5 KYLE LARSON
Age: 29 (July 31, 1992)
Hometown: Elk Grove, California
Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina
Crew Chief: Cliff Daniels
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No. 5 Valvoline Instant Oil Change Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
ONE DOZEN: Last Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, Kyle Larson led a race-high 70 laps and finished third in the 400-mile event – his 12th top-three finish of 2021. The driver of the No. 5 Valvoline Instant Oil Change Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE has a series-high five NASCAR Cup Series victories this season with wins at Watkins Glen International, Nashville Superspeedway, Sonoma Raceway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In June, Larson scored a $1 million payday in the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway.
TOO TOUGH TO TAME SINCE DARLINGTON: Larson has finished top three in 10 of the last 14 races dating back to Darlington Raceway in May. Over that span, the 29-year-old driver has four wins, four runner-up finishes and two third-place results to move from 144 markers down in the point standings to a 28-point advantage.
FINALE NIGHT: Following Saturday night’s event at the historic Daytona International Speedway, playoff points will be awarded to the top 10 drivers in the standings with 15 markers awarded to first place, 10 to second, eight to third, seven to fourth, and so on. Larson is currently atop the standings heading into the Aug. 28 race.
FIVE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY: The last time the Cup Series competed on Aug. 28 was in 2016 at Michigan International Speedway and Larson was victorious with Chase Elliott second. In 2021, the duo, who are now Hendrick Motorsports teammates, have finished first and second in four races.
OH SO CLOSE: In 2017, Larson led the field with one lap to go in the DAYTONA 500. However, his Chevrolet ran out of fuel on the final lap and he coasted to a 12th-place finish. In 14 starts at the 2.5-mile track, Larson has five top-10 finishes, including a 10th-place result in this year’s DAYTONA 500.
WINNER AT DAYTONA: In July 2018, Larson won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway. The Elk Grove, California, native led a race-high 40 laps en route to victory.
FIVE-STAR: Through 25 of 36 Cup Series races, Larson leads the series in wins (career-best five), top-five finishes (14), top-10s (18), stage wins (12), playoff points (37), and laps led (career-best 1,566). In fact, he has paced the field 752 more times than any competitor this season and his stage wins are the most by seven.
QUICK STOP: At 13.69 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).
VALVOLINE VICTORY: In June at Nashville Superspeedway, Larson led 264 of 300 laps en route to victory driving the No. 5 Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. Valvoline will make its second of three appearances as the primary sponsor of the No. 5 entry this Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Valvoline Inc. (NYSE: VVV) is a leading worldwide marketer and supplier of premium branded lubricants and automotive services, with sales in more than 140 countries. Established in 1866, the Company’s heritage spans more than 150 years, during which time it has developed powerful brand recognition across multiple product and service channels. Valvoline ranks as the No. 3 passenger car motor oil brand in the DIY market by volume. To learn more, visit www.valvoline.com.
DAYTONA RECORDS: Going into Saturday night’s race on the historic Daytona International Speedway oval, Hendrick Motorsports holds the track records for NASCAR Cup Series wins (15; tied with Wood Brothers Racing), pole positions (21), top-five finishes (59), top-10s (103) and laps led (2,164).
MAGNIFICENT SEVEN: Seven different drivers have won for Hendrick Motorsports on the 2.5-mile Daytona oval: Jeff Gordon (six wins), Jimmie Johnson (three), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (two), Geoff Bodine, Tim Richmond, Darrell Waltrip and William Byron.
ALL-IN WINS: Hendrick Motorsports has 43 combined NASCAR victories at the sprawling Daytona International Speedway facility. The team has finished first in 15 points-paying Cup Series races on the oval, including eight prestigious DAYTONA 500s. It has won 16 DAYTONA 500 Duel qualifying races, seven of the Clash at DAYTONA non-points exhibitions and four times in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Hendrick Motorsports has also won one Cup race on the track’s road course.
SUPER CARS: No team has more NASCAR Cup Series superspeedway wins than Hendrick Motorsports. The organization has won points-paying races at the big tracks of Daytona and Talladega a combined 28 times with 11 different drivers. Wood Brothers Racing is second with 20 all-time superspeedway victories.
TALKIN’ PLAYOFFS: For the record-tying fourth time, all four Hendrick Motorsports teams have earned berths in the 10-race NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, which will kick off Sept. 5 at Darlington Raceway. It marks the record-extending 16th consecutive season that at least two of the organization’s drivers have competed in the post-season and the record 14th time at least three of its teams have qualified.
NASCAR NEXT: Hendrick Motorsports has a combined 70 points-paying NASCAR Cup Series victories at the next six tracks on the 2021 schedule: 15 at Daytona, 14 at Darlington, 11 at Richmond, 11 at Bristol, six at Las Vegas and 13 at Talladega.
LUCKY 13: Over the last 13 NASCAR Cup Series points races, Hendrick Motorsports has won eight times and is the only organization to go to victory lane more than once. In that span, the team has scored seven runner-up results, finished 1-2 on five occasions (most), won 11 of 27 stages (most), and led 1,534 of 2,516 laps raced (61%). With 52 total entries across the most recent 13 events, the team has scored 25 top-five finishes (most) and 34 top-10s (most).
THROUGH 25: After 25 of 36 points-paying races in 2021, the four-car Hendrick Motorsports stable has won 11 times, which is tied for its most ever at this time of the year. Its 17 stage wins are tied for the most in history by any organization going into the 26th points race. Hendrick Motorsports has its most top-five finishes (40) and posted its fourth-most laps led (2,282) at the 25-event mark. The team’s 61 top-10s in 2021 represent the second-most by anyone ever at this point in a season.
Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on racing at Daytona this weekend: “With a playoff spot still available, I’m sure it’s going to be intense. (Second place in standings) Denny (Hamlin) runs well at Daytona, so I am glad we have a bit of a cushion in the points. But that lead can be gone in an instant, so I hope to avoid all the craziness and have a good solid finish.”
Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on calling a race Daytona: “Track position is important at Daytona, which is odd to say. We’ve seen over the last handful of years that cars that are able to get out front and be in the top five if single-file or in the top 10 if mixing it up can control the race inside that top group. What I mean is if you play your strategy wrong and are stuck back in 20th with a handful of laps left, it could be difficult to get back up to the front. We need to do our part right to hopefully have our car up front when it needs to be there. There are things we can control, but a lot is out of our hands.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!