Kyle Larson delivers historic Coke 600 win for Hendrick Motorsports

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CONCORD, N.C. — Kyle Larson outran the field and his teammates Sunday to deliver Rick Hendrick’s organization the title of winningest Cup team in NASCAR history, winning the Coca-Cola 600 by 10 seconds.

Larson, in his first season with the team, gave his new boss the 269th career victory for Hendrick Motorsports. That tops Petty Enterprises for most wins in the Cup Series. 

“Thank you buddy,” Hendrick told Larson on the radio. “Thank you. Great job. Great job. Sacked them good.

Said Larson: “You built a helluva organization. I’m just lucky enough to get to drive for it.”

MORE: Race results, driver points 

MORE: What drivers said after Coca-Cola 600

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France issued a statement in regards to Hendrick Motorsports’ accomplishment:

“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.”

The victory culminated a dominant May for the four-car organization located a little more than a 1 mile from Charlotte Motor Speedway

After going 1-2-3-4 at Dover with Alex Bowman winning two weeks ago and a 1-2 finish last week at Circuit of the Americas with Chase Elliott winning, Larson led a 1-2 Hendrick finish at Charlotte.

Larson, who finished second in each of the last three races, led 327 of the 400 laps and won all three stages. His eighth career Cup win is his first in a race 500 or more miles.

Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott was second. Kyle Busch placed third. He was followed by Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Alex Bowman.

“We had nothing for the Hendrick cars,” Busch said.

Larson, started from the pole and took control as soon as the green flag flew.

Larson led 89 of the first 100 laps to win the opening stage, which was run without caution. The only time Larson didn’t lead us during a green-flag pit cycle.

Larson passed Elliott with 12 laps left in the second stage to win that stage.

Larson continued his run in the third stage, leading the final 48 laps of the stage to win that stage.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Larson

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Larson

STAGE 3 WINNER: Kyle Larson

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Kyle Larson has three runner-ups and a win in his last four races. … Kyle Busch finished third and has three top-five finishes in the last five races. … Chris Buescher finished eighth, giving him top 10s in each of the last three races on 1.5-mile tracks. … Tyler Reddick‘s ninth-place finish gives him eight top 10s this year. He had nine last season.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Chip Ganassi Racing. Ross Chastain lost 38 laps in the first stage going to the garage for a broken oil pump. He finished 37th in the 38-car field. … In the second stage, Kurt Busch lost power and went to the garage for the same issue. He lost 33 laps for repairs. Moments after returning, Busch’s car was smoking and he was done for the race. He finished last in the 38-car field.

NEXT: The series races June 6 at Sonoma Raceway (4 p.m. ET on FS1)

NASCAR Awards: Scene on the red carpet

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The NASCAR community gathered at the Music City Center to commemorate the 2022 season and celebrate Joey Logano‘s second Cup title.

The event can be seen at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock.

Here is a look at the scene on the red carpet before Thursday night’s NASCAR Awards:

Joey Logano and Brittany Logano (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Ryan Blaney and Gianna Tulio (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kyle and Samantha Busch (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Chase Elliott (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Alex Bowman and Crystal Marsh (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Tyler Reddick and Alexa De Leon (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Denny Hamlin and Jordan Fish (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Daniel Suarez and Julia Piquet (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Chase Briscoe and Marissa Briscoe (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Christopher Bell and Morgan Bell (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Austin Dillon and Whitney Dillon (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kyle Larson (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

William Byron and Erin Blaney (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kevin Harvick (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Ross Chastain and Erika Turner (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Austin Cindric (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kurt Busch (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Harrison Burton and Jenna Petty(Photo: Dustin Long)
Mario Andretti (Photo: Dustin Long)

Chase Elliott wins NMPA Most Popular Driver Award

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Chase Elliott won his fifth consecutive NMPA Most Popular Driver Award on Thursday.

The announcement was made during the NASCAR Awards at the Music City Center. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock.

Elliott is one of only five drivers to win the award since 1984.

Bill Elliott won it from 1984-88, 1991-2000 and 2002. Dale Earnhardt won the award posthumously in 2001. Darrell Waltrip won it in 1989-90. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won it from 2003-17. Chase Elliott has won it every year since.

Noah Gragson was voted as the Most Popular Driver in the Xfinity Series. Hailie Deegan was voted as the Most Popular Driver in the Camping World Truck Series.

Kevin Harvick to make decision on future by Daytona in February

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Former Cup champion Kevin Harvick says he’ll know by Daytona in February his plans beyond 2023.

Harvick’s contract with Stewart-Haas Racing ends after the upcoming season. 

Harvick said Thursday before the NASCAR Awards that “it could go either way at this particular point” on what he’ll do, but he affirmed that “going into Daytona, I’ll know what I’m going to do.”

The Daytona 500 is scheduled for Feb. 19. Harvick anticipates making an announcement by then.

“We’re at a point where everybody needs to know what’s going on,” Harvick said. “There’s too many tentacles to everything that happens. Whether it’s the race team, driver management company, every element needs to know. It’s not fair to anybody to have to start the season not knowing.”

Harvick turns 47 on Dec. 8. Next season will be his 23rd in Cup. His debut came a week after Dale Earnhardt’s fatal crash in the 2001 Daytona 500. Harvick was selected by car owner Richard Childress to drive for Earnhardt’s team. 

Harvick has gone to win the 2014 Cup championship and 60 races at Richard Childress Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing. He’s tied with Kyle Busch for ninth on the all-time Cup wins list.

Harvick won two races last season. His victory last August at Michigan snapped a 65-race winless streak. He followed that by winning the next weekend at Richmond. 

Harvick has won at least two races in nine of the past 10 seasons. He has scored 41 of his 60 Cup wins since he turned 37 years old.

“Kevin, I think, is probably the No. 1 leader of the drivers, as he should be,” two-time Cup champion Joey Logano said Thursday. “He’s been around the longest. He’s very accomplished. He’s very smart. He’s been through the ups and downs. He’s lived it. There’s wisdom in experience. It’s great to hear his opinion on where we are as a sport.”

Harvick’s business interests include a management company that represents Cup drivers Ryan Preece, Harrison Burton and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., along with other athletes. Harvick also has worked as a broadcaster on NASCAR Xfinity races for Fox Sports, earning positive reviews. 

Harvick’s son Keelan, who is 10 years old, races and has competed in karting in Europe. 

“He’s got one more race in Italy … and then we’ll start all over again,” Harvick said of his son.

Harvick went overseas after the season finale at Phoenix to watch Keelan race.

“I think he’s definitely matured a little bit since he’s been making these trips,” Harvick said. “I think it’s important to have that culturing aspect of life to be comfortable to do things like that anywhere in the world.”

The NASCAR Awards program airs at 8 p.m. ET Saturday, Dec. 3 on Peacock. To sign up for Peacock, go here.

BJ McLeod, Live Fast team move to Chevrolet

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Driver/owner BJ McLeod and Live Fast Motorsports will race in Chevrolets beginning with the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Based in Mooresville, North Carolina, Live Fast has been a Ford team.

MORE: Where are they now? Scott Riggs races with son, Layne

Live Fast is owned by McLeod, Matt Tifft and Joe Falk. Jessica McLeod, BJ’s wife, is the team’s chief operating officer.

“Our team is excited to make this transition to Chevrolet,” BJ McLeod said in a statement released by the team. “Chevrolet Camaros have proven great success on the track, and Live Fast Motorsports is looking forward to becoming a part of this advance.”

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The team will use ECR engines.

McLeod had one top-10 finish in 29 starts in the Cup Series last season.