SONOMA, Calif. – Kyle Larson continues to lead the way in NASCAR Xfinity Series action this weekend at Sonoma Raceway. A day after topping practice, Larson drove the No. 17 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro to the pole position for Saturday’s race at the 1.99-mile road course in California.
Larson put down a lap of 78.387 seconds (91.393 mph) in the final round of qualifying to earn his sixth pole position in the series and first since last year’s race at Road America. The 30-year-old driver from Elk Grove, California, is racing close to home this weekend as the track is less than 100 miles from his hometown. Crew chief Kevin Meendering is atop the pit box this weekend for the Xfinity Series' first race at this venue.
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"It was really good," Larson said of his pole-winning lap. "I feel like I got through post areas really well. I felt like I maybe over slowed (turn) three some, maybe over slowed the entry of (turn) four. Other than that, I felt really good. They’ve done an amazing job on this car. Every time they bring the 17 out it is fast. I knew we were going to have a quick car. It’s up to the driver at this point to just put it all together. Hit my marks. Keep on track. If there is ever any weird strategy going on, don’t overreact.
"It’s been fun so far this weekend. Thanks to Kevin Meendering and everybody at HendrickCars.com and (team owner) Rick Hendrick too. I know he’s having a blast there in France right now. Hopefully, we can give him another good run today."
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Larson led the way in Friday’s practice session with a top mark of 79.255 seconds (90.392 mph). In his career, he has earned 14 victories in the Xfinity Series, including his most recent triumph at Darlington Raceway (with Kaulig Racing).
The Sonoma race marks the second start for the No. 17 HendrickCars.com Chevy. William Byron drove the car to a runner-up finish in March at Circuit of The Americas. Alex Bowman will be behind the wheel at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 19 and Larson will drive the car at Darlington on Sept. 2. Crew chief Greg Ives called the shots for the first race at COTA and will do so for the races at Watkins Glen and Darlington.
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In its history, Hendrick Motorsports has one Xfinity Series championship and 26 wins in the series. Its five races in 2022 and 2023 saw the organization come close to getting back to victory lane in the division for the first time since Tony Stewart took home the checkered flag at Daytona International Speedway in 2009. Those five events resulted in two poles, three runner-up finishes, four top-fives and 72 laps led.
The No. 17 car number carries a rich history and special significance to organization. NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip drove it to nine Cup Series wins for the team from 1987 to 1990, including in the 1989 DAYTONA 500. The car number was also driven by Ricky Hendrick in various races, including in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series in 2000 and 2001. This year, the HendrickCars.com paint scheme is again based on the No. 17 truck driven by Hendrick during his 2001 rookie season.
The 79-lap Xfinity Series race will take place at 8 p.m. ET with coverage on FS1, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).