Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Larson holds an important opportunity in his run for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series championship. Should the 2021 champ win the title Sunday, he’d join two-time champions Kyle Busch and Joey Logano as the only active drivers with multiple titles.
“I think you can make a case for all of us,” Larson said of his title competitors. “And I think whoever wins Sunday is a very deserving champion.”
At only 31-years old, the Californian is the veteran of this year’s championship-eligible quartet. With four wins – five if you include the All-Star Race – Larson has topped the 1,000-miles led mark for the third time in his career. His 1,127 total laps led is most in the series. He has 14 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes in his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and along with Denny Hamlin leads the series with eight stage wins on the season.
Phoenix has been a particularly good place for him. His championship win in 2021 came from pole position, and he led the most laps (107 of 321) in the race. He has 11 top-10 finishes in 18 starts at the one-mile track and led 201 laps this Spring, only to finish fourth in a race won by teammate William Byron.
Even with his success at Phoenix – and success in general – the 23-time NASCAR Cup Series winner refuses to consider himself the odds-on favorite this weekend – even as the most experienced and winningest NASCAR Cup Series driver among the four.
“I don’t view us as having a leg up on the others because we have a championship at all,” Larson said. “That was a couple years ago, totally different race car, pit stops are different, restarts are different, the race is different. It’s all different. All of us have a fairly equal shot.
“I came into the Championship 4 a couple years ago with no experience in the round of four and really had been in the Round of 8 only one other time before then. It does not make a difference. If your team executes right, any of us could win.”
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