Gordon: NASCAR Cup winner Larson "a great champion"

Jeff Gordon had a Hall of Fame NASCAR career with Hendrick Motorsports, so he knows first-hand the talented drivers the organization can produce.

Gordon: NASCAR Cup winner Larson "a great champion"

Four-time NASCAR Cup champion Jeff Gordon says that 2021 series winner Kyle Larson has done "amazing things" in his first season with Hendrick Motorsports.

After a brief stint as a TV analyst with Fox Sports following his racing career, Gordon returned to Hendrick in an official role in June of this year as vice-chairman of the team.

Gordon played a large role, along with team owner Rick Hendrick, in bringing Kyle Larson on board as one of its full-time Cup drivers this season following his NASCAR suspension in 2020 for using a racial slur over the radio during a public iRacing event.

Larson repaid their faith by winning 10 races of 36 races this season, including Sunday's season finale at Phoenix Raceway, which also handed him the series championship in his first year with the #5 team.

“Kyle Larson is a great talent. You give him a great race car and great race teams and he does amazing things,” Gordon said.

“We’ve seen it before, seen it in other forms of racing. He and this pit crew and this team, they did it all year long. They got to this point.

“What a battle. I just want to say Phoenix Raceway, NASCAR and all these fans that came out here today, this is what a championship weekend is supposed to feel like, and that was a championship battle.

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro HendrickCars.com, Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro HendrickCars.com, Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

“Great competitors and a great champion here.”

Larson’s victory was something of a team effort, as he grabbed the lead for the final time in the race thanks to a pit stop under the final caution that gained him three positions.

Once the race restarted on Lap 289 of 312, Larson then had to hold off several serious challenges from Martin Truex Jr to secure his 10th victory of the season and the championship.

“It was a total team effort not just from the whole season but from the whole weekend, how they prepared to go qualify and get that lap to win the pole, get the #1 pit stall, and they had great (pit) stops all day long,” Gordon said.

“An unfortunate caution that got them behind and then another one that helped him get another opportunity, and I think I heard it was like the second best (pit) stop of the entire year.

“That’s what championship teams do.”

shares
comments

Related video

Truex: "Second hurts" after defeat to Larson in NASCAR title fight
Previous article

Truex: "Second hurts" after defeat to Larson in NASCAR title fight

Next article

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory
Load comments
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Plus

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson’s journey to the 2021 NASCAR Cup title comes straight from the Hollywood blockbuster scripts. While Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines for both the right and the wrong reasons

NASCAR
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Plus

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup Series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Plus

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Plus

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organisation - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR
Aug 31, 2021
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

NASCAR
Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021