Kyle Larson has scored one win so far in 2021 but it feels as if the Hendrick Motorsports driver should have more victories considering that he has been in contention on multiple occasions. The Elk Grove, CA native did wheel the No. 5 Chevrolet into victory lane at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway but came up short in other events after looking like a potential winner.
Larson led 269 laps at the Atlanta Motor Speedway before being tracked down by Ryan Blaney late in the going and ultimately finishing second. He ran at the front of the field for 132 circuits at Kansas Speedway before a jumbled late-race restart relegated him to 19th in the final rundown. Most recently, Larson did not lead at Darlington Raceway but he ran long-time leader Martin Truex, Jr. down from well back as the laps clicked away and appeared poised to make a move for the lead but was never able to make the pass.
Even with those great runs, the Chevrolet team had most recently posted three consecutive poor finishes in the races at Richmond, Talladega, and the aforementioned Kansas prior to the runner-up result at Darlington. The driver was encouraged by his team’s resilience in South Carolina.
“It’s good,” Larson said in his post-race press conference at Darlington. “We definitely needed to get a good finish. I thought we were going to get a good one last week but I messed that up. Three bad weeks in a row then to come back and contend for a win and finish second and get good stage points after speeding, it was a good day.”
And to further encourage the 28-year-old star, he is heading to one of his favorite racing locales.
“Now we go to Dover which is one of, if not my best track,” Larson declared. “I’m excited about that and Hendrick Motorsports has been pretty good at Dover from what I remember so I’m looking forward to getting there.”
Larson posted enviable statistics at ‘The Monster Mile’ during his time with Chip Ganassi Racing. He earned one win, six top-5, and nine top-10 finishes in 12 starts in the capital of Delaware while driving the No. 42 car. ‘Yung Money’ has an average finish of 7.4 on the one-mile concrete oval.
Although the No. 5 team’s lap leading runs at Atlanta and Kansas along with their win at Las Vegas were achieved with the 550 horsepower/high downforce package, Larson noted that his strong run in Darlington came with the 750 horsepower/low downforce package that will also be in use at Dover.
“I’m pumped to get there,” Larson insisted. “I think it’s this aero package again too. Dover is just an awesome place and it suits my style, you move around quite a bit, it’s fast and aggressive, and I love it. I’m ready to get there and hopefully be one spot better.”
Along with his win in Las Vegas, Larson has posted a total of five top-5 and seven top-10 results during the first third of the campaign. He believes his Cliff Daniels-led team is performing among the best on the NASCAR Cup Series in 2021.
“I think we’re one of the top-3 teams out there so I’m happy with that. We’ve been really good to start the year. We’re meshing very well as a team. I really enjoy working with Cliff and everybody on the 5 car. I think we’re just going to continue to grow. Our pit crew has been doing an awesome job and everybody at the shop has been doing great. I’m happy and I’m looking forward to building from where we’re at.”
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association
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