THE BATTLE AT BRISTOL: Kyle Larson finished second in Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. After starting 36th, Larson worked his way through the field in the opening 125-lap stage. The 31-year-old driver got up to eighth at the end of stage one. Staying out during the stage break, Larson restarted the second segment in third and took the lead on lap 179. He held the point position for 20 laps before ultimately finishing the stage in third. In the final stage, Larson restarted third and spent the last 138 laps in second, finishing in the runner-up position. This marks his third consecutive top-five finish and series-best 13th top-five of the season.
ROUND OF 16 REVIEW: Larson earned the second-best average finish through the first three playoff races all-time (2.33), only behind Greg Biffle’s 2008 mark (1.67). During the Round of 16, the No. 5 HendrickCars.com driver earned the best all-time average finish in the opening round of the elimination playoffs. The next-best average finish (3.00) came from Larson in his championship-winning year of 2021. Larson added six playoff points in this year’s Round of 16 to bring his bonus points total to 23, the fourth-most of all drivers.
THE ROAD TO PHOENIX: The 2021 Cup Series champion is no rookie at navigating the playoff road to Phoenix Raceway. Larson has earned a spot in the Cup Series playoffs seven times and won at six of the seven playoff tracks remaining during his 101 starts with Hendrick Motorsports. With the points reset for the Round of 12, Larson is now 12 markers ahead of the elimination line. So far in the playoffs, he has the most laps run in the top five (804), the second-most laps run in the top 10 (898) and the second-best running position (6.69).
TURNING TO TEXAS: This weekend the Elk Grove, California, native will race at Texas Motor Speedway. He is currently one of only five drivers to have two or more consecutive top-10 finishes at the Fort Worth, Texas, venue. In 2021, Larson dominated the playoff race and then went on to win the championship. His 2021 victory is one of four instances where the fall playoff race winner went on to become the series champion.
1.5-MILE STAT SAVVY: During this season’s four races on 1.5-mile tracks, Larson is tied with teammate William Byron for the most top-five finishes (three), has led the second-most laps (248) and holds the fourth-best average finish (9.50). In the Next Gen era (2022-present) on 1.5-mile tracks, Larson ranks second in points scored (409), average finish (9.45) and is one of eight active drivers to win on this track type (Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2022). Note: Races at Atlanta Motor Speedway since 2022 are excluded in this count of 1.5-mile tracks.
IN 2023: This season, Larson leads the way in top-five finishes (13) and is in a five-way tie, along with Byron, for the most top-10s (15). He’s third in laps led (798), average running position (11.55), laps run in the top five (2,988) and laps run in the top 10 (4,421). Larson has been the second-best driver on restarts, based on information from Racing Insights.
FOUR TIRES FAST: The No. 5 HendrickCars.com pit crew has the fourth-best average four-tire pit stop time of the season at 11.155 seconds. In the middle race of the Round of 16 at Kansas Speedway, the squad had the best average four-tire stop time among all teams (10.085 seconds). The team’s five-man pit crew consists of Blaine Anderson (front-tire changer), R.J. Barnette (tire carrier), Brandon Harder (fueler), Brandon Johnson (jackman) and Calvin Teague (rear-tire changer).
HENDRICK, GET SET. GO!: On Tuesday, Hendrick Automotive Group’s Hendrick, Get Set. Go! program gifted New Hanover High School in Wilmington, North Carolina, a $25,000 grant for auto tech education using the excitement of the HendrickCars.com racing program. Larson, the No. 5 pit crew, head Hendrick Motorsports pit coach Jon Carvin and pit crew development coach Keith Flynn traveled to the event for a question and answer session with students followed by a live pit stop practice in the parking lot. Before getting involved in NASCAR, Flynn was a football and tennis coach from 1985 to 1986 at the school. The Hendrick, Get Set. Go! program’s goal is to connect schools and local Hendrick Automotive Group dealerships for future opportunities for students. Hendrick Automotive Group has seven dealerships surrounding the Wilmington/Jacksonville area. See photos from the event here.
HENDRICKCARS.COM IS HOME: This Sunday’s race marks the 13th of 15 home races for the HendrickCars.com team this season. The Fort Worth, Texas, area is home to two Hendrick Automotive Group dealerships. Respectively, both the driver and crew can be found in their white firesuits this weekend. For every HendrickCars.com home race this season, there is a unique hat, released the week of the race and only available for sale on the trackside merchandise haulers or available to win on HendrickCars.com. Less than 100 of each limited-edition hat will be made available to the public. This week’s Texas-themed hat will be revealed Thursday, check it out here.
WIN A CHEVROLET COLORADO Z71: Want to drive Larson’s 2023 Chevrolet Colorado truck? The 2021 Cup Series champion is giving away his ride to one lucky winner. Fans can donate now to enter a drawing for a chance to take home the Z71 Crew Cab 4WD package with custom features and styling. This special sweepstakes raises funding for the Kyle Larson Foundation’s “DRIVE FOR 5” campaign that supports youth, families and communities in need. The campaign is nearing its fundraising goal of $500,000. Click here to check out this sweet custom ride and enter to win today. The drawing closes on Sunday, Dec. 3, and the winner will be chosen on Monday, Dec. 11.