Larson: Finesse With Aggressiveness At Sonoma

5 KYLE LARSON

Age: 28 (July 31, 1992)

Hometown: Elk Grove, California

Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina

Crew Chief: Cliff Daniels

Standings: 2nd

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No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

RECORD-BREAKING WIN: On Sunday in the annual 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kyle Larson led 327 of 400 laps to capture Hendrick Motorsports’ record-breaking 269th NASCAR Cup Series win. Through 15 Cup Series races this season, the driver of the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE has two victories (ranks second), eight top-five finishes (second), 10 top-10s (fourth) and currently sits second in the driver point standings. He has the most stage victories (nine) and has accumulated the most playoff points (19).

WOO BACK-TO-BACK: On Monday night at Lawrenceburg Speedway in Indiana, Larson won his first World of Outlaws sprint car race of the year. The 28-year-old started second in the 35-lap feature and took over the top spot on lap 11 en route to victory.

LEADER OF THE PACK: There have been 4,199 laps completed during the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season and Larson has paced the field a series high 1,105 times, or 26%. The driver of the No. 5 entry is nearing his career-high record, which occurred in 2017 when he led 1,352 laps in 36 races.

40 PERCENT: Larson has finished first or second in six of 15 races this season. The 2014 rookie of the year won at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway while posting second-place finishes at Circuit of The Americas, Dover International Speedway, Darlington Raceway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.

HOMETOWN BOUND: Sunday will mark the fourth consecutive Cup Series event at Sonoma Raceway that Larson, who grew up in Elk Grove 80 miles northeast of Sonoma, has led the field to the green flag. Larson won the pole position in 2017, ’18 and ’19, and he earned the first starting spot this weekend based on NASCAR’s qualifying metrics.

RC RACING: Larson has 16 starts on road courses in the Cup Series with two top-five finishes, five top-10s and two stage victories (third-most all-time). In May at Circuit of The Americas, Larson led four laps and finished second to Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott in the rain-shortened event. In sports cars, Larson competed in the Rolex 24 at DAYTONA for Chip Ganassi Racing from 2014 through 2016 and was victorious in 2015.

ROUTE 66: In June 2014, Larson competed in the ARCA Menards Series West event at Sonoma Raceway. After winning the pole, he led all 66 laps on the 1.99-mile layout and crossed under the checkered flag more than three seconds ahead of the competition.

FOURTH FOR 5: Larson has a 9.5 average running position in 2021 – the fourth-best average in the Cup Series. That average factors in position scored in all 4,199 laps run in NASCAR’s premier series this year. To better understand Larson’s average, 4% of it is scored as 40th place since the No. 5 entry experienced engine issues at the start of the Talladega race and completed only three of 191 laps.

YOUR CAR NEEDS: This weekend, Larson will drive the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. From the convenience of home, customers can select the category, make, model and vehicle packages that are important to them from the nearly 30,000 new, high-quality pre-owned and certified cars, trucks and SUVs available at HendrickCars.com. The website also makes it easy for customers to find one of Hendrick Automotive Group’s 93 dealership locations nationwide.

IT’S 269 … AND COUNTING: Kyle Larson’s dominant win Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway was the record-breaking 269th in the NASCAR Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR Hall of Fame car owner Rick Hendrick. The team is now the winningest in the history of NASCAR’s top-tier series after passing the legendary Petty Enterprises, which recorded 268 across six decades. The Petty organization held the Cup Series record for points-paying victories for more than 60 years before Hendrick Motorsports tied the mark May 23 at Circuit of The Americas and broke it at Charlotte.

FOR A CAUSE: After Chase Elliott won at COTA to tie the Petty Enterprises record, the autographed door panel of his No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE went up for auction to benefit Victory Junction. When the auction closed Sunday at 7 p.m. ET, the winning bid stood at $28,700. Car owner Hendrick matched it with a separate donation, bringing the total impact to $57,400.

ONE-TWO-THREE: Hendrick Motorsports has won three consecutive NASCAR Cup Series races, finishing at least first and second in all of them. The team recorded an incredible 1-2-3-4 result at Dover International Speedway, finished first and second at COTA, and then 1-2-4-5 at Charlotte. In the last three events, the team has three wins, 10 top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. Its worst finish during the stretch was 11th place. Hendrick Motorsports has won at least three straight races on 16 different occasions, the most of all teams in NASCAR history.

THREE WINS, THREE DRIVERS: The three consecutive wins by Hendrick Motorsports have come via three different drivers: Alex Bowman at Dover, Elliott at COTA and Larson at Charlotte. The last time Hendrick Motorsports won three straight with different drivers was 2015 with Jeff Gordon at Martinsville, Jimmie Johnson at Texas and Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Phoenix. No team has ever won four consecutive races with four different drivers.

WIN COUNTRY: Going into Sunday’s road-course event at Sonoma Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports is the track’s all-time leader in wins (six), pole positions (nine), runner-up finishes (six), top-five results (31), top-10s (54) and laps led (674).

ROAD RUNNERS: Hendrick Motorsports is the all-time leader in NASCAR Cup Series road-course wins with 21, which is eight more than any other team. It has won road races with six different drivers and has more stage wins on road courses (eight) than anyone else.

GREAT AS OF LATE: On road courses over the last three NASCAR Cup Series seasons (2019-2021), Hendrick Motorsports has won six of nine races, including five of the last six. The team has won two of four pole positions, six of 14 stages and led 308 of 587 laps raced (52%).

Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on the driving style at Sonoma: “Sonoma is a finesse track, but you still have to be aggressive. I’ve had a lot of success there with three poles but I seemed to struggle during the race, so I’m really looking forward to going there in Hendrick Motorsports equipment. Hendrick Motorsports’ road course program is really good, especially the 9 team. It seems like Chase Elliott has won every road course race the last four years.”

Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on racing at Sonoma with no previous crew chief experience at track: “It’s definitely a challenge for us in that regard – from not having my own crew chief notes, and even our past notes at Hendrick Motorsports we have not been where we needed to be the last few trips there. Luckily, we have a great road course foundation from the 9 car (driven by Chase Elliott) with their wins on road courses and what that package looks like. The magic is translating that to Sonoma. We have a new aero package since the last trip there, and we have a new tire this weekend so we have a lot of challenges, but our company has momentum right now and hopefully we can close the gap.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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