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NASCAR approves playoff waivers for Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth

Matt Kenseth says that it was a surprise to everybody, including himself, to return to racing. The veteran driver details his thought process and why he thinks it's an attractive opportunity with Chip Ganassi Racing.

NASCAR announced Tuesday that it has granted playoff waivers for both Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth.

What that means is that should both win a race and be ranked in the top 30 in drivers points, they could be eligible for the 16-driver playoffs, which are scheduled to begin with the Southern 500 on Sept. 6 at Darlington Raceway. Because of the number of races they have missed this season, it is not likely that they could climb into the top 16 in points to be playoff eligible.

Newman missed three races after he suffered a bruised brain in a last-lap crash in the Daytona 500. On Monday, NASCAR medically cleared Newman to race.

Chip Ganassi Racing hired Kenseth to replace Kyle Larson, who was fired for using a racial slur during an iRacing event. Kenseth will make his season debut when NASCAR’s season resumes, which could be as early as May 17 at Darlington Raceway.