Victory in Las Vegas makes Kyle Larson first driver to reach NASCAR Cup Series final four

AP photo by Steve Marcus / Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Larson celebrates in victory lane at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after winning Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race. The win made Larson the first driver to secure championship eligibility for the Nov. 5 season finale at Phoenix Raceway.

LAS VEGAS — Kyle Larson made a spectacular midrace save, got a lightning-fast final pit stop from his Hendrick Motorsports crew, then held off Christopher Bell at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway finish line to become the first driver to secure championship eligibility for the NASCAR Cup Series finale in three weeks.

The 2021 season champion earned the first of four spots in the Nov. 5 showdown at Phoenix Raceway with his win in Sunday’s opening race of the round of eight in the Cup Series playoffs.

“Glad we don’t need to stress in the last two races,” said Larson, who is the reigning winner at the circuit’s next stop, Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The final elimination race is Oct. 29 at Martinsville Speedway. A victory in either of those races for a playoff driver makes him eligible to race for the title at Phoenix, with points also coming into play for the seven current contenders outside of Larson.




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