CONCORD, N.C. -- Rick Hendrick will be the owner of a reigning NASCAR Cup Series team for another year after Kyle Larson won at Phoenix Raceway and became the Cup Series champion on Sunday.

Larson’s triumphant victory gave Hendrick his 14th Cup title, a series record. He expected Larson to be a great addition to the Hendrick Motorsports stable when the latter signed on with the organization in October 2020, but he didn’t expect the newly resurrected No. 5 team to be such a dominant force this season.

"If you asked me did I think he could win 10 races and win the championship, I mean, I thought he’d be fast, I thought the team would be good, but I had no idea when the season started that we could win 18 races and he could win 10,” Hendrick said.

Hendrick credited the cohesiveness of Larson and crew chief Cliff Daniels, who also won his first Cup Series title on Sunday. Where Larson is more laid back and goes off the feel of the car, Daniels has an engineering mind that is quick to analyze and hone in on any issues with his race cars. That chemistry proved to be the recipe for success with the No. 5 team.

“I think we had a great baseline, but Cliff is a great leader,” Hendrick said. “If you look at what they’ve accomplished this year with all the wins and everybody won races, I think the table was almost set for (Larson). When he got in the car, his talent did the rest.

"These guys, the chemistry between the two, and if you watch this guy, he’s like rock solid. He doesn’t shake or get nervous, and I go whacko trying to watch what they do. I think sometimes you just hit on something, and we really hit on something with these two.”

Now Hendrick will celebrate the offseason as a champion and prepare for the excitement and changes 2022 will bring to the Cup Series. He expects all four teams to have the same commitment and energy to the track that they did this year and hopes that his young stable will be with him for years to come.

“I hope he retires with me,” Hendrick said. “I really like our lineup right now. I like just the chemistry between the four drivers. That’s important, that they get along. Of course they want to beat each other, but I’ve got a lot invested in William (Byron). I’ve got a lot invested in Chase (Elliott), Alex (Bowman) and Kyle. I hope we can keep the band together because we’ve got such a good core working together.

“I can’t emphasize enough; you don’t hear any friction between our guys and our crew chiefs. They really work well together.”