LAS VEGAS — Kyle Larson continues a nine-year trend of playoff-eligible drivers winning the opening race of the NASCAR Cup Series Round of 8.
Larson led 133 laps en route to victory Sunday in the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, securing a position in the Championship 4 race at Phoenix next month.
“This is really cool to get to race in the championship in a few weeks,” Larson said. “Glad we don’t need to stress in the last two races.”
Since the introduction of the current NASCAR Playoffs format in 2014, the winner of the opening race of the Round of 8 ultimately won the championship four times.
Jimmie Johnson (2016), Joey Logano (2018), Kyle Larson (2021), and Joey Logano (2022) went on to win the title in those seasons.
Two more opportunities for the remaining seven drivers await at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Oct. 22) and Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 29).
Playoff-eligible Round of 8 Opening Race Winners
2015: Jeff Gordon (Martinsville) (3rd)
2016: Jimmie Johnson* (Martinsville)
2017: Kyle Busch (Martinsville) (2nd)
2018: Joey Logano* (Martinsville)
2019: Martin Truex Jr. (Martinsville) (2nd)
2020: Joey Logano (Kansas) (3rd)
2021: Kyle Larson* (Fort Worth)
2022: Joey Logano* (Las Vegas)
* – indicates championship winner that season.
I am a co-owner and reporter for TheRacingExperts.com.