Larson crowned NASCAR Cup Series regular-season champion ahead of playoffs

Kyle Larson received the accolade of NASCAR Cup Series regular-season champion after a highly impressive campaign to date that has included five wins, 14 top-five finishes and 18 top ten finishes.

The stand-out performer of the season to date, the Hendrick Motorsports driver has also led an astonishing 1,566 laps. Despite an unfortunate late accident at Daytona International Speedway relegating him to a rare 20th place finish, rival Denny Hamlin’s 13th place was enough to secure that top slot.

“It’s awesome. I’m a bit shocked that it’s their first regular-season championship, but it was really important to me to win that mostly for the 15 bonus points,” commented Larson on the official Hendrick Motorsports website.

“Those will go a long way for you. It’s cool to get that regular-season title. It’s been a lot of hard work by everybody on our race team and at the race shop and (team owner) Mr. H (Rick Hendrick) himself to put us in positions. Now it’s time for the real job.”

It’s all very well being crowned the regular season champion, but Larson now knows he must back that up as the playoffs loom large and the job is far from done although he carries the bonus of 15 playoff points added to the 37 he already has in the bank.

“I feel like our team’s atmosphere, speaking of the No. 5 team, has been really good,” he added. “We’ve been working really hard together, even with all the success we’ve had this year. We’ve never been content and I think that’s really important if you want to continue to succeed. I’ve been happy with how everything’s been going and (it’s) cool to have everybody sharing the success together.”

“I think because the points and all that kind of reset, now you can look ahead and see where people rank and learn from how we did there earlier in the year. I felt like we had a good race, we finished second, but we still needed to be quite a bit better to beat Martin. I’m sure we’ll all watch the race over and they’ll probably look at notes and stuff and see what we can do better to try and go for a win.”

He won’t have long to wait, the playoff series of races starting on Sunday September 5 at Darlington Raceway.

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