Hendrick continues superb season with three top tens at Darlington

Hendrick Motorsports, partnered by Acronis, continued its superb 2021 NASCAR season as Kyle Larson finished second at Darlington Raceway with William Byron fourth and Chase Elliot 7th.

In one of the more popular innovations the sport has seen in recent years, all teams ran a retro ‘throwback’ liveries and race gear and it was the Throwback Chevrolet Camaro of Larson that so nearly grabbed the race victory, pushing winner Martin Truex Jr. all the way.

Rolling off the line in 14th, Larson advanced to 8th after a caution on lap 23. Taking the opportunity to pit under the caution, he emerged 11th but advanced to seventh and kept that position after a stop for fresh tires and fuel and ended Stage 1 in fourth.

Following a green-flag pit stop with 42 laps of Stage 2 remaining, Larson made good ground from 12th to end the stage in fifth place and in good position to mount his final charge. Again playing his tactics right, he made a green-flag pit stop which elevated him to third before a well-executed overtake on Kyle Busch saw him challenge Truex Jr. all the way to the flag.

“Even the whole last stage I felt like I did a good job for where I was at and who I was battling with to take care of my stuff. But when the leader is in front of you it is tougher to remind yourself,” Larson is quoted on motorsport.com.

“In a way I maybe was too patient at one point. I got to his back bumper in (Turns) 1 and 2 and I could see he was struggling in front of me, and I thought, ‘Well, if I am just patient here and stay behind him and put some pressure on him, maybe he’ll use his stuff up or get into the wall in (Turn) 3 and 4 because he was running so close to it. So, I was just hoping that he would make a mistake.”

Rounding off another highly successful day for the team, Homestead-Miami winner Byron drove a super consistent race never being out of the top ten at any time and brought his Valvoline Throwback Chevrolet Camaro home fourth, three places ahead of the No.9 HOOTERS Throwback Chevrolet Camaro of Elliot.

With at lease two cars inside the top ten in the last ten races, Hendrick Motorsports leads the team standings in the NASCAR Cup Series.

“We’re one of the top three teams out there, so I’m happy with that. We’ve been really good to start the year and meshing very well as a team,” added Larson. “Really enjoy working with Cliff (Daniels, crew chief) and everybody on the No. 5 car, and I think we’re just going to continue to grow.”

Motorsport Technology