NASCAR has announced that both Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth will be granted playoff waivers when racing resumes.
Newman will return to his Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford when NASCAR Cup Series competition resumes, potentially next month. He missed the three west coast races after a vicious crash in the Daytona 500 on February 17 in which he was hospitalized for a head injury.
NASCAR officials have granted drivers who missed races due to injury a playoff waiver in the past. Most notably, Kyle Busch missed 11 Cup Series races in 2015 and returned to win the championship.
Drivers in the Truck Series have also been issued waivers. In those cases, the drivers had intentions of running a full season but missed races early in the year because they were not old enough to compete on larger tracks.
In an unprecedented move, though, NASCAR also granted a waiver for Chip Ganassi Racing and Kenseth — in this case, the team hiring a new driver after firing another. On Monday, CGR announced Kenseth would take over the No. 42 Chevrolet previously driven by Kyle Larson, let go on April 14 after using a racial slur while on iRacing.
Both Newman and Kenseth will compete for the championship if they win a race and are inside the top 30 in points at the end of the regular season. Newman is 29th in the standings with a total of 36 points. Kenseth comes out of retirement and will begin his CGR tenure with zero points.