Things weren’t looking all that rosy for the driver with the most wins this season. Even after winning Stage 2, Kyle Larson fell back a few seconds of the leaders. But two late race cautions turned things around. With Chase Elliott leading, a caution bunched up the field and put Larson back in contact with the leaders but he still didn’t have the speed and clean air Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex, Jr. enjoyed.
The final caution around lap 30 sent the field to pit road once again and the pit crew of Larson’s car got him out in front. And that was all she wrote.
Larson’s Chevrolet loved the clean air and no matter how hard MTJ tried, he just couldn’t clear Larson for the lead.
If you like the drama of not knowing who was going to be in the front under the final caution, this was your race. The Championship 4 ran in the Top 5 at every stage and towards the end of the race were running in positions 1 through 4. No one else stood a chance.
From sitting on the sidelines for a year to Cup champion, this had to feel like a weird dream for Kyle Larson. He showed what redemption can bring with a lot of hard work and given the opportunity. Congrats to the entire 5 team and the Hendrick organization.
So you had a good day.
- Kyle Larson, winner of 10 races, led 107 laps, gets the race win and trophy.
- Martin Truex, Jr. (P2) led 72 laps and was so close after that caution put him in front.
- Denny Hamlin (P3) didn’t lead a single lap. You gotta feel for the guy, he is probably one of the most talented drivers that hasn’t won a title.
- Ryan Blaney (P4) led 33 laps. A good race for the Penske driver. He finishes 7th in the standings.
- Chase Elliott (P5) led 94 laps and was leading as the race wore down. Slower pit stops mired him in dirty air and he wasn’t as good there.
- Aric Almirola (P6) had a decent finish at the end of the year. He’ll finish 15th in points.
- Kyle Busch (P7) didn’t lead and this just wasn’t his year. He’ll finish 9th in points.
- Kevin Harvick (P8) went winless this season but winds up 5th in points.
- Christopher Bell (P9) had a decent end to the year and shows a lot of promise. He’ll finish 12th in points.
- Brad Keselowski (P10) was just outmatched in the title run as he finished his season and career with Penske. He moves on to Roush as an owner/driver. He will finish 6th in points.
- Chase Briscoe (P35 and 23rd in points) for winning ROTY 2021, congrats young man!
That’s it for the racing season folks, thanks to all of you who take the time to read my missives. And thanks again to the wonderful team at the Stock Car Gazette and motorsportsnews.net.
Hope you enjoyed the season and are looking forward to 2022 with an all new car. We’ll get our first taste of that at the hyped up, gimmick known as the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Not sure why we needed that, but NASCAR is always right, right?
Stay sharp, turn left and keep the shiny side up. Adieu.
(Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)