NASHVILLE – Kyle Larson and William Byron took the stage as part of the 2023 NASCAR Awards held at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday night.
Larson and Byron each recapped their seasons and touched on how close they came to winning the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series championship. The award show will air on Peacock on Sunday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. ET.
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"We had a successful season, led a lot of laps and won a handful of races, including the All-Star Race," Larson said. "We came up one spot short in the championship, but all in all it was a great year. Looking forward to getting back on track next year and trying to do a little bit better."
The 2023 season saw Larson win four races – the spring races at Richmond Raceway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway as well as the playoff races at Darlington Raceway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 31-year-old driver also picked up a dominating victory in the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Larson’s triumph at Las Vegas put him and the No. 5 HendrickCars.com team in the Championship 4 for the second time in three years. The 2021 Cup Series champion ultimately finished second in the standings, while leading the series in laps led (1,127) and tied for the series lead in top-five finishes (15).
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Byron enjoyed the best season of his Cup Series career to date with a third-place finish in the final standings. The driver, who turned 26 years old on Wednesday, posted career-high totals in wins (six), top-five finishes (15), top-10s (21), laps led (1,016), average finish (11.0) and stage wins (nine). He led all Cup Series drivers in 2023 in wins, top-10 finishes, average finish and stage wins, while tying teammate Larson for the lead in top-fives. Byron’s six wins came in the spring races at Las Vegas, Phoenix Raceway and Darlington. He also recorded summertime victories at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Watkins Glen International before his playoff triumph at Texas Motor Speedway. He reached the Championship 4 for the first time in his sixth Cup Series season.
"Just trusting our process," Byron said when asked what he attributed to his big season. "As a team, we gained confidence and we got a great group. We worked hard together and we have all the tools and resources from Mr. Hendrick and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports to do our jobs. We went out there and were able to capitalize on a lot of things. I enjoyed it, but at the same time hungry for a lot more."
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Chase Elliott took home the 2023 National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver Award presented by Hooters for the sixth consecutive season. The win marked the 18th time that a Hendrick Motorsports driver earned the honor (Dale Earnhardt Jr. won 10 times for the organization and Darrell Waltrip took it twice) and the 22nd time that an Elliott won the award (Bill Elliott holds the record with 16 Most Popular Driver Awards).
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The 2023 NASCAR Awards served as the official capper to the 75th anniversary season for the Cup Series. On-track action for the 2024 season will get underway on Sunday, Feb. 4, with the exhibition Clash at the Coliseum in Los Angeles.