AVONDALE, Ariz. – The No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team was foiled in its bid to win back-to-back owner’s championships and three straight owner’s crowns for team owner Rick Hendrick.
Driver Kyle Larson and the No. 5 team finished third in the final owner standings. The No. 22 team of Team Penske and driver Joey Logano took home both the driver and owner’s championship by winning the race at Phoenix Raceway. The No. 1 team of Trackhouse Racing and driver Ross Chastain placed second in the final owner standings. The No. 20 team of Joe Gibbs Racing of driver Christopher Bell placed fourth in the final standings. In the race, Chastain finished third and Bell rounded out the top 10.
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Larson and the No. 5 team ran in the top four for all of the opening stage. Over the first half of stage two, he held down a spot in the top three. The 125-lap stage turned into one where drivers were trying to save fuel and complete the stage on just one stop that came about 25 laps into the segment. In an effort to conserve fuel, Larson would fall back to eighth at the end of stage two. From there, the No. 5 got mired in traffic around the back of the top 10 and finished the race in ninth.
"The HendrickCars.com Chevrolet was good all day, but whether it was some issues on restarts or on pit stops that I made stopping in the box, it just didn't work out for us today," Larson said. "But we've got a great team and we can't wait to start working on next year."
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The 30-year-old Elk Grove, California, native was eliminated in the Round of 12 of the driver's portion of playoffs. However, the HendrickCars.com team remained in contention for the owner’s championship because one of the teams that advanced to the Round of 8 in the driver’s championship had not won a race this season at the time. That meant that team – the No. 12 Team Penske squad - was not part of the owner’s championship battle since there were 16 regular-season winners and that saw the No. 5 advance in the owner’s bracket.
Despite being unable to defend his driver’s championship, Larson and the No. 5 team had a solid season. Led by crew chief Cliff Daniels, the squad scored three victories: Auto Club Speedway (in February), Watkins Glen International (in August) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (in October). The win at Homestead came after Larson’s elimination from the driver’s championship but advanced the team to owner's Championship 4.
The driver’s and owner’s titles have been split only two times in Cup Series history. Those instances occurred in 1954 and 1963.
Hendrick Motorsports’ 14 owner’s championship triumphs are the most among all teams and are divided up among four car numbers: No. 48 with seven, No. 24 with four, No. 5 with two and the No. 9 with one.
PHOTOS: See every Cup Series championship won by Hendrick Motorsports