NASCAR Sonoma: Larson continues domination with latest win

Kyle Larson’s incredible season picked up another first at Sonoma as he earned his maiden road course victory in the NASCAR Cup.

Race winner Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro HendrickCars.com
Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro HendrickCars.com and Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro NAPA Auto Parts
Race winner Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro HendrickCars.com
Race winner Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro HendrickCars.com
Race winner Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro HendrickCars.com
Race winner Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro HendrickCars.com

Larson held off his Hendrick Motorsports team-mate Chase Elliott in a two-lap overtime fight to secure the win in at Sonoma Raceway, but his victory never seemed seriously challenged.

Larson started on the pole, won both stages and led 57 of the 92 laps and was only under threat when a late-race three-car wreck set up an overtime period. But after Elliott got close in the first three turns, Larson was able to pull away and stay comfortably out front.

The win is Larson’s third of the 2021 season and second consecutive triumph, having also won all three stages and the race last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“Our car was awesome all day, made my job a lot easier than it has some days in the past,” Larson said.

“The tyres, when they’d get hot and cycle cool under yellow, I lost some front grip. I kind of missed my apexes in a few corners so Chase stayed on me longer than I wanted him to but I was able to get away for the last lap.

“It’s just a lot of hard work [from Hendrick Motorsports]. It’s been putting in for a long time now. A few years ago, for their standards, they were struggling. They dug down deep and we continue to work hard, too.

“I hope this is just the beginning of a lot more wins now.”

Larson’s crew chief, Cliff Daniels, said the #5 team waivered from their strategy despite the rash of cautions in the final stage.

“We stuck to our strategy at the beginning of the race. The only thing we did different was not short [pitting] Stage 2,” he said. “We had a fast enough car we felt we could pass back up through there if we got Stage 2 points.

“It paid off, which was great, definitely glad it did.”

Larson’s win is the fourth consecutive in the Cup by a Hendrick Motorsports driver and the fourth consecutive race Hendrick drivers have finished first and second in a race.

Martin Truex Jr – who had won the last two races at Sonoma prior to the COVID-19 pandemic – finished third for Joe Gibbs Racing, with Joey Logano in fourth for Team Penske as Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing) rounded out the top-five.

Kurt Busch took sixth for Chip Ganassi Racing ahead of team-mate Ross Chastain, as Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing), Alex Bowman (Hendrick Motorsports) and Ryan Blaney (Team Penske) completed the top 10.

Results

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Laps Led
1 5 United States Kyle Larson Chevrolet 92 3:14'41.653     57
2 9 United States Chase Elliott Chevrolet 92 3:14'42.267 0.614 0.614 13
3 19 United States Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 92 3:14'43.522 1.869 1.255  
4 22 United States Joey Logano Ford 92 3:14'44.290 2.637 0.768 5
5 18 United States Kyle Busch Toyota 92 3:14'45.127 3.474 0.837 2
6 1 United States Kurt Busch Chevrolet 92 3:14'46.491 4.838 1.364 8
7 42 United States Ross Chastain Chevrolet 92 3:14'47.211 5.558 0.720  
8 11 United States Denny Hamlin Toyota 92 3:14'48.549 6.896 1.338 2
9 48 United States Alex Bowman Chevrolet 92 3:14'49.148 7.495 0.599  
10 12 United States Ryan Blaney Ford 92 3:14'50.042 8.389 0.894  
11 43 United States Erik Jones Chevrolet 92 3:14'50.557 8.904 0.515  
12 99 Mexico Daniel Suarez Chevrolet 92 3:14'51.290 9.637 0.733  
13 3 United States Austin Dillon Chevrolet 92 3:14'52.085 10.432 0.795  
14 23 United States Bubba Wallace Toyota 92 3:14'52.410 10.757 0.325  
15 2 United States Brad Keselowski Ford 92 3:14'52.570 10.917 0.160  
16 17 United States Chris Buescher Ford 92 3:14'52.822 11.169 0.252  
17 14 United States Chase Briscoe Ford 92 3:14'53.272 11.619 0.450  
18 7 United States Corey Lajoie Chevrolet 92 3:14'53.442 11.789 0.170  
19 8 United States Tyler Reddick Chevrolet 92 3:14'53.968 12.315 0.526  
20 41 United States Cole Custer Ford 92 3:14'55.461 13.808 1.493  
21 37 United States Ryan Preece Chevrolet 92 3:14'55.717 14.064 0.256  
22 4 United States Kevin Harvick Ford 92 3:14'55.805 14.152 0.088  
23 21 United States Matt DiBenedetto Ford 92 3:14'56.037 14.384 0.232  
24 20 United States Christopher Bell Toyota 92 3:14'56.716 15.063 0.679  
25 15 Australia James Davison Chevrolet 92 3:14'56.925 15.272 0.209  
26 78 United States Scott Heckert Ford 92 3:14'57.258 15.605 0.333  
27 10 United States Aric Almirola Ford 92 3:14'58.183 16.530 0.925  
28 34 United States Michael McDowell Ford 92 3:14'58.602 16.949 0.419  
29 52 United States Josh Bilicki Ford 92 3:14'59.516 17.863 0.914  
30 77 United States Ben Rhodes Chevrolet 92 3:14'59.654 18.001 0.138  
31 38 Anthony Alfredo Ford 92 3:14'59.943 18.290 0.289  
32 53 United States Garrett Smithley Ford 92 3:15'01.778 20.125 1.835  
33 6 United States Ryan Newman Ford 92 3:15'05.693 24.040 3.915  
34 51 United States Cody Ware Chevrolet 84 2:53'43.249 8 Laps 8 Laps  
35 24 United States William Byron Chevrolet 76 2:35'12.400 16 Laps 8 Laps 5
36 00 United States Quin Houff Chevrolet 69 2:20'48.835 23 Laps 7 Laps  
37 47 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet 40 2:03'13.690 52 Laps 29 Laps  

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