Kyle Larson’s best career NASCAR Cup Series Season continues with another NASCAR Playoffs win.
Yesterday (10/24/21) was the second race in the Round of Eight in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Kyle Larson started the race knowing he was the only driver locked in the Championship Four after winning the first race of the round in Texas a week earlier.
Larson got to start the Hollywood Casino 400 from the pole position. He looked as though he would be a contender for the race as he was the leader for the majority of stage one of the race. He was also the winner in stage one.
In stage two of the race, Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) teammates Chase Elliott and William Byron also served notice that they had very fast cars that could win as well. Byron was able to capture the win in stage two.
Many of the Playoff drivers in the Round of Eight had issues during the race at Kansas Speedway. That put them in very bad positions in the race and the goal of reaching the Championship Four. Kyle Larson even found himself making contact with the wall and putting his chance to win in question at one point.
However, Larson was able to battle back from that issue and lead a race high 130 laps in the 267 lap race. Even with HMS teammate Chase Elliott charging toward him in the final alps of the race, Larson was able to hold the lead.
Kyle Larson won the race making it his third straight win. This was the second time in 2021 that he scored three wins in a row. The last time a driver won three consecutive races twice in a single season was in 1987. The legendary Dale Earnhardt Sr. was the driver that achieved it that year. Dale Sr. also won the Championship that year (his third of seven championship titles).
This was Larson’s fourth win the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. It was his ninth points race win in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Season. It was his tenth win overall counting his NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Win.
Chase Elliott (Round of Eight driver) held on to score the runner-up finish. Non-Playoff drivers Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch came across the finish line next in third and fourth places respectively. Denny Hamlin (Round of Eight driver) rounded out the top five. See the complete race results for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway here.
Next week is the elimination race in the Round of Eight. The four Playoff drivers with the least points and no win in this round will be eliminated from championship contention. The remaining four will race in the winner-takes-all, one race Championship Round at Phoenix Raceway November 7th. See the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Standings here.
Making that final race with a chance for the title will not be easy for anybody but Kyle Larson. Larson is locked in the Championship Four now with TWO wins in the Round of Eight. The final three Championship Four drivers will be decided in the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Halloween, Sunday, October 31st. With just 40 points separating six of those drivers racing for those three spots, none of them has an easy road when NASCAR goes “Short Trackin'” in the Playoffs.
By: Buck Stevens