Hendrick Motorsports Makes History With Latest Championship Appearance

Hendrick Motorsports

Getty Hendrick Motorsports drivers will make history at Phoenix.

When the green flag waves to start the NASCAR championship race at Phoenix on November 7, Hendrick Motorsports will make history. Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott will make up half of the championship four, marking the first time in the organization’s history that two HMS drivers have reached the final round together.

Larson secured his spot in the championship four early by winning the first two races in the Round of Eight — Texas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway. Elliott, on the other hand, punched his ticket with a dominant performance early at Martinsville Speedway. He swept the first two stages on October 31 and secured enough points to join Larson in the championship four.

Hendrick Motorsports drivers are no strangers to success considering that four Cup Series drivers have combined to win 13 championships. Jeff Gordon won four (1995, 1997, 1998, and 2001) while Jimmie Johnson captured seven (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, and 2016). Elliott (2020) and Terry Labonte (1996) each added another trophy to the collection.

Elliott Will Defend His Title at Phoenix Raceway

Chase Elliott

GettyChase Elliott celebrates a win at the Charlotte Roval.

The 2020 Cup Series champion in Elliott will now have the opportunity to win his second championship on November 7 when he heads to Phoenix Raceway. He will face off with Larson, Denny Hamlin, and Martin Truex Jr. at the one-mile track and will complete 312 laps.

There was no guarantee that Elliott would make the championship four considering that he finished outside of the top 10 in four of the first eight playoff races, including a crash at Darlington Raceway that relegated him to a 31st-place finish.

While Elliott fell below the cutline prior to the Round of Eight race at Kansas Speedway on October 24, he bounced back with two strong performances. He finished second behind Larson at the 1.5-mile track to build up a 34-point cushion above the cutline, and then he led 289 laps at Martinsville and won the first two stages to punch his ticket.

“Super proud of this team. I know it hasn’t been super pretty at times, but for us to keep fighting through these Playoffs and to get to Phoenix,” Elliott said in a press release from Team Chevy. “When you get there, it’s anybody’s game to go out there in that Final Four. So, really proud of this group to make it for a second consecutive year and being amongst those four cars is a big deal. We’re excited to have a shot. I think we can run with the best of them and we are looking forward to the opportunity.”

Larson Will Race for His First Cup Series Title

Kyle Larson

GettyKyle Larson arrives for a playoff race at Bristol.

While Elliott and Truex both have championship trophies in their collections, Hamlin and Larson do not. This finale will mark the fourth time that the driver of the No. 11 has had the opportunity to contend for the title (2014, 2019, 2020, and 2021), but it will be Larson’s first try.

The driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro has never reached the championship four. He reached the Round of Eight in 2019 and 2017, the Round of 12 in 2018, and the Round of 16 in 2016.

Despite entering the championship race with less playoff experience than his peers, Larson will still remain a popular choice to win. The reason is that he has already reached Victory Lane nine times during the 2021 season and posted three consecutive wins on two different occasions. Though Truex is the last driver to win at Phoenix while Larson finished seventh.

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