“Feels Like a Win” – Kyle Larson on His Hard-Fought Top-5 Finish in Martinsville NASCAR Cup Race

Published 04/12/2021, 9:45 AM EDT
Mar 7, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (5) crosses the finish line to win the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Larson gave his fans another glimpse of the confidence he is currently enjoying in the NASCAR Cup Series. He has, without a doubt, been one of the best drivers through the first eight races this season, and his Hendrick Motorsports car has some serious speed.


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He finished fifth at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, a track where he had only one top-5 finish in his entire Cup Series career so far, since 2013.

However, since settling into the Hendrick Motorsports car, Larson has been able to do well in races where he traditionally struggled. Martinsville was a big example of the same, and he felt like a winner on Sunday after the result, on a track he termed his ‘worst’.


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Mar 21, 2021; Hampton, Georgia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (5) leads down the front stretch at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

“To get a top-five here at probably, by far, my worst race track feels like a win,” Larson said after the race.

Kyle Larson opens up on the positives from the Martinsville race

He looked back on his run through the 500 laps at the short track. Larson felt most vulnerable on the restarts, which were in abundance throughout the race due to a high number of cautions.

Yeah, definitely the restarts were crazy. I didn’t have the best balance on the restarts and that made it even a little crazier for me because I was kind of on defense, I felt like, most of the time. Even when I was on offense, I was kind of on-edge,” Larson explained.

However, into the run, he felt like he settled in very well and was one of the best cars on the day on the long runs.

“But after we would get 15 to 20 laps in, I actually felt really good. I felt like we were probably a fourth-place car on the long runs, so I was happy about that,” he said further.

Massive confidence booster for Larson and the Hendrick team

The No. 5 Hendrick driver started the race in 19th place. However, as he has shown throughout the season so far, Larson took no time in finding his place at the front. By Lap 82, he was already sixth.


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It was a topsy-turvy race for him post that, with so many cautions and restarts. When it mattered most, Larson made his way back to the front and even challenged teammate Chase Elliott for third towards the end.

Larson is one of the seven different winners this Cup season, with his victory at Las Vegas. With this kind of consistency at all types of tracks, he will certainly press hard for multiple wins this year.


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Aayush Majumdar

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Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.