Kyle Larson, in his first season at Hendrick Motorsports, started the 2021 NASCAR season with a top-10 finish at Daytona International Speedway and ended the season by clinching the NASCAR Cup Series championship. His first-ever championship came on the heels of capturing numerous wins, earning a spot in the playoffs, and having crew chief Cliff Daniels lead the #5 HMS team providing a fast #5 car each weekend.
During the post-race interview, Kyle Larson praised his #5 Hendrick Motorsports team for making the required adjustments to the car to keep him in the race throughout the 36-race campaign. He mentioned that his pit crew team’s efforts were the main reason behind his maiden Cup Series championship last season.
Speaking about the season-finale race and an incredible season, Larson said:
“Definitely a team win. I’m honestly glad that it took our whole — I mean, it always takes your whole team, but in one race, Cliff, the engineers making the adjustments on the car to keep us in the game, my pit crew is the main reason why we won that race, and I’m sure somewhere in there I made some good decisions, too. Just happy that we had to earn this one and worked our butts off to get it done.”
The #5 driver went on to say that the season-finale race at Phoenix Raceway was filled with topsy-turvy events compared to the other final four drivers.
“Yeah, it was a little bit of an up-and-down race compared to the four of us. There was moments where I was like, maybe I’ve got a good enough car to win outright and there was times where I was definitely the fourth best car."
“I haven’t felt an atmosphere like this maybe ever” – Kyle Larson
Kyle Larson’s Championship 4 win at Phoenix Raceway was his 10th of the 2021 season. The 30-year-old expressed his feelings after the victory, saying he has never felt an atmosphere like that before.
“I think just the atmosphere, I haven’t felt an atmosphere like this maybe ever. With the pressure of this race and everything that was on the line, to win this championship — every one of these fans made me feel it. I was trying to tell myself to just chill out, stop tearing up.”
Kyle Larson will look to win his second Cup championship when the 2023 Cup Series season kicks off with the Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum on February 5th, 2023.