Kyle Larson ‘Did Not Expect’ Incredible Start to Maiden NASCAR Season With Hendrick Motorsports

Published 03/26/2021, 12:30 PM EDT
Mar 7, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (5) cellebrates his victory in the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


Kyle Larson has quickly gotten off the blocks in his comeback NASCAR season. Larson is one of the six drivers with a win already this season, and his debut stint with Hendrick Motorsports is already paying rich dividends to him as well as the team.

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Even when Larson has not won, he has looked like a contender for the victory consistently through the first six races. This includes an absolutely dominant run in Atlanta last weekend, which he just could not convert into a victory.

His Hendrick teammates have also praised his performance and speed so far, and so have the other competitors in the NASCAR Cup Series. Reflecting on his super start, Larson said he hoped for a quick run off the blocks but did not expect it. Larson had not driven a Cup car since April 2020.

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“I had hoped to start somewhere close to this strong, but I didn’t expect to, just because, I hadn’t been in a car for a while,” Larson said during a recent interview.

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (5) celebrates his victory in the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Larson relieved to overcome growing pains early in NASCAR season

There were a lot of firsts for Larson as he stepped into the pre-season with the no. 5 unit at Hendrick Motorsports. A new crew chief in Cliff Daniels, new crew, engineers, etc. meant Larson did not know what to expect.

However, the hard work paid off and Larson’s car showed great speed right away. The former Chip Ganassi Racing man praised Daniels and the team for their efforts.

“Switching over to a new team with a whole new crew, with a driver who had a different driving style than I had. So I just really didn’t know how that would go once we got on the race track,” Larson said.

“It just shows how well prepared Cliff Daniels and everyone on the #5 team is,” he added further.

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

Hard work pays rich dividends for Larson and Hendrick Motorsports

Despite the efforts behind the scene, it is eventually up to the driver to convert all the work into strong results on the race track. And Larson has been successful in doing so, up to this point.

I’ve also been putting in a lot of work during the week to try and prepare myself the best I can. All that preparation is really showing on the race tracks on Sunday,” Larson expressed.

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Larson, like the other NASCAR Cup drivers, is focused on the upcoming Bristol dirt race. Many believe Larson is a favorite for Sunday’s race, given his incredible dirt racing showing over the years.

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Aayush Majumdar

995 articles

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.

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