DARLINGTON, S.C. – Kyle Larson will line up 12th in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway.
Larson’s lap of 163.310 mph in the No. 17 HendrickCars.com Chevy puts him in row six for the 147-lap race. He was the second car to take time during the single-lap qualifying session. In practice, Larson placed 14th, but had the third-best overall average in the 20-minute session.
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In six Xfinity Series starts at Darlington, Larson has one win, three top-five finishes, six top-10s and an average finish of 4.8. The victory came in May when he drove the No. 10 Chevrolet (for Kaulig Racing) and beat John Hunter Nemechek in one of the best finishes of the season. Last September, Larson nearly won at the 1.366-mile track in the No. 17 Chevy. He rallied from two laps down to hold the lead coming to the white flag, but last-lap contact saw him finish fifth. In his Xfinity career, Larson has 14 wins.
Larson’s Xfinity Series start comes the day before the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs begin at the South Carolina track. On the Cup side of things, Darlington has been his best playoff track with five top-five finishes, seven top-10s, 715 laps led and an average finish of 10.2 in 11 starts. In 2021, he tallied two runner-up finishes there and was battling for the lead in the 2023 spring race before late-race contact took him out of contention.
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Thus far in 2023, the No. 17 HendrickCars.com Xfinity entry has come oh-so-close to victory lane. William Byron earned a runner-up finish at Circuit of The Americas in March, Larson finished third at Sonoma Raceway in June and Chase Elliott came home third at Pocono Raceway in July. Alex Bowman placed ninth at Watkins Glen International in August.
Greg Ives is the crew chief for the effort. This will be his first race with Larson as Kevin Meendering served as the crew chief in Sonoma, while Ives was with the Garage 56 team in France for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The No. 17 car number carries a rich history and special significance to the 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.
In its history, Hendrick Motorsports has won one Xfinity Series championship and earned 26 wins in the series. The organization's four races in 2022 marked its first action in the series since 2009 when Tony Stewart took home the checkered flag at Daytona International Speedway. In its eight combined races in the series in 2022 and 2023, the No. 17 team has three poles, three runner-up finishes, six top-fives, seven top-10s and 138 laps led.
Tune in to watch Larson and the No. 17 team compete at the track "Too Tough to Tame," on Saturday, Sept. 2, at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network, NBC Sports App, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.