Hendrick Motorsports Kyle Larson has been the best driver in the Cup Series throughout the 2021 season, his first with Rick Hendrick’s team. He made history once again on Sunday, June 20, during the first-ever Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway. Larson won Stage 2 and became the first driver to win 12 stages in the first 17 races.
The driver of the No. 5 HMS Chevrolet Camaro turned in another dominant performance during the trip to the 1.33-mile concrete oval outside of Nashville. Larson led 264 of the 300 laps, holding off his fellow drivers with superior speed, and winning the final two stages to capture the iconic Gibson guitar trophy.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin started the season off by winning five stages and building up a seemingly insurmountable lead in the points standings. However, Larson won his first race of the season at Las Vegas on March 7, and then he began making major moves every single week. Larson added two more wins — Charlotte Motor Speedway and Sonoma Raceway — and then captured the All-Star Race.
Larson Made History in a Brand-New Car
When the HMS driver headed to Nashville Superspeedway for the Ally 400, he did so in a new stock car. NBC Sports revealed during the broadcast that the No. 5 team actually brought a playoff car to the race track.
The commentators explained during the broadcast that crew chief Cliff Daniels wanted to test out the car that they hoped to take to championship weekend at Phoenix. The team did not want to show up with a car that they had not previously used, especially if they were in contention for the Bill France Cup, so they sent the No. 5 Chevrolet to the concrete oval outside of Nashville.
Larson had no issues with the Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro during the Ally 400. Daniels asked him for updates throughout the 300-lap race, and Larson rarely asked for any adjustments. He then proceeded to build up a lead over teammate William Byron of more than three seconds while still trying to conserve fuel in the final stage. The strategy paid off, resulting in Larson winning his fourth points race of the season while Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ross Chastain finished second and Byron finished third.
Larson’s Historic Run Actually Started With a Loss
While the driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro captured his first win of 2021 at Las Vegas after leading 103 laps, it was not the race where he turned in a jaw-dropping performance. Larson actually did so two weeks later in a race that he ultimately lost.
The NASCAR Cup Series headed to Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 21 for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Larson started sixth but jumped to the lead early and continued to turn in a dominant performance. He led 269 of the 325 laps, winning the first two stages, but ultimately finished second. Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney jumped to the front of the pack late and held off Larson for the remaining laps.
Larson did not win at Atlanta, but he showed that his No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro could run at the front of the pack for a very long time. This race was also the first of four in the 2021 season in which Larson led more than 200 laps. He did so at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Dover International Speedway, and Nashville Superspeedway.
With the win in the Ally 400, Larson will now prepare for the first doubleheader of the season. The Cup Series will head to Pocono Raceway on Saturday, June 26, and Sunday, June 27. If Larson continues to perform at a high level, he will have the opportunity to win five straight points races.
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