Having gained out within the ‘common season’, Hendrick Motorsports’ Larson continued his spectacular type all through the playoffs, and capped off a superb season with a powerful defensive drive from Martin Truex Jr, who was trying to declare his second Cup Sequence title.
Larson led essentially the most laps at Phoenix, however had fallen out of lead late on. Nonetheless, a late warning for a damaged brake rotor from David Starr’s automotive on the observe on lap 283 of 312 prompted all of the lead-lap vehicles to go to the pits for brand spanking new tyres.
Had gained the pole on Saturday to assert the primary pit stall, Larson simply edged Denny Hamlin off pit street – selecting up three spots and shifting into the lead when the race restarted on Lap 289.
For the ultimate 23 laps, Larson deftly held off a decided Truex and took the checkered flag by zero.398 seconds to win his career-best 10th win of the 2021 season.
“I can’t – I can not consider it. I didn’t even suppose I’d be racing a Cup automotive a 12 months and a half in the past,” Larson mentioned. “To win a championship is loopy. I’ve acquired to say first off thanks a lot to Rick Hendrick, Hendrickcars.com, Jeff Gordon, NASCAR, each single one in every of my supporters within the stands, watching at dwelling, my household. I’ve acquired so a lot of my family and friends right here.
“There have been so many factors on this race the place I didn’t suppose we have been going to win. With out my pit crew on that final cease, we’d not be standing proper right here. They’re the true winners of this race. They’re true champions.
“I’m simply blessed to be part of this group. Each single man or individual, man and lady at Hendrick Motorsports, this win is for all of us, and each one in every of you. That is unbelievable. I’m speechless.”
Larson was indefinitely suspended from NASCAR and fired from Chip Ganassi Racing in March 2020 for utilizing a racial slur over the radio throughout a public iRacing occasion.
He sat out the rest of the 2020 season, with a return to NASCAR by no means a certainty.
After fulfilling the necessities by NASCAR to elevate his suspension, Hendrick Motorsports opted so as to add Larson to its four-driver Cup group for the 2021 season.
Larson and his #5 Chevrolet group rapidly confirmed they’d be an element for the championship this season, successful the season’s fourth race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Champion Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro HendrickCars.com
Photograph by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images
He gained the common season title and 4 races within the playoffs that helped him advance to the Championship four – ultimately snowballing into his first NASCAR title.
Larson mentioned as he drove across the observe after taking the checkered flag, he had tears welling in his eyes.
“The gang was cheering loud, and it was only a totally different ambiance than I’ve ever been part of,” he mentioned. “This occasion was loopy. This format is wild. I’m glad we have been in a position to get it finished.
“An enormous shout-out to my dad and mom for getting me concerned in racing, my dad for every little thing he did, constructing my go-karts once I was younger to get me taking part in round, my mother for videotaping each lap I ever raced and giving me one thing I might have a look at and research and get higher.”
Larson gained the second stage of the race having pounced on vehicles forward of him who had elected to not pit following a warning for Chase Briscoe’s crash, following the Stewart-Haas Racing driver sustaining a puncture from contact with Kyle Busch.
When the race returned to inexperienced on Lap 162, Tyler Reddick – amongst those that stayed out – led the best way, adopted by Kurt Busch, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez and Larson, however the latter used a three-wide transfer on the restart to rapidly energy into the lead as Chase Elliott – additionally within the Championship four – adopted him into second.
Elliott, Denny Hamlin and Truex all diced for the lead within the closing stage as both of them might safe the title, however Larson’s leap from the pits after Starr’s particles warning stacked the chances firmly in his favour.
Hamlin completed third within the race and the championship standings, as Ryan Blaney crashed the occasion amid the highest 4 to assert fourth place.
2020 champion Chase Elliott completed fifth, and fourth within the closing collection standings.
Aric Almirola completed fifth forward of Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Christopher Bell and Brad Keselowski, who was in his closing race for Group Penske forward of his transfer to Roush Fenway Racing after taking a stake within the group.
NASCAR Cup Sequence Phoenix race outcomes – 312 laps