CONCORD, N.C. - Coming off of a record-breaking season in 2021, Larson and the No. 5 HendrickCars.com team entered the 2022 season with the most momentum in the garage. While their quest for back-to-back championships eventually fell short, the year still included several notable achievements for the team.
The year got off to a near perfect start for the group. After taking pole position at the DAYTONA 500 for the first time in his career, Larson won the second race of the season at Auto Club Speedway. The driver of the No. 5 followed the victory up with a runner-up finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway the next week.
PHOTOS: Recap the 2022 season for Hendrick Motorsports in photos
From April 4 to May 15, Larson finished inside the top-five spots four times. Those seven races saw him post a best finish of second, finishing just behind eventual race winner Kurt Busch at Kansas Speedway.
While he would not find victory lane again until the race at Watkins Glen International in August, Larson enjoyed a solid regular season with 10 top-five finishes and 13 top-10s. He entered the opening race of the playoffs fourth in the championship standings.
In an effort to gain more track time, Larson competed in two races with Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 17 entry (Road America and Darlington Raceway) as well as a single race with JR Motorsports at Watkins Glen. The event in upstate New York saw Larson take the checked flag on Saturday afternoon - the first of two wins that weekend as the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 also made a trip to victory lane following the Cup Series’ main event.
After advancing out of the opening round of the playoffs, a mistake late in the Round of 12 cutoff race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL prematurely ended their bid for another driver’s championship. However, the No. 5 car managed to remain in the owner’s championship since a driver that was winless remained in the driver's championship hunt and that car number was not in the playoffs for the owner's championship.
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Larson put on a dominating performance at Homestead-Miami Speedway. That punched the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1's ticket to the owner's Championship 4. Although the No. 5 entry’s bid for a second consecutive owner’s title fell short at Phoenix Raceway, the team finished third in the owner standings.
Outside of racing on Sundays, Larson gave back to the community through his work with the Urban Youth Racing School at the Grand Prix of Philadelphia in July. Larson, his Hendrick Motorsports teammates and several other Cup Series competitors made the trip up to Pennsylvania to participate in the event benefiting the UYRS. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to exposing inner-city youth from the ages of 8 to 18 to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) career opportunities in the motor sports industry through training, education and on-track driving experience.
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2022 SEASON STATS
Top fives: 13
Top 10s: 19
Laps led: 635
Average finish: 14.08
Standings position: Seventh
WINNING THE POLE ON THE BEACH: Larson stormed to pole position for the DAYTONA 500 with a speed of 181.159 mph. Starting second was his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman, securing a front-row lockdown for the organization.
CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’: It only took the 2021 Cup Series champion two races to return to victory lane. Larson led 28 laps on his way to his first win in 2022, this one coming in his home state of California.
REBOUND AT DARLINGTON: The playoff opener at Darlington Raceway was a grind-it affair that tested Larson and the No. 5 team's mettle. After engine trouble in stage one saw him go multiple laps down, Larson utilized the flurry of cautions in the final stage to rebound and finish 12th on the night. The performance kept the team’s championship hopes alive as Larson was eventually able to advance to the Round of 12.
SIGNING THE DEAL: Ahead of the Round of 16 cutoff race at Bristol Motor Speedway, the 30-year-old driver and sponsor HendrickCars.com inked concurrent three-year extensions to keep both in the fold through the 2026 season.
DOMINATION IN MIAMI: Although Larson no longer remained in the hunt for the driver’s championship, the No. 5 entry was still in the mix for the owner’s title. With everything to race for, Larson dominated the second race in the Round of 8 by leading 199 laps and winning both stages as well as the race. The victory punched the No. 5 entry's ticket to the owner's Championship 4.
With the ’23 season right around the corner, Larson and crew chief Cliff Daniels will look to continue their winning ways and build off of their momentum from the last three races of the season. In the final three events of 2022, Larson’s recorded an average finish of 4.0 with one victory and one runner-up finish - a career-best result at Martinsville Speedway.
While the year was not as successful as their championship season, Larson and Daniels have accounted for 13 victories together in two seasons, which is the fourth-best among active driver/crew chief pairings. Larson will head to Daytona Beach in search of another pole position as well as his first career victory on a superspeedway-style track. The Elk Grove, California, native is poised to make another deep playoff run.