“So Happy” – Jimmie Johnson Reacts as Former Crew Chief Daniels, Kyle Larson Win Maiden NASCAR Race with Hendrick

Published 03/08/2021, 7:45 AM EST
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 and crew chief Cliff Daniels did not have to wait long for their first Cup win together, with the moment arriving at Las Vegas on Sunday. While wishes from many in the NASCAR community poured in, none would have been more special than the one from Jimmie Johnson.

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The NASCAR legend was, of course, an integral part in Hendrick Motorsports’ success in the better part of the last two decades. So, a congratulatory message coming from Johnson would undoubtedly mean a lot to Larson.

Cliff Daniels served as crew chief for Jimmie Johnson in the 2019 season

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In addition, Mr. Daniels is someone Johnson has familiarized himself with over the years. Indeed, the former served, first as a race engineer and then as a crew chief, on his No.48 team. Having known each other for some time now, Johnson also expressed his heartfelt wishes for his old friend.

Johnson’s tweet was captioned, “First career win for my man @DanielsCliff, I’m so happy for you brother! A big congrats to @KyleLarsonRacin and @Hendrick5Teamteam!! @TeamHendrick.”

It was certainly a very impressive display from the 28-year-old, breaking his duck on the 1.5 mile-long speedway tracks. Having stayed winless in 71 Cup Series starts at such venues, Larson was understandably elated with the race victory.

Kyle Larson started the race in 3rd and did not let momentum slip across the 267 laps

The California native had begun the race on the second row alongside Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. From the very start, Larson showed no inclination of losing out on his track position, although he ended Stage 1 in 13th place.

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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

But from there on, he really caught the pace and marked a strong finish with a win in Stage 2. Almost effortlessly, he built a time gap out in front of nearest rivals Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin and pulled away from the rest of the field.

Larson thus won the race with nearly three seconds to spare, showcasing his brilliance and consistency at the same time. His fans will hope that this is the start of something big and would set the tone for more victories to come.

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MORE – NASCAR Xfinity Star AJ Allmendinger Reacts to the ‘Boot Cut’ Chatter Led by Jimmie Johnson

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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