Larson dominates Coke 600 as Hendrick breaks win record

Kyle Larson claimed his first Coca-Cola 600 victory on Sunday night and helped his Hendrick Motorsports organization break a longtime NASCAR record.

Larson started the weekend by winning the pole then quickly established the dominance of his No. 5 Chevrolet in Sunday night’s 600, taking three stage wins and cruising to a 10-second victory over his HMS teammate, Chase Elliott, at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Larson’s only serious competition in the event were from his HMS teammates. Both Elliott and William Byron took brief turns in the lead, only to see Larson fight his way back to the front with this help of a fast and efficient pit crew.

“It feels so good. It wasn’t easy – I felt like I had to fight off William and Chase a lot,” Larson said. “It kind of worked out the last run as (Erik Jones) had to pit and pulled out in front of me and I just towed with him for a while and stretched my lead out.

“It’s awesome. It feels great to help Mr. H (team owner Rick Hendrick) break that record finally. This is so awesome. We haven’t seen this many fans in forever. Thank all you guys for coming out.

“Thanks to everybody who allows me to drive this No. 5 car. And thanks to my No. 5 team, too. They were great tonight. We had awesome pit stops that really allowed us to get the win tonight.”

With the win, HMS now owns 269 victories in the Cup Series – breaking the record of 268 previously held by Petty Enterprises. Petty has been the organization with the most Cup wins since 1960.

Elliott’s win last weekend at Circuit of the Americas allowed HMS to tie the record. Hendrick’s first Cup win came with Geoff Bodine, also driving the No. 5 in 1984.

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France issued the following statement following the race:

“I am proud to congratulate Rick Hendrick and all of Hendrick Motorsports on breaking the all-time wins record for a NASCAR Cup Series race team, long held by the legendary Petty Enterprises team. With nearly 40 years of excellence, Hendrick Motorsports has set the gold standard for race team success. Rick Hendrick has already cemented his legacy as a NASCAR Hall of Famer, and now adds another incredible accomplishment to an exemplary NASCAR career.”

 

Asked to describe his experience with HMS so far this season, Larson said, “When I was talking to Ricky Stenhouse Jr. last year and told him I thought I was going to end up in one of the Hendrick cars, he said, ‘You’re going to do really, really good in that thing.’

“I didn’t know but it’s been better than I ever imagined.”

Kyle Busch ended up in third, Byron was fourth and his HMS teammate, Alex Bowman, rounded out the top-five.

Completing the top-10 were Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Chris Buescher, Tyler Reddick and Kevin Harvick.

Read Also:

Stage 4

Following the break between Stages 3 and 4, all the lead-lap cars pit with Larson again the first off pit road. Ryan Blaney was penalized by NASCAR for speeding on pit road and Bubba Wallace was penalized for equipment interference. Both had to restart the race from the rear of the field.

The race returned to green on Lap 307 with Larson out front followed by Kyle Busch, Byron and Elliott.

On Lap 321, Joey Logano was forced to pit under green for a flat tire. It was outside his pit window which meant he would need to pit again during the stage to make it to the finish on fuel.

With 60 laps to go, Larson had moved out to a 2.8-second lead over Elliott as Kyle Busch ran third, Byron fourth and Bowman fifth.

On Lap 340, Martin Truex Jr., who was running 12th, had a left-front tire go flat and immediately dove down to pit road and the race remained green. His crew had difficult time extracting the tire, which sent him several laps down and out of contention.

Numerous lead-lap cars hit pit road on Lap 345 to begin a final round of green-flag stops for new tires and fuel to make it to the finish of the race.

Larson cycled back to the lead on Lap 352. He was followed by Elliott, Byron, Kyle Busch and Bowman.

With 40 laps to go, Larson’s lead over Elliott remained steady at 2.1-seconds with Byron in third, 3.7 seconds behind the leader.

Larson’s lead had grown to 3.7 seconds over Elliott with 25 laps remaining in the race.

Kyle Busch powered around Byron and into the third spot with 10 laps to go. Larson’s lead over Elliott had expanded to more than a 9-second lead.

Stage 3

Larson claimed the Stage 3 win under caution after a late-stage wreck involving Ryan Newman on Lap 296.

Byron ended up second, Kyle Busch was third, Elliott fourth and Bowman rounded out the top-five.

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, all the lead-lap cars pit with Larson the first off pit road. When the race returned to green on Lap 208, Larson was followed by Elliott, Byron and Kyle Busch.

On Lap 213, Christopher Bell hit the wall on the backstretch and did significant damage to his No. 20 Toyota. The race remained green, but Bell eventually had to pit for repairs.

After hounding him for several laps, Byron finally ran down and passed Larson on Lap 231 to take the lead for the second time in the race.

Harvick was the first to pit under green on Lap 238, partially to do with what he thought was a loose wheel. He was told he was “in his window” to make the stop.

By Lap 245, many of the rest of the lead-lap cars began making their green-flag stops, including Kyle Busch, who locked up his wheels entering pit road.

 

Once the cycle of stops was completed on Lap 253, Larson came out the leader followed by Byron, Kyle Busch, Elliott and Bowman.

With 20 laps to go in the stage, Larson maintained a 1.2-second lead over Byron as Kyle Busch ran third.

Byron closed to Larson’s rear bumper with 10 laps to go looking for an opportunity to reclaim the lead.

Newman got loose and hit the Turn 3 wall to bring out a caution on Lap 297. There wasn’t enough time to restart the race before the stage’s conclusion.

Stage 2

Larson passed Elliott with 15 laps to go and held on for the Stage 2 victory, his eighth stage win of the season.

Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, all the lead-lap cars pit with Larson the first off pit road. On the restart on Lap 108, Larson was followed by Elliott, Harvick and Byron.

With 75 laps remaining in the stage, Larson had closed to the rear bumper of Larson’s car, looking for an opportunity to take the lead.

On Lap 132, Elliott used a bold move and got around Larson on the outside to take the lead for the first time in the race.

 

On Lap 140, Kurt Busch dramatically slowed on the track, pulled down pit road and drove right to the garage with a likely engine issue.

Brad Keselowski was the first to hit pit road to start a round of green-flag stop to take on tires and fuel to make it to the finish of the stage.

Once the cycle of stops was completed on Lap 153, Larson had returned to the lead followed by Byron, Elliott and Harvick.

Just after returning from the garage after completing repairs, the engine let go on Kurt Busch’s No. 1 Chevrolet just as he got back up to speed, which brought out a caution.

All the lead-lap cars pit with Bowman the first off pit road thanks to a two-tire pit stop. On the restart on Lap 178, Bowman was followed by Hamlin and Logano (both of whom also took two tires) and Larson, the first car to take four new tires.

On Lap 180, Hamlin got around Bowman to take the lead for the first time as Elliott moved into third.

On Lap 183, Elliott worked his way around Hamlin to retake the lead as Larson moved into second.

Two laps later, Larson got side-by-side and then went around Elliott to reclaim the lead for himself.

Stage 1

Larson dominated the first stage, leading 89 of 100 laps, on his way to his seventh stage win of the 2021 season.

Elliott was second, Byron third, Harvick fourth and Austin Dillon rounded out the top-five.

Larson started on the pole and led the way through the first 25 laps, building a 1.2-second lead over Elliott with Byron third.

On Lap 40, Elliott had closed to less than a half-second behind leader Larson.

Chastain was the first to hit pit road for a round of green-flag pit stop on Lap 46 to take on new tires and fuel to make it to the finish of the stage.

Blaney was forced to pit a second time on Lap 56 with a loose wheel on his No. 12 Ford.

Once the cycle of stops was completed on Lap 59, Larson continued to lead followed by Elliott, Byron, Harvick and Austin Dillon.

With 35 laps to go in the stage, Larson’s lead over Elliot had jumped to 1.529 seconds with Byron in third.

With 20 laps remaining, Larson’s advantage over Elliott reached 2.5-seconds. Byron remained in third, 6.5 seconds behind the leader.

On Lap 95, Daniel Suarez suddenly slowed on the backstretch and was forced to pit under green for a right-front flat tire. Suarez returned to the track two laps down and in 29th.

Both Kurt Busch and B.J. McLeod both had to start the race from the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments to their cars following qualifying.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Laps Led
1 5 United States Kyle Larson Chevrolet 400 3:58'45.292     327
2 9 United States Chase Elliott Chevrolet 400 3:58'55.343 10.051 10.051 22
3 18 United States Kyle Busch Toyota 400 3:58'55.520 10.228 0.177 1
4 24 United States William Byron Chevrolet 400 3:58'55.801 10.509 0.281 19
5 48 United States Alex Bowman Chevrolet 400 3:58'56.839 11.547 1.038 5
6 3 United States Austin Dillon Chevrolet 400 3:59'01.759 16.467 4.920 1
7 11 United States Denny Hamlin Toyota 400 3:59'02.689 17.397 0.930 3
8 17 United States Chris Buescher Ford 400 3:59'02.891 17.599 0.202  
9 8 United States Tyler Reddick Chevrolet 400 3:59'03.949 18.657 1.058 6
10 4 United States Kevin Harvick Ford 400 3:59'08.801 23.509 4.852  
11 2 United States Brad Keselowski Ford 400 3:59'09.695 24.403 0.894 6
12 47 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet 400 3:59'09.930 24.638 0.235  
13 12 United States Ryan Blaney Ford 400 3:59'14.223 28.931 4.293 2
14 23 United States Bubba Wallace Toyota 400 3:59'14.396 29.104 0.173  
15 99 Mexico Daniel Suarez Chevrolet 398 3:58'50.950 2 Laps 2 Laps  
16 43 United States Erik Jones Chevrolet 398 3:59'00.855 2 Laps 9.905  
17 22 United States Joey Logano Ford 398 3:59'04.226 2 Laps 3.371  
18 21 United States Matt DiBenedetto Ford 398 3:59'08.003 2 Laps 3.777 2
19 7 United States Corey Lajoie Chevrolet 398 3:59'09.286 2 Laps 1.283  
20 34 United States Michael McDowell Ford 398 3:59'11.776 2 Laps 2.490  
21 41 United States Cole Custer Ford 397 3:58'52.476 3 Laps 1 Lap  
22 10 United States Aric Almirola Ford 397 3:58'57.456 3 Laps 4.980  
23 14 United States Chase Briscoe Ford 397 3:58'57.685 3 Laps 0.229  
24 20 United States Christopher Bell Toyota 397 3:58'57.971 3 Laps 0.286 3
25 38 Anthony Alfredo Ford 397 3:59'12.717 3 Laps 14.746 3
26 37 United States Ryan Preece Chevrolet 397 3:59'15.099 3 Laps 2.382  
27 6 United States Ryan Newman Ford 396 3:59'12.423 4 Laps 1 Lap  
28 77 United States Justin Haley Chevrolet 395 3:58'47.026 5 Laps 1 Lap  
29 19 United States Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 391 3:59'14.634 9 Laps 4 Laps  
30 53 United States Cody Ware Ford 389 3:59'03.101 11 Laps 2 Laps  
31 78 United States B.J. McLeod Ford 389 3:59'03.708 11 Laps 0.607  
32 00 United States Quin Houff Chevrolet 389 3:59'05.200 11 Laps 1.492  
33 15 Australia James Davison Chevrolet 388 3:59'06.629 12 Laps 1 Lap  
34 51 United States Garrett Smithley Chevrolet 387 3:59'07.446 13 Laps 1 Lap  
35 52 United States Josh Bilicki Ford 382 3:59'06.431 18 Laps 5 Laps  
36 66 United States David Starr Ford 369 3:59'04.266 31 Laps 13 Laps  
37 42 United States Ross Chastain Chevrolet 359 3:59'13.665 41 Laps 10 Laps  
38 1 United States Kurt Busch Chevrolet 139 1:35'54.448 261 Laps 220 Laps  

shares
comments

Related video

NASCAR's longest race and first-time winners

Previous article

NASCAR's longest race and first-time winners

Next article

Chase Elliott: "Best driver, best car" won Coke 600

Chase Elliott: "Best driver, best car" won Coke 600
Load comments
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

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

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

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 organization - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR Cup
Aug 31, 2021
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for 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 Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021