Jeff Burton: Crucial for NASCAR Fanbase That Larson Got Waiver, Calls for Clarity

“I’m not opposed to this decision because I think it would be bad for our fanbase for Kyle Larson to not be in it."

by Sead Dedovic
Jeff Burton: Crucial for NASCAR Fanbase That Larson Got Waiver, Calls for Clarity
© Sean Gardner/Getty Images Sport

It took NASCAR officials some time to make the right decision, but ultimately, they decided to grant Kyle Larson a waiver

The 31-year-old driver chose to be part of the Indianapolis 500, skipping the Coca-Cola 600. His decision, judging by many reactions, was surprising and could have cost him dearly, especially now that he has good chances to win the championship. Larson admitted he made a mistake, hoping that NASCAR officials would be open to granting him a waiver. Ultimately, that's what happened. The 31-year-old is grateful to NASCAR officials for their understanding.

Legends and experts in this sport immediately reacted after the confirmation that Larson received the waiver. 

Jeff Burton: I understand the debate about waiver

Jeff Burton was one of the first to react. The analyst and former NASCAR driver reflected on the events of the past few days, where there was a huge focus on Larson and the waiver stories. Burton knows NASCAR rules, aware that Larson agreed to compete in every race. NASCAR officials analyzed the situation and made a decision that elicited mixed reactions.

“Clearly as long as this took, there was a lot of conversation about whether it should be granted or not. I understand that debate. At the beginning of the year, [Larson] agreed to run every race unless you have an extraordinary circumstance. At that point, NASCAR will look at it and grant a waiver. Deciding another race is not what this waiver was intended for as I see it."- Burton said, as quoted by On3.

Kyle Larson
Kyle Larson© Sean Gardner/Getty Images Sport

Burton doesn't oppose Larson getting the waiver. Kyle is one of the most intriguing personas in the NASCAR scene, with a huge fan base. It's certain that if he hadn't received the waiver, it could have impacted the company's profits, reputation, and ratings. NASCAR officials know how much Larson means to this company. 

On the other hand, Burton believes that the focus should be on clearer rule definition. There are chances that such situations will be common in the future, and NASCAR officials will have to react based on the rules. The rules regarding waivers are evidently not clearly defined, leaving room for various interpretations, criticisms, and reactions. Fans are always open to criticize, especially in such situations.

I’m not opposed to this decision because I think it would be bad for our fanbase for Kyle Larson to not be in it. But I want some more clarity moving forward, and I think the clarity was better for the fans, the teams, everybody. If they would have said, ‘Look man, I know it’s a bad situation with the rain, but you have to run this cup race. We have fans that have come here to watch you race. We need to give them that. If you don’t run we’re not going to grant you a waiver,’ then they could have made that decision 100 percent knowing what it was that was involved, and the fans would have known it as well.”- he continued.

Kyle Larson
Kyle Larson© Chris Graythen / Getty Images Sport

Burton further discussed his thoughts on the NASCAR playoff waiver. He expressed a desire for clearer guidelines in such situations. While he acknowledged that certain circumstances, like injuries, might be unforeseeable, he emphasized the importance of transparency and consistency in decision-making processes. Burton suggested that decisions regarding waivers should be made publicly and adhered to consistently.

Jeff Burton supports the playoff waiver as beneficial for NASCAR, the drivers, and the fans. According to him, it ensures that drivers competing for the Cup Championship are still required to run every race unless there's an extraordinary circumstance. He emphasizes the importance of commitment to the Cup series, suggesting that if drivers want to participate in other racing series like IndyCar, they should do so separately.

Burton places a special emphasis on the fans, believing they deserve better. He can't imagine a scenario where drivers have the leeway to skip certain races just to rest. Burton wants fans to enjoy the sport and witness the best action weekend after weekend. After criticism from Burton and other key figures, NASCAR executives will surely reconsider their next moves.

NASCAR executives decision

NASCAR executives and their decisions are always under scrutiny. This is likely one reason why they took a bit longer to reach a final decision. Regardless of the decision made, there will always be criticism from one side or another. Therefore, it is imperative to work on clearer rule definitions. This would leave less room for criticism. Rules are in place to be followed, and breaking any rule carries consequences. Things are quite clear in this regard.

We hope that the continuation of the season will bring excitement.

Kyle Larson