NASCAR crowned it’s 2021 season champion on Sunday with an exciting race at Phoenix Raceway. First-time cup series champion is 29 year old California native Kyle Larson with the Hendricks Racing Team. Larson held off 2017 Cup Series Champion Martin Truex in the exciting finish.
Profiling NASCAR 2021 Cup Series Champion, Kyle Larson - Driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for Hendrick Motorsports
• Kyle Larson, the season’s most dominant driver in the NASCAR Cup Series from start to finish, completed his run to the top by winning the 2021 championship Sunday at Phoenix Raceway.
• This was his first time competing for a championship in the NASCAR Cup Series and his first win at Phoenix Raceway.
• He held off Championship 4 contenders Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott during the final restart on Lap 288 of the 312-lap event at the one-mile Arizona oval.
• In a power move off pit road during the final round of stops, Larson’s No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team used the first pit stall selection to his advantage, gaining the lead over Hamlin after entering pit road in fourth — the last of the Championship 4 drivers.
• It was the team’s second-fastest pit stop of the year.
• His win at Phoenix makes him the first NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate to win a championship.
• With the championship win, he walks away from the 2021 season with 10 wins this season (the most of any active driver in 2021), 20 top fives (the most of any active driver in 2021) and 26 top 10s (the most of any active driver in 2021).
• He’s one of just 11 drivers and holds of one of 17 instances where a driver has won 10 or more times in a year at the top level, joining a host of NASCAR Hall of Famers to do so.
• Larson led 2,581 laps this season, the most of any active driver in 2021.
o In fall Kansas race this year, Larson broke the all-time NASCAR Cup Series laps led record during a 36-race season previously held by Jeff Gordon who led 2,320 laps in 2001 (note NASCAR moved to a 36-race Cup Series schedule in 2001).
• Larson clinched his first NASCAR Cup Series Regular Series Championship at Daytona earlier this year.
On The Track
• His 10 wins set a new career high for wins in a single season (previously four in 2017).
• Larson has qualified for the Playoffs from 2016 – 2019 and now 2021.
• Went on a stretch of winning four-consecutive Cup Series races this summer (Charlotte Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway, All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway, and Nashville Superspeedway) and three consecutive races this fall (Charlotte Road Course, Texas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway).
• Larson won one of NASCAR’s crown-jewel races – The Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May – giving Hendrick Motorsports its 269th victory, breaking a tie with Richard Petty Motorsports for the most in Cup history.
• He won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March, which became his seventh win in the NASCAR Cup Series and first driving for Hendrick Motorsports.
• Larson finished the 2019 season ranked sixth in points – his career best – racking up eight top-five.
finishes, 17 top-10 finishes, and one pole to go along with a win at Dover International Speedway ending a 75-race winless streak.
• In 2019, Larson and the No. 42 team advanced to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Playoffs – the furthest he or Chip Ganassi Racing had ever made it in NASCAR’s postseason.
• Won the 2019 NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, after transferring in from the NASCAR Open, in addition to the 2021 NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway
• In 2018, Larson finished ninth in the series points and qualified for the NASCAR Playoffs for the third consecutive season.
• Won a then career-best four NASCAR Cup Series races and finished a then career-best eighth in the final championship standings in 2017.
• In 2016, Larson won his first NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway to become the first graduate of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity (D4D) initiative to win at NASCAR's highest level.
• Larson had 17 top-10 finishes in 36 races and earned the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year.
• Larson moved up to a full-time ride in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Turner Scott Motorsports and earned the 2013 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award thanks to 17 top-10 finishes in 33 races.
• In 2013, Larson won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Rockingham, becoming the first NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate to win a
NASCAR national series event.
• 2012 ARCA Menards Series East champion (formerly NASCAR K&N Pro Series East) and Rookie of the Year.
Off the Track
o Native of Elk Grove, Calif.
o Hobbies include: Being a dad, racing just about anything with four wheels and golf.
o Currently resides in Mooresville, N.C.
o The Kyle Larson Foundation is dedicated to bringing people together and providing support to hands-on charitable organizations that benefit today's youth, families and communities in need.
o Larson’s “Drive for 5 Campaign” was launched in March to benefit children, families and communities in need of support. His mission is to fund five scholarships a year at the Urban Youth Racing School in Philadelphia, to provide daily meals for five families per day through The Sanneh Foundation, and support at least five communities per year through the school grants provided by Hendrick Cares.
o In March, Larson announced the launch of the Kyle Larson Foundation, which was established to better serve today’s youth, families and communities in need through hands-on support. The Sanneh Foundation and the Urban Youth Racing School are the primary beneficiaries of the foundation, which will also work closely with Hendrick Cares, the corporate social responsibility program of Hendrick Automotive Group. To kickstart the “Drive for 5,” Larson pledged a personal donation of $5 for every NASCAR Cup Series lap he completes this season and will contribute another $5,000 for every top-five finish he earns. Through 35 races, he has already pledged more than $140,000 and raised more than $200,000. To learn more, please visit KyleLarsonFoundation.org.