NASCAR's Kyle Larson Waiver: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Raises Concerns and Insights

"The one thing that I hope is that NASCAR makes it a little clearer what happens going forward."

by Sead Dedovic
NASCAR's Kyle Larson Waiver: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Raises Concerns and Insights
© Meg Oliphant/Getty Images Sport

Kyle Larson receiving a waiver is definitely the main topic in the NASCAR scene. Opinions vary regarding whether NASCAR should have granted this great driver a waiver. While some believe that NASCAR made a great decision, others think that NASCAR officials need to clarify rules to provide fans and drivers with a clearer picture of certain matters. 

Dale Earnhardt Jr., a former NASCAR star, has shared his perspective on the situation. Dale believes that NASCAR must provide a clearer picture of everything. He expects similar situations to arise in the future, and NASCAR leaders must be prepared for such occurrences.

“The one thing that I hope is that NASCAR makes it a little clearer what happens going forward. This is a new precedent and what does this mean if this happens again? Is NASCAR going to say ‘Alright we’re giving him his waiver, but listen everybody these are literally for injuries and unusual circumstances.’"-Earnhardt said, as quoted by On3.

Earnhardt Jr. believes that NASCAR officials must define the rules. Looking at the reactions of the past few days, there has been a lot of criticism directed at NASCAR. The question arises: Do the rules apply equally to everyone, or do NASCAR officials make decisions based on other criteria?

“They need to define what that is. I hope that they don’t just go, “‘Yup, here’s his waiver,’ and walk out of the room without comment.”- he continued.

Kyle Larson wins at Kansas
Kyle Larson wins at Kansas© Sean Gardner/Getty Images Sport

Earnhardt further suggested that NASCAR executives might have been cautious about granting Larson the waiver. He expressed his belief that there was real hesitation at the highest levels of the sport, with decision-makers considering the implications of setting a new precedent. Earnhardt indicated that such a decision might not have been made 20 or 10 years ago but is happening now.

Modern times bring different dynamics into all aspects of life, including sports. Today's sports are heavily influenced by marketing and business. Often, decisions are made based on fan opinions, knowing that it also brings profit. It seems that the leaders of many sports companies and organizations need to show their teeth at times. No, this doesn't mean that Larson didn't deserve the waiver. What we mean is that rules must be clearly defined, and sometimes NASCAR executives must do things that may not necessarily elicit positive reactions.

Regarding Larson not receiving the waiver, Earnhardt stated that it wouldn't have surprised him given his extensive experience in the sport. He explained that he has been around NASCAR for his entire life, so unexpected developments don't affect him as much as they might younger individuals. While he didn't wish for Larson to be denied the waiver, he suggested that if it had happened, NASCAR would have had its reasons.

Earnhardt Jr. is someone who is accustomed to seeing various scenarios in the NASCAR world, and no option seems unrealistic to him. The 49-year-old was prepared for any outcome.

Elton Sawyer explains the decision

Elton Sawyer, the Senior Vice President of Competition at NASCAR, was the first to openly explain why they granted Larson a waiver. What we've previously discussed seems to have been confirmed by Sawyer. Their intention was to prioritize fans, providing them with what they wanted. Sawyer didn't want to see disappointed fans, especially those of Larson, watching the race without Kyle. This way, they'll have the chance to watch him and enjoy his performances.

"One of the reasons (the waiver is) in place is to give our fans some certainty that if they buy a ticket to come and watch our athletes and our stars perform, that they’re going to see them.” Sawyer said. 

Elton Sawyer
Elton Sawyer© Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images Sport

Sawyer emphasized that they had several meetings as they wanted to make the right decision regarding Larson's future. Judging by the reactions, many are satisfied with this decision, looking forward to Larson's performances, as he has a great chance to win the NASCAR Cup Series this season. However, it's too early to draw conclusions, as there are still many races left until the end. 

Larson can breathe a sigh of relief and be happy with this outcome, hoping that he won't find himself in a similar situation in the future. After everything, Larson will surely think differently in the future, aware that if he hadn't received the waiver, things would have been really tough for him.

There are several favorites to win the NASCAR Cup Series, and many eyes are on Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson, who were expected to perform well this year. One of them could ultimately lift the trophy. Hamlin has never won the championship and is highly motivated to succeed for the first time, while Larson had the chance to win the Cup Series in 2021.

Kyle Larson Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt Jr