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Published 9/5/23

Kyle Larson Scores Southern 500 Triumph

WORDS: THE BLOCK

PHOTOS: CHEVROLET

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After a topsy-turvy evening at Darlington Raceway, Team Chevy driver Kyle Larson emerged victorious in the crown-jewel Cook Out Southern 500 on Sunday at the track “Too Tough to Tame.”

Chevrolet driver Kyle Larson on his way to winning the prestigious Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Sunday evening.

Larson began the weekend by qualifying his Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Camaro ZL1 18th at the historic 1.366-mile, egg-shaped track in Darlington, South Carolina. However, by the end of the race’s first stage he had advanced to the third position.

Larson remained near the front of the running order for the remainder of the event, making time on the extreme high side of the track just inches from the wall. The Cliff Daniels-led team made steady adjustments throughout the 500-mile affair as day turned to night.

Larson finally took the lead for the first time on Lap 313 when the fortuitous timing of a yellow flag allowed him to get on pit road just before it closed.

Larson celebrates with his Hendrick Motorsports crew on the Darlington frontstretch.

He went on to lead the race’s final 55 circuits and take the win by 0.447 seconds in the grueling race that saw multiple contenders fall by the wayside. The victory was Larson’s first NASCAR Cup Series win at Darlington, his third points-paying triumph of the season and the 22nd of his career. All have come behind the wheel of a Chevrolet.

Not only did the win advance Larson to the Round of 12 in the NASCAR playoffs, it also represented the 299th Cup Series victory for Hendrick Motorsports and the 500th for the Hendrick engine shop.

“Just proud of the team,” said Larson, the 2021 Cup Series champion. “Proud of Rick Hendrick, Jeff Gordon, Jeff Andrews, Chad Knaus, everybody at Hendrick engine shop. Five hundred wins ... that's incredible, so congratulations to each and every one of you at the shop for all your hard work. What a great way to start the playoffs and hopefully we can keep it going.”

The Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 team in Darlington Raceway Victory Lane.

Larson’s win was the manufacturer-leading 14th of the season for Chevrolet and extended the Bowtie’s overall lead to 847 NASCAR Premier Series victories. It was also Chevrolet’s 44th all-time win at Darlington, another manufacturer record.

In addition to Larson’s win, Chevrolet took five of the top-10 finishing positions at Darlington, representing three different organizations. William Byron came home fourth, Ross Chastain took fifth, Chase Elliott was eighth and Erik Jones finished 10th.

Larson was one of five Team Chevy drivers to record a top-10 result at Darlington.

As the playoffs get underway, Kyle Larson and the No. 5 team look poised to make another championship run. A crown-jewel victory is a good way to start.

Be sure to keep watching The BLOCK for more on Chevrolet Performance and all motorsports disciplines.

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