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Kyle Larson becomes 35th Cup Series champion

Photo by Jeff Ames/TRE

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Kyle Larson’s victory in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race Sunday at Phoenix Raceway scored Larson his 10th win of the 2021 season and his first premier-series title.

Larson is the sixth different driver to win the Cup Series championship in the last six seasons, coming in his seventh full-time season.

“I didn’t even think I’d be racing a Cup car a year and a half ago,” Larson said. “To win a championship is crazy. I’ve got to say first off thank you so much to Rick Hendrick,, Jeff Gordon, NASCAR, every single one of my supporters in the stands, watching at home, my family.

“I’ve got so many of my friends and family here.”

Championship 4 competitor Martin Truex Jr. was second in the race to Larson, finishing runner-up in driver’s points for the third time in his career.

Photo by Jeff Ames/TRE

“Ultimately, we needed to beat them off of pit road,” Truex said. “It’s unfortunate, but we win and lose as a team. I’m really proud of our efforts this year. Big thanks to everyone that makes it possible.”

Denny Hamlin was third in the race, being the only Championship 4 driver who did not lead a lap in the race.

Photo by Jeff Ames/TRE

“Obviously, that debris caution changed a lot,” Hamlin said. “Special congrats to (Kyle) Larson and their team. Any time you win 10 races in a year, you’re absolutely a deserving champion.”

Defending series champion Chase Elliott led on four occasions for 94 laps, ultimately finishing the race in fifth place.

Photo by Dominic Aragon/TRE

“I was really proud of our group,” Elliott said. “I thought we brought a really good car and did a lot of things that we were wanting it to do today, just didn’t work out, and the sequence of the way all that went certainly was unfortunate for us.”

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Dominic Aragon View All

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