Kyle Larson Shrugs Off Hiccups in NASCAR Daytona 500 for Top-10 Finish On Hendrick Debut

Published 02/16/2021, 1:29 AM EST
Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (5) during the Bluegreen Vacations Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


The Daytona 500 has officially concluded and the 2021 Cup season has kicked off. The Hendrick Motorsports team had a mixed day in the office with two cars in the Top 10 and two cars out of the race. Kyle Larson finished in 10th place after starting 13th on the grid.

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However, Larson suffered from a sluggish start, dropping back to 16th on the first lap. Luckily, he made up for it when he clawed his way up to 10th when the first caution fell. From there, he managed to make his way up to sixth by Lap 13 until the caution flag waved for a big crash. The situation soon evolved into a red flag after a rain shower interrupted, and there was also lightning in the area.

When the rain gods finally decided to be merciful, the #5 Hendrick Motorsports driver ran in third place. Unfortunately, he slowly began to get shuffled backwards, finding himself in fifth by Lap 31 and ninth on Lap 33. By the time the third caution flag waved, Kyle Larson dropped to 12th.

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How did Kyle Larson perform in the rest of the race?

Fortunately, Larson seemed to be doing well during the restarts. To be precise, he vaulted up to eighth and ran sixth-fastest by Lap 45. By the time Stage 1 ended, he broke into the top fifth and earned some valuable stage points.

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In Stage 2, he yo-yoed back down to seventh place. Luckily, the second stage was a lot kinder, as he found himself running as high as second place with 23 laps left on the scoreboard.

DAYTONA, FL – FEBRUARY 15: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Chip Ganassi Racing Credit One Bank Chevrolet Camaro, during final practice for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Unfortunately, his time to shine did not last as he began to drop back yet again. To make matters worse, he had a small brush with the wall and picked up a flat rear tire, dropping him all the way down to 17th. Kyle Larson then tried to mount a comeback and managed to snatch eighth place by the end of Stage 2.

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Sadly, all of that went to waste after he got hauled up for a safety violation. As a result, the NASCAR officials promptly sent him to the rear of the grid. The good news was that Kyle Larson managed to battle his way back up to eighth. However, he got caught up in the late accident on the final lap. In the end, he lived to tell the tale and wrangle the car to 10th place.

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Dhruv George

11318 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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