Kyle Larson finally closed out his second win of the season Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and did so by making sure no one was close enough to take it away.
Larson whipped the field in the Coca-Cola 600. The driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet started from the pole and led 327 of 400 laps, swept all three stages, and had a margin of victory of 10 seconds on teammate Chase Elliott. After the final round of pit stops, Larson went from leading by 2.6 seconds to impressively grow his advantage on the competition even as he navigated lapped traffic.
“It feels good. It was not easy,” Larson said. “I felt like I had to fight off William (Byron) and Chase (Elliott) a lot. It kind of worked out there in that last run. The No. 43 (Erik Jones) had to pit and pulled out in front of me, and I just towed with him for a while and stretched my lead out. We had a good car there in that last run. Awesome!”
Larson’s victory puts Hendrick Motorsports atop the all-time wins list in the NASCAR Cup Series at 269.
“It feels great to be the guy to help Mr. Hendrick break that record, finally,” said Larson. “This is awesome. We haven’t seen this many fans in forever. Thanks to all you guys for coming out. I hope we put on a good show. My pit crew did awesome. We had awesome pit stops, especially on the green flag stops, too. That really allowed us to get the win tonight.”
"I want to thank every driver that won a race, and the ones that didn't win."
Rick Hendrick soaks in his NASCAR Cup Series-best 269th win with pure class. pic.twitter.com/vDo40gJksu
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) May 31, 2021
Elliott finished second to give Hendrick Motorsports its second consecutive 1-2 finish. Elliott led 22 laps, which was the second-most to Larson.
Kyle Busch finished third, and William Byron finished fifth. Alex Bowman completed the top five.
Austin Dillon finished sixth, and Denny Hamlin finished seventh. Chris Buescher finished eighth for his third top-10 finish in the last five races. Tyler Reddick finished ninth, and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top 10.
There were 14 cars on the lead lap at the checkered flag. Kurt Busch finished last after falling out of the race after 139 laps. Busch suffered a mechanical issue that initially sent him to the garage, but the engine blew in his Chevrolet shortly after rejoining the race.
The dominating performance puts Larson at over 1,000 laps led on the season, the first driver to reach the mark. Larson has led 1,105 laps while the next second-most is 754 by points leader Denny Hamlin.
Before his victory, Larson had led 20 laps at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and his best finish was fifth. Sunday marks his eighth career win in the Cup Series.