Kyle Larson wins Coca-Cola 600 as Hendrick breaks record
- Updated: May 31, 2021
Kyle Larson put on a show in primetime on Sunday as he streaked to a dominating victory in Sunday’s crown-jewel Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Larson led 327 of 400 laps, won three of four stages and beat runner-up Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott to the finish line by more than 10 seconds.
“Feels good,” Larson said after getting his first Cup win at the 1.5-mile CMS oval. “It was not easy. I felt like I had to fight off William (Byron, his teammate) and Chase (Elliott) a lot. We had a good car there on that last run, so awesome.”
The victory was the second of the season for Larson, who is in his first year with HMS after being let go by Chip Ganssi Racing last year after uttering a racial slur into a hot microphone in a televised e-race.
“It’s been better than I could have ever imagined,” Larson said of his debut season at Hendrick. “For us to lead as many laps as we have this year, contends for as many wins as we have (he’s finished second in three races) and now to get our second win. A crown-jewel event, too. It feels great.”
The three stage wins give him a series-leading nine on the season. His 327 laps led gave him 1,105 on the season, which also leads the series.
The victory gave the Hendrick team its 269th victory, breaking a tie with Richard Petty Motorsports for most in Cup history. HMS cars have now won six of 15 races in 2021.
“Feels great to be the guy to help Mr. H break that record finally,” Larson said.
“You know, No. 1, Richard Petty is the king of NASCAR,” team-owner Rick Hendrick said. “He’s done so much for this sport. But man, this is so awesome. I want to thank every driver who has driven and won a race and the ones who didn’t win.
“I can’t really get it in my brain right now because I thought something going to happen, something’s going to happen,” he said. “I’m just glad 269 is over.”
The race turned into another demonstration of power for HMS. Two weeks after making Cup history by going 1-2-3-4 at Dover, the team’s drivers went 1-2-4-5 on Sunday with Elliott’s runner up finish and William Byron and Alex Bowman topped only by third-place Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing.
“I was happy for the boss,” said Elliott, who finished second for the third time in 2021. “Happy for Kyle and Cliff (Daniels, Larson’s crew chief) and the 5 team. They’ve been kicking a– since February so they deserve to win.