Kyle Larson earns 10th win of season to claim NASCAR Cup title originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
A dominant season by Kyle Larson ended with a Cup.
Larson capped a 10-win season by winning the finale at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday to capture his first NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Larson edged fellow championship-contender Martin Truex Jr. by 0.398 seconds to take the Cup and become the first driver with double-digit victories in a season since Jimmie Johnson in 2007.
As for the other Championship 4 contenders, Denny Hamlin finished third and Chase Elliott took fifth, behind Ryan Blaney.
Larson credited his pit crew for the victory after he won the race off pit road following a caution on Lap 283. Larson emerged from the 11.8-second pit stop and jumped from fourth to first as he entered the final restart. He held off his fellow contenders over the home stretch of the 312-lap race.
"Without my pit crew on that last stop, we would not be standing right here," Larson said. "So, they are the true winners of this race, they are true champions. I'm just blessed to be a part of this group."
Larson's best finish prior to this season came in 2019 when he finished sixth.
Larson is in his first season with Hendrick Motorsports after being fired by Chip Ganassi Racing during the 2020 season for saying a racial slur while participating in an online racing game. After completing sensitivity training, doing volunteer work, and competing in sprint car races, Larson's seven-month banishment came to an end in October when he was hired by Hendrick.
He closed the season with 20 top-five finishes and 26 top-10 finishes, winning four of the last five playoff races to claim the Cup.
"I cannot believe it," Larson said. "I didn't even think I'd be racing a Cup car a year and a half ago and to win a championship is crazy."