. Kyle Busch, for one, has for long wanted to take a crack at this. However, in the last 15 years, he never got the green light from his employers at Joe Gibbs Racing. Things could change in 2023. Richard Childress Racing has been very vocal about their openness to that question.

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With RCR willing, Busch could very well make his attempt at the feat in 2023 – a whole year before Larson has the chance to do it. The only reason to believe Busch won’t be making that attempt in 2023 is the fact that his participation in the Indy 500 hasn’t been announced yet.

That’s what fans are concerned about as well with one fan saying on Twitter, “Wanted kyle busch:(“ Larson has received his chance at the Indy 500 but things are yet to materialize for the RCR driver.

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Watch This Story: Alex Bowman Disagrees With Teammate Kyle Larson After Publicly Boycotting the Chilli Bowl

There’s still time for the Indy 500, and there’s still time for his participation to be announced. With no guarantee of the future, Busch might want to make his attempt this year.

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Abhay Tyagi

510 articles

Abhay Tyagi is a Formula 1 Author at EssentiallySports. Although he has completed his undergrad in Law and Management, he has always been eager to venture into the exciting field of sports journalism. With a special affinity for Engineering and Speed, Abhay has always found the world of Formula 1 quite exhilarating.

Edited By: Akash Pandhare

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