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McDowell: Kyle Larson deserves 'a pass' after Double attempt

NASCAR has not announced whether it will give Kyle Larson a waiver to keep him eligible for the playoffs but Michael McDowell has strongly voiced support for his fellow driver.

Section of the NASCAR Cup Rule Book states a driver must start all championship events to be eligible for the playoffs. If the driver did not start every race, they must have attempted to qualify for every event. The attempt to qualify falls under the discretion of the Series Managing Director.

Larson missed the start of last weekend's Coca-Cola 600 while racing in the rain-delayed Indy 500. Justin Allgaier started the Cup race in place of Larson, who arrived at Charlotte Motor Speedway in time for lightning and rain to end the race.

Hendrick Motorsports applied for a waiver that would keep Larson eligible for the playoffs. He has already won two races this season. NASCAR told NBC Sports on Friday that there is no timetable for a decision.

"I don't see the other side of this point at all," McDowell said Saturday after winning the pole at World Wide Technology Raceway. "I think if it was me and I did it -- and I think that's a different situation and I hate to say it like that -- but Kyle Larson is going to win five or six or seven races this year.

"To sit here and say that he's not going to get a waiver because he tried to do The Double and brought a tremendous amount of eyeballs on our sport and a tremendous amount of eyeballs on IndyCar and just helped motorsports all together is crazy. So I know that there's arguments to that, but I mean, come on, we're talking about the best driver that's ever sat in a stock car and we're not going to give him a pass? That's crazy."

NASCAR has granted multiple waivers in recent seasons. The most recent example was in April and May when Erik Jones missed two races with a compression fracture in his back. NASCAR granted him a waiver to keep him eligible for the playoffs, provided he wins his way into the playoffs.

NASCAR granted playoff waivers to two of Larson's teammates last season. Chase Elliott received a waiver after fracturing his tibia in a snowboarding accident and missing six races. Elliott also received a waiver after NASCAR suspended him for one race for intentionally wrecking Denny Hamlin at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Alex Bowman received a waiver after he missed three races with a compression fracture sustained in a Sprint Car crash.