5 KYLE LARSON
Age: 28 (July 31, 1992)
Hometown: Elk Grove, California
Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Cliff Daniels
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No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
MAJOR(ITY) NEWS: On Wednesday, Hendrick Motorsports announced the extension of Kyle Larson’s contract through 2023 and Hendrick Automotive Group, via its HendrickCars.com brand, will be the majority sponsor of Larson and the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 through 2023. As part of the agreement, HendrickCars.com will also sponsor Larson in all non-NASCAR events in which he competes, including branding on the driver’s helmets, gloves and firesuits.
FIVE FOR FIVE: Following the 26th race of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, playoff points will be awarded to the top 10 drivers in the point standings with 15 markers awarded to first place, 10 to second, eight to third, seven to fourth and so on. Larson currently is ranked second in the regular-season standings, 10 points behind the leader. If he can erase that deficit in the five remaining regular-season races, it would be an additional five points – the equivalent of an extra race win – in Larson’s favor heading into the playoff stretch.
IT’S MAGIC: In 10 Cup Series starts at the 1.058-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Larson has four top-five finishes – including three runner-up finishes – and five top-10s. In three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at “The Magic Mile,” the 28-year-old driver has two top-five finishes. In 2012, Larson led 15 laps en route to victory in his only ARCA Menards Series East start at the New England track.
TOP OF THE BOARD: Through 21 of 36 Cup Series races, Larson leads the series in wins (four), second-place finishes (five), stage wins (12), playoff points (32), and laps led (1,441). He is tied for most top-five finishes (11), most top-10s (14) and most pole positions (one).
FIT FOR A KING: On Thursday at Eldora Speedway in Ohio, Larson is scheduled to compete in a dirt sprint car in the 38th King’s Royal. He is also scheduled to participate in dirt sprint car races at the track on Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesday, Larson experienced mechanical issues at the beginning of the A Main in the Brad Doty Classic dirt sprint car race at Attica Raceway Park in Ohio and did not finish.
NOT SO AVERAGE: At 13.64 seconds, the No. 5 pit crew owns the quickest average time for four-tire pit stops in 2021. The over-the-wall crew is comprised of gasman Brandon Harder, jackman Brandon Johnson, tire carrier R.J. Barnette and tire changers Donnie Tasser (front) and Calvin Teague (rear).
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.
WE’RE HIRING: Hendrick Automotive Group is hiring more than 300 technicians at its dealerships throughout the country. Positions are open for all skill levels and offer tuition and training reimbursement. Interested people can apply at HendrickCars.com.
IN MEMORY: On Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the four Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE race cars of Hendrick Motorsports will carry a special decal in memory of longtime team member Todd Coble, who passed away this week. Coble, who was a sub-assembly technician in the Hendrick Motorsports engine department, spent more than 21 years with the organization.
FINE NINE: Over the last nine NASCAR Cup Series points races, Hendrick Motorsports has won seven times, finished 1-2 on four occasions, won 10 of 19 stages, and led 1,255 of 1,838 laps raced (68%). With 36 total entries across the nine events, the team has scored 19 top-five finishes and 24 top-10s.
WINNING SZN: Through 21 of 36 points-paying races in 2021, Hendrick Motorsports has won 10 times, which is tied for the team record at this point in a season. Its 16 stage wins are the most ever by any organization in the first 21 races. Hendrick Motorsports has scored its third-most top-five finishes (34), second-most top-10s (51) and fourth-most laps led (2,003) after 21 points events.
STREAKING TO THE BREAK: On Sunday at New Hampshire, Hendrick Motorsports will seek its 40th consecutive Cup Series points race with at least one of its Chevrolet race cars inside the top-10 finishers. If it occurs, the team will go into NASCAR’s two-week Olympics break having tied its third-longest streak of top-10s, matching the 1996 and 1997 seasons. The organization’s most consecutive top-10 results came from 2006 to 2008 when it ran off an all-time Cup Series record string of 87. The team’s second-best streak is 51 in a row, which happened from 2011 to 2013.
DROUGHT BUSTER: Although Hendrick Motorsports has nine Cup Series victories at New Hampshire, it has not won there since September 2012 with driver Kasey Kahne – a 14-race span that represents the team’s current longest drought at any active track. Thus far in 2021, the organization has ended winless streaks of 23 races at Richmond Raceway, 13 races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 12 races at Pocono Raceway and nine races at Sonoma Raceway.
Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway: “I’ve always enjoyed going to Loudon. I wouldn’t say it’s one of my best tracks, but I do enjoy going there because it’s different. It reminds me of a longer, bigger Indianapolis Raceway Park the way you race it. With the traction compound application there, it seems to wear out for the last couple runs so you have to adapt and search and find where there’s more grip.”
Larson on his contract extension and announcement with HendrickCars.com: “The chance to extend my contract with Hendrick Motorsports and have such an awesome sponsor in HendrickCars.com are things I don’t take for granted. I feel like I’m driving for the best team and the best sponsors in the sport. To know that our on-track performance is having positive business influence off the track is very important because I want to return the incredible support they’ve given me. Everyone at Hendrick Automotive Group has made me feel like part of their team, and it’s exciting to be able to represent a company that loves racing like I do. I feel like we’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible.”
Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on the challenges of setting the car up on a flatter track: “New Hampshire is definitely a challenging track – high importance on stopping and going while also having your car turn properly in the center of the corner. It’s a tough place to figure out, but a great race track with great fans in a great area.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!