CONCORD, N.C. -- This Sunday, No. 5 driver Kyle Larson and No. 5 crew chief Cliff Daniels will return to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, hoping to repeat their success from the team’s first win of the year at the Nevada track in March.
In the duo’s debut appearance at the 1.5-mile venue for Hendrick Motorsports, Larson took home the checkered flag and set an organization record of the fastest win in his rookie season with the Rick Hendrick-fielded team. That victory has provided the team with confidence as they prepare to return to the track for the second time this season.
“I am looking forward to Las Vegas because we have won there, number one, and it’s Las Vegas, so it’s fun,” Larson said. “Tarlton and Son is on the car and they have been a great supporter of mine for a long time now.”
Daniels also is looking forward to returning to Las Vegas since his victory with Larson there was his first as a crew chief. The 33 year old will lean on his race-winning notes for Sunday’s race but stated that the Las Vegas will have different challenges that weren’t present during the fourth race of the year. Larson was ranked eighth in the Cup Series standings when he headed to Las Vegas last time. Now he is leading all playoff drivers in points and has the added pressure of maintaining that top position.
“We’ve taken the same approach for pretty much all races this year – blinders on that week,” Daniels said. “Whatever that week is, we treat it like it’s a new week and study that track, study that race to try to make the right calls during the race to try to have the right setup in the car getting there and just make sure that we maximize our day. … We just try to keep the blinders on and stay focused on our game.”
In the March race at Las Vegas, Larson led 103 laps in the 267-lap event, including the final 30 of the race. Since then, he and the No. 5 team have secured five more points-paying wins and currently have 30 more playoff points than the second-place driver.
“(We are all) absolutely leaning on each other for Vegas and all studying back up on what we had in the spring – how to take what was good and still make it better,” Daniels said. “Hopefully, we’ve all gotten good stuff going there this weekend. I’ve got confidence in the people on our team and in all the teams working together in the company to put a good product out there. We’ve just got to dig in and make it happen.”
Tune in this Sunday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN to see Larson, Daniels and the rest of the Hendrick Motorsports drivers head to Sin City for the first playoff race in the Round of 12.