February 26, 2024

Kyle Larson Closes Out 10-Win Season with Championship

For the second year in a row, the NASCAR Cup Series championship race took place at the 1-mile Phoenix Raceway.  This year, the four drivers eligible for the sport’s highest achievement were Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, and Martin Truex Jr.

LAP 1: Larson and Elliott started 1st and 2nd respectively after an impressive qualifying session put both Chevrolet drivers on the front row. Larson pulled ahead past the start line, but Elliott was able to pass him just one lap later.

CAUTION – LAP 7: While racing for 21st position, the #7 of Corey Lajoie made contact with the #23 of Bubba Wallace in Turn 4. Wallace spun into the outside wall and sustained damage that ended his day. Elliott remained in the lead following the restart.

CAUTION – LAP 15: Once again, Corey Lajoie brought out the caution when he tangled with the #47 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Most of the leaders opted to pit except for Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Ross Chastain, Austin Dillon, Kyle Larson, Michael McDowell, and Chris Buescher, who stayed out.

LAP 51: After several attempts and an intense, 5-way battle for the lead, Martin Truex Jr was able to pass Blaney and take the top spot in both the race and the championship standings.

STAGE 1 END – LAP 75: The stage ended with Martin Truex Jr in the lead. Kevin Harvick occupied the 2nd spot, while the rest of the Final 4 rounded out the Top 5 with Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Larson finishing 3rd, 4th, and 5th respectively. Elliott won the race off pit road and held onto the lead after the restart.

CAUTION – LAP 129: While competing in his final race, Quin Houff suffered a flat right-front tire and made heavy contact with the wall in Turn 3. Houff was out of the race early and does not have a ride for next season.

CAUTION – LAP 140: Ricky Stenhouse Jr brought out the 5th caution of the race after hitting the wall in Turn 3 with a flat left-front tire.

CAUTION – LAP 155: The #14 of Chase Briscoe also fell victim to a flat tire while racing in 12th place. Briscoe hit the wall hard in Turn 4 and was out of the race.

STAGE 2 END – LAP 190: Kyle Larson finished first in the stage, followed by Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, and Ryan Blaney, who completed the Top 5. Larson held onto the top spot on pit road and continued leading after the restart.

LAP 220: As Larson’s short-run speed began to fade, Elliott was able to catch up and pass his teammate for 1st.

CAUTION – LAP 249: Anthony Alfredo in the #38 brought out the caution when his right-front tire went flat and caused him to collide nose-first with the wall in Turn 2. Chase Elliott lost the lead on pit road to Martin Truex Jr.

CAUTION – LAP 284: The final yellow of the race came out for debris when the #13 of David Starr had a mechanical failure that caused his brake rotor to fall off the car. The leaders pitted one more time and Larson was able to score the top spot.

CHECKERED FLAG – LAP 312: Kyle Larson crossed the line 0.398 seconds ahead of Martin Truex Jr to claim his first Cup Series Championship and his 10th victory of the season – a fitting end to his dominant performance all year long.

RESULTS:

  1. Kyle Larson
  2. Martin Truex Jr
  3. Denny Hamlin
  4. Ryan Blaney
  5. Chase Elliott
  6. Aric Almirola
  7. Kyle Buch
  8. Kevin Harvick
  9. Christopher Bell
  10. Brad Keselowski
  11. Joey Logano
  12. Matt DiBenedetto
  13. Cole Custer
  14. Ross Chastain
  15. Austin Dillon
  16. Kurt Busch
  17. William Byron
  18. Alex Bowman
  19. Tyler Reddick
  20. Ryan Preece
  21. Daniel Suarez
  22. Erik Jones
  23. Ryan Newman
  24. Michael McDowell
  25. Chris Buescher
  26. Justin Haley
  27. BJ McLeod
  28. Cody Ware
  29. Joey Gase
  30. Josh Bilicki
  31. Garrett Smithley
  32. Corey Lajoie
  33. David Starr
  34. Anothny Alfredo
  35. Chase Briscoe
  36. Ricky Stenhouse Jr
  37. Quin Houff
  38. Timmy Hill
  39. Bubba Wallace