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Hendrick Motorsports has 307 victories so far! The latest one was from Kyle Larson in Kansas. While the team encourages their drivers to steer clear of controversy, they do prompt them to explore their racing talents in different series—from dirt tracks to the High Limit series, and now even the Indy 500. But what if this is exactly what created an issue? For instance, this year, Kyle Larson is taking on the challenge of double duty, qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 108th Indy 500 and racing at North Wilkesboro.

However, there’s a chance Larson from the Hendrick Motorsports team might be late to the start at the North Wilkesboro All-Star race. But something unexpected happened after this. NASCAR made an announcement that seemed to benefit Larson, and the decision did not sit well with the community.

Kyle Larson’s advances to the final round at the Indy 500

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The #5 HMS driver has just made it into the last qualifying round of the Indy 500, scheduled from 5:25 to 5:55 p.m. ET, creating a tight timetable as he hasn’t even been in his NASCAR Cup car this weekend at North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Instead, Kevin Harvick has been handling practice and qualifying duties for Kyle Larson’s #5 Hendrick Motorsports car. With the NASCAR All-Star Race slated to begin around 8:30 p.m. ET, and $1 million on the line, Kyle Larson’s participation still hangs in the balance, as he has to race against the clock from Indianapolis to North Wilkesboro.

However, the narrow window to reach the racetrack with the Indy 500 qualifications led to a special adjustment by NASCAR. The organization has decided to delay the start of the All-Star Race to 8:30 p.m. ET, giving Larson and HMS some much-needed leeway to make it to North Wilkesboro in time. The update was shared by NASCAR on Twitter, stating, UPDATE: The green-flag time for tonight’s #AllStarRace has been moved to 8:30 p.m. ET to allow @KyleLarsonRacin extra time to arrive at @NWBSpeedway.”

It is this exact decision that people didn’t see coming. In the past, drivers like John Andretti in 1994, Tony Stewart in 1999 and 2001, Robby Gordon (five times), and Kurt Busch in 2014 also juggled similar schedules but never had the race timing adjusted for them.

And well, that led to some fans feeling that NASCAR might be showing favoritism towards Larson and Hendrick Motorsports, sparking a debate about fairness in the sport. How fair was this decision?

NASCAR’s decision to delay the race has stirred up a storm among fans

On social media, Jeff Gluck’s tweet about the delay got lots of attention, with many expressing their frustration. Fans appreciate Larson’s chance to make history by competing in both the Indy 500 and the NASCAR All-Star race on the same day. They acknowledge that participating in multiple racing series can enhance a driver’s skills and attract more viewers to NASCAR. Yet, many fans see the race delay as unfair preferential treatment.

 

Reactions range from annoyance to anger. One fan pointedly remarked, Why does a driver get preferred treatment? If he cannot be on time that is his business and not a reason to postpone a race,” while another vented, “Lame so one dude holds up the thing for everyone else. If I was there I would be pissed. 

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In fact, it turns out, the team didn’t have a backup plan as well. Vice President of Competition Chad Knaus stated that if the driver couldn’t make it to North Wilkesboro on time, they simply wouldn’t race. “…all of our cards are in getting Kyle here.” 

Accusations of favoritism were rampant, with comments like Not doing a lot to combat the Hendrick [Motorsports] favoritism allegations with this one 😂,” “Only for Hendrick,” and “Ofc. He’s Hendrick.” On similar lines, it turns out Knaus also shared that they spoke to NASCAR and explained how getting a different driver was not the best decision for them.

In addition to that, there seemed to be a palpable sense of disparity, as some recalled past instances where drivers like Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon weren’t afforded the same accommodation. “They didn’t wait for Tony or Robbie. What makes this punk special, one fan asked.

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Another speculated, I do like Kyle Larson, but not sure they would do it for anyone other than a Hendrick [Motorsports] car. All other drivers are waiting for one to make there. Oh well, better tune to start with the good weather today.”

Clearly, a lot of X users were not okay with NASCAR’s decision. What’s your take on NASCAR’s decision to delay the race for Larson? Do you think it’s fair to other drivers and teams?