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 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
22 TO THE GOOD: Kyle Larson holds a 22-point advantage over the cutoff position entering Sunday’s NASCAR Round of 12 elimination race at the Charlotte ROVAL. In 2021, he has accumulated 60 playoff points through six race wins (five points per win), 15 stage victories (one point per stage win) and winning the NASCAR Cup Series regular season championship (15 points).
ROAD COURSE RINGER: In June at Sonoma Raceway, Larson won both stages and led 57 of 92 laps to capture his first Cup Series road course victory. At Watkins Glen International in August, the driver of the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet ZL1 1LE led the final 26 laps to secure the victory on the serpentine layout. Overall, Larson has 20 starts on road courses in the Cup Series with two wins, five top-five finishes, eight top-10s and four stage victories (tied for second-most all-time). Two of those stage wins occurred at the Charlotte ROVAL which tie him for the most all-time on the 2.28-mile road course.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: In 2018, Larson entered the elimination race at the ROVAL 17 points ahead of the cutline. He won stage one and led a race-high 47 laps that day but was involved in a multi-car accident on a restart while running second with six laps to go. Driving a car with heavy suspension damage, Larson was able to bounce off the wall in the final turn to grab one final position and finish 25th. The result landed him in a three-way tie for the final two playoff positions and the 2014 Cup Series rookie of the year advanced to the next round with a tiebreaker advantage.
SECOND TO NONE: Through 31 of 36 Cup Series races, Larson leads the series in wins (career-best six), stage wins (15), average start (6.6) and laps led (career-best 2,003) – 631 more laps led than his closest competitor. His 16 top-five finishes and 22 top-10s are both career-bests and tie him for the most in 2021.
TWO GRAND: Larson is one of only three Hendrick Motorsports drivers to lead 2,000 or more laps during a season. Jeff Gordon accomplished this feat three times (1995, 1996 and 2001) while Jimmie Johnson paced the field for more than 2,000 laps once (2009).
UPPING THEIR GAME: At 13.65 seconds, the No. 5 pit crew owns the quickest average time for four-tire pit stops in 2021. During the playoffs, their average time has been even quicker with a series-best 13.19 seconds. 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.
HOME TRACK MAGIC: Since its inception in 2018, Hendrick Motorsports has won two of the three NASCAR Cup Series races held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course known as the ROVAL. Overall, the team has 35 Cup-level wins at the CMS facility, including 21 points-paying victories on the 1.5-mile oval and 12 non-points wins – eight in the NASCAR All-Star Race and four in the All-Star Open. Based in Concord, North Carolina, Hendrick Motorsports is located less than 1 mile from the racetrack.
THRIVING UNDER PRESSURE: Hendrick Motorsports has won four consecutive Cup Series playoff elimination races dating back to last season. In 2020, Chase Elliott won the final three cutoff events – held at the ROVAL, Martinsville Speedway and Phoenix Raceway – en route to winning the Cup Series championship. This year, Kyle Larson won at Bristol Motor Speedway, which hosted the first elimination race of the 2021 playoffs.
THE ROAD AHEAD: The three drivers who have led the most laps at the Charlotte ROVAL all drive for Hendrick Motorsports: Elliott (62 laps led), Larson (52) and William Byron (50). While he has led just two ROVAL laps, teammate Alex Bowman has never finished outside the top 10 at the track and boasts a 4.7 average finish there, which trails only two-time winner Elliott (2.7).
TRUTH BOMB: Since 2018, Hendrick Motorsports has won nine of the 14 Cup Series points-paying events held on road courses, including eight of the last 10. This season, the team has won four of six road races, including three sweeps of the top-two finishing positions. Hendrick Motorsports holds the all-time NASCAR Cup Series records for road-course wins (24), different drivers with a road-course victory (seven) and road-course stage wins (11).
NOTHING BUT NET: For Sunday’s ROVAL event, all four Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE race cars of Hendrick Motorsports will feature pink window nets in support of the “Window of Hope” initiative that will raise money to support breast cancer awareness and treatment. Following the race, the nets will be autographed by each driver and auctioned for charity at NASCARfoundation.org/pinknets.
Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on battling Chase Elliott on road courses this year: “We’ve run first and second a lot this year on road courses. That team and Chase set the bar – you pay attention to how he’s doing and where he’s running. It’s been fun to compete with him on the road courses and we both have a couple wins. Hopefully, we’re battling with all our teammates for stage wins and the victory this weekend.”
Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on access to teammates notes: “We’ve got the (No.) 9 team’s notes and they’ve won the last two years on the ROVAL. We’re going to study our notes from all the road courses this year and anything we can apply from the high banks of Daytona (road course) and put the best race package together that we can.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!