After spending the previous season on the sidelines, Kyle Larson made the most of his second opportunity with the powerhouse organization of Hendrick Motorsports and emerged as the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion after winning the season finale race at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
The Elk Grove, California, native qualified on the pole position Saturday and led seven times during the race for a total of 107 laps, including the final 28. He beat Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott to win his first Cup title in his first full-time season at Hendrick Motorsports along with claiming his season-high 10th race victory in the desert state.
Qualifying occurred on Saturday, November 6, to determine the starting lineup and Kyle Larson, a nine-time race winner vying for his first Cup title, won the pole position with a pole-winning lap at 137.847 mph. Joining him on the front row was Chase Elliott, Larson’s teammate and the reigning series champion who qualified with an initial fast speed at 136.939 mph.
With Larson and Elliott starting on the front row, Denny Hamlin, vying for his first Cup title, lined up in sixth place to contend for his first Cup title while teammate Martin Truex Jr., going for his second title, rolled off the starting grid in 12th place.
Larson, Hamlin and Truex entered the finale without their regular car chiefs after their respective cars failed the pre-race technical inspection process twice, but they all retained their starting spots for the main event. On the other hand, Josh Bilicki and Timmy Hill started the finale at the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments to their cars.
When the green flag waved and the finale commenced, Larson briefly broke ahead through the frontstretch, but Elliott fought back entering the backstretch. As both Hendrick Motorsports teammates dueled coming back to the start/finish line, Larson led the first lap. Elliott, however, had other plans as he rocketed to the lead entering Turns 1 and 2 during the following lap.
By the fifth lap, Elliott’s No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was ahead by half a second over teammate Larson’s No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE.
Two laps later, the first caution of the finale flew when Bubba Wallace got hit by Corey LaJoie, spun and backed into the Turn 3 outside wall with extensive rear-end damage. After exiting his damaged No. 23 DoorDash Toyota Camry, Wallace expressed his displease to LaJoie before making the mandatory trip to the infield care center.
Under caution, Larson elected to pit for four fresh tires and fuel while the rest of the field led by Elliott remained on the track.
When the finale restarted under green on Lap 11, Elliott retained the lead ahead of the field, which fanned out through the frontstretch. Behind, Ryan Blaney was in second followed by Denny Hamlin, William Byron and Kevin Harvick while Kurt Busch challenged Christopher Bell for sixth. Truex, meanwhile, was situated in the top 10.
Four laps later, the caution returned when LaJoie made contact with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. entering Turn 3, which sent both competitors spinning towards the outside wall as LaJoie sustained heavy rear-end damage.
Under caution, a majority of the field led by Elliott pitted while the rest led by Blaney remained on the track.
The finale restarted under green on Lap 20 as Blaney and teammate Brad Keselowski occupied the front row. At the start, Blaney retained the lead while Larson, who moved back into the top 10, made a bold move through the dogleg to move up to fourth ahead of Michael McDowell.
With the field continuing to fan out and jostle for positions, Larson settled in fourth behind Blaney, Ross Chastain and Keselowski while Elliott moved up to sixth. Truex was in eighth in between Chris Buescher and Kevin Harvick while Hamlin was in the top 15.
By Lap 25, Blaney was the race leader and Larson was the championship leader in second place just ahead of teammate Elliott, Chastain and Keselowski. Meanwhile, Truex was in sixth while Hamlin was mired back in 12th.
Through the first 30 laps of the finale, Blaney was leading by more than a second over Larson and Elliott, both of whom continued to challenge hard against one another for the championship lead early. Harvick was in fourth, trailing the lead by two seconds, while Truex remained in fifth. Keselowski, Byron, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and Hamlin were in the top 10.
Five laps later, Harvick, who is pursuing his first victory of the season, moved up to second place on the track, thus dropping Larson and Elliott to third and fourth while Truex continued to run in fifth.
Another five laps later, Harvick, who cut Blaney’s advantage to a tenth of a second, started to challenge Blaney for the top spot around every turns and straightaway in his No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang. Behind, Elliott moved up to third while Truex challenged and passed Larson for fourth.
Through the first 50 laps of the event, a three-wide battle for the lead ensued between Harvick, Blaney and Truex through the frontstretch, with the latter gaining ground and catching the top-two leaders. Behind, teammates Elliott and Larson were in fourth and fifth while Hamlin moved up to sixth, thus placing all four Cup championship contenders in the top six.
Following their intensive battle at the front, Truex emerged with the lead on Lap 51 over Harvick, who led Lap 49, and Blaney, who led Laps 17-48 and 50.
By Lap 60, Truex extended his advantage to more than a second over Harvick. Behind, Elliott retained third place ahead of teammate Larson while Hamlin moved up to fifth place ahead of Blaney.
Ten laps later, Truex continued to extend his advantage to more than three seconds over Harvick while Elliott, Hamlin and Larson were situated in third, fourth and fifth. Behind, Blaney was trying to fend off Cole Custer and William Byron for sixth while Kurt Busch and Matt DiBenedetto were in the top 10.
When the first stage concluded on Lap 75, Truex, who won at Phoenix in March, received the early upper hand in his quest for his second Cup title by motoring his No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry to his sixth stage victory of the season. Harvick settled in second followed by Elliott, Hamlin, Larson, Byron, Custer, Blaney, Kurt Busch and DiBenedetto.
Under the stage break, the leaders pitted and Elliott emerged with the top spot following a stellar work from his pit crew. Truex exited in second followed by Harvick, Hamlin, Larson and Kurt Busch.
The second stage started on Lap 83. At the start and with the field fanning out through the dogleg, Elliott retained the lead by a narrow margin over Truex. The following lap, Larson made a bold three-wide move in between Hamlin and Harvick to move up to third.
By Lap 85, the final four championship contenders were running first through fourth and separated by less than a second as Elliott was leading ahead of Truex, Larson and Hamlin.
Five laps later, the four title contenders were separated by more than a second as Elliott stabilized himself in the lead by nearly six-tenths of a second over Truex. Third-place Larson trailed by more than a second while fourth-place Hamlin trailed by one-and-a-half seconds as Harvick started to close in on Hamlin.
Through the first 100 laps of the finale, Elliott continued to lead by more than a second over Truex, two seconds over teammate Larson and more than three seconds over Harvick, who overtook Hamlin a few laps earlier. Byron, Blaney, DiBenedetto, Kyle Busch and Aric Almiorla were in the top 10 while Kurt Busch, rookie Chase Briscoe, Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer and Christopher Bell were in the top 15. Meanwhile, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Alex Bowman were mired in the top 20 while Daniel Suarez and Ryan Newman were in 21st and 22nd.
Twenty laps later, Truex and Elliott battled for the top spot, with the former succeeding during the following lap. Harvick was in third, trailing by more than two seconds, while Larson and Hamlin remained in the top five.
On Lap 129, the caution flew when Quin Houff lost a right-front tire and smacked the outside wall hard right-side in Turn 3. The incident was enough to end Houff’s run in the garage and in the final NASCAR event for Starcom Racing.
Under caution, the leaders returned to pit road and Elliott exited with the lead followed by Harvick, Larson, Truex and Byron while Hamlin fell back to ninth.
When the finale restarted under green on Lap 135, Elliott retained the lead on the outside lane while teammate Larson challenged and overtook Harvick for second place through the first two turns. Behind, Byron closed in on Harvick for third as Truex joined the party.
Five laps later, the caution returned when Stenhouse hammered the outside wall in Turn 3 after blowing a left-front tire.
Another five laps later, the race restarted under green. At the start and with the field fanning out through the dogleg and entering the first two turns, Elliott just managed to clear Harvick through the backstretch as Larson made another strong move to the outside of Harvick to take second. The following lap, Truex overtook Harvick for third as Harvick was being pressured by Blaney for more.
Through the first 150 laps of the event, Elliott was leading by a second over teammate Larson while Truex was in third and slowly catching Larson for more. Harvick, Blaney, DiBenedetto and Byron were running fourth through seventh while Hamlin was mired in eighth in front of Keselowski and Aric Almirola.
By Lap 155, the caution flew when rookie Chase Briscoe, who cut down a left-rear tire, got bumped by Kyle Busch, spun and wrecked into the Turn 3 outside wall.
Under caution, nearly all of the lead lap cars pitted as Larson exited his pit stall with the lead followed by Elliott, Truex, Harvick and Hamlin. Back on the track, however, Tyler Reddick, Kurt Busch, Alex Bowman and Daniel Suarez remained on the track.
With 30 laps remaining in the second stage, Larson, who restarted in the second row, used the dogleg to thunder past Kurt Busch and Reddick to reassume the lead as the field fanned out through the frontstretch. Behind, Elliott also muscled his way to second behind teammate Larson’s No. 5 Chevrolet as Truex and Hamlin also charged their way to the front.
A few laps later, the final four title contenders were back running first through fourth as Larson continued to lead by a narrow margin over teammate Elliott.
By Lap 175, title rivals Larson, Elliott, Hamlin and Truex remained in first through fourth, separated by two seconds, as Larson continued to lead ahead of teammate Elliott while Hamlin started to make his charge to the front after struggling early. Blaney settled in fifth ahead of Harvick, Logano, Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Byron.
When the second stage concluded on Lap 190, Larson took his stance in his quest to achieve his first Cup title by capturing his season-high 18th stage victory of the season. Teammate Elliott settled in second followed by Hamlin and Truex while Blaney ended up in fifth, trailing by more than three seconds. Harvick, Keselowski, Logano, Kyle Busch and Byron were scored in the top 10.
Under the stage break, the leaders pitted and Larson exited his pit stall with the lead ahead of teammate Elliott, Hamlin, Truex and Kyle Busch.
With 115 laps remaining, the final stage commenced. At the start, Larson peeked ahead and cleared teammate Elliott through the frontstretch and the first two turns. While Hamlin tucked in third behind the two Hendrick competitors, Truex battled Harvick for fourth place as Blaney and Kyle Busch kept both Cup champions within their sights.
Down to the final 100 laps of the finale, Larson stabilized himself with the lead by four-tenths of a second over teammate Elliott. Hamlin was in third, trailing by more than two seconds, while Truex was mired back in fourth, three seconds behind. Harvick and Blaney were in fifth and sixth as both closed in on Truex for more while Kyle Busch, Keselowski, Logano and Almirola were in the top 10.
Under the final 80 laps, the battle for the championship between two Hendrick Motorsports teammates ignited as Elliott, who tracked and methodically caught Larson, overtook Larson with 76 laps remaining. Though Elliott emerged with the lead, he had teammate Larson within close sights of his rearview mirror.
Near the final 70 laps of the event, Keselowski surrendered his spot in the top 10 to short pit under green.
Back on the track, Elliott was leading by more than half a second over teammate Larson as Hamlin, who was in third, started to close in on the two leaders in the fight for the championship. Truex, meanwhile, was in fourth and trailing by more than two seconds.
With 66 laps remaining, Hamlin was up into second place after overtaking Larson, all while Elliott continued to lead by nearly a second.
Just then and while a few more competitors including Truex pitted under green, the caution flew when rookie Anthony Alfredo went dead straight and pounded the outside wall in Turn 2. The caution served as a huge moment for Truex, who completed his service and remained on the lead lap.
Under caution, the lead lap competitors led by Elliott pitted and Hamlin exited in first followed by Elliott, Logano, Larson and Almirola. Back on the track, however, Truex, who pitted prior to the caution, cycled to the lead followed by Blaney.
With 58 laps remaining, the race restarted under green. At the start, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Truex and Hamlin dueled through the frontstretch until Truex cleared Hamlin entering the backstretch. Behind Blaney was in third followed by Elliott, Logano and Larson as the field jostled for positions.
Five laps later, the final four title contenders were back running first through fourth as Joe Gibbs Racing’s Truex and Hamlin led Hendrick Motorsports’ Elliott and Larson. In the midst of this, Elliott challenged Hamlin for the runner-up spot.
Down to the final 50 laps of the event, Truex was leading by nearly a second over Hamlin and Elliott, both of whom continued to battle for second place, while Larson trailed by more than a second. Blaney was in fifth followed by Logano, Harvick, Almirola, Ross Chastain and Christopher Bell.
Ten laps later, Truex stabilized himself with the lead by nine-tenths of a second over teammate Hamlin while third-place Elliott, who was losing ground to Hamlin, was nearly two seconds behind, and fourth-place Larson, who was gaining no ground on the leaders, was behind by more than three seconds.
Just then, the caution flew with 30 laps remaining due to debris reported in Turn 3 and coming off of David Starr’s car, with the driver reporting a broken rotor off of his car.
Under caution, the leaders pitted for four fresh tires and fuel. At the end of the services, Larson’s crew under the leadership of sophomore crew chief Cliff Daniels got the job done as he exited with the top spot followed by Hamlin, Truex and Elliott.
Down to the final 24 laps of the finale, the field restarted under green. At the start, Larson rocketed away with the lead as Truex also muscled his way into second place on the outside lane. Behind, Hamlin and Elliott battled for third.
With 20 laps remaining, Larson was leading by more than two-tenths of a second over Truex while Hamlin and Elliott persevered in his battle with Hamlin for third place.
Five laps later, Larson remained as the leader by four-tenths of a second over Truex as the battle for the win and the championship continued to ignite between both. Meanwhile, third-place Elliott trailed by more than a second while Hamlin was mired in fourth and more than a second behind.
Down to the final 10 laps of the finale, Larson slightly increased his advantage to seven-tenths of a second over Truex while Elliott and Hamlin continued to battle for third ahead of Blaney.
With five laps remaining, Larson continued to lead by more than eight-tenths of a second over Truex. Behind, Hamlin moved his No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry to third while Elliott was mired back in fourth and losing ground, trailing by less than three seconds, as Blaney started to challenge Elliott for more.
When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Larson was still leading by three-tenths of a second over Truex, who nearly got into the left-rear quarter panel of Larson’s No. 5 Chevrolet entering the backstretch earlier, lost ground and was trying to narrow the deficit. While Truex got as close as he could, Larson kept himself at the front and was able to hold off the Joe Gibbs Racing driver through the final turn as he came back to the frontstretch and took the checkered flag to win both the race and the championship.
With the victory, Larson became the 35th different competitor to achieve a Cup Series championship and the fifth to do so while driving for Hendrick Motorsports as HMS, which won 17 of 36 races in this year’s schedule, achieved its 14th Cup title. Larson also joined Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch as the only Cup regular season champions to go on to win the overall season championship.
By claiming his season-high 10th victory of the 2021 Cup season and notching his 16th Cup career victory, Larson became the first championship-winning competitor to achieve double-digit victories in a championship-winning season, the last of which was made by Jimmie Johnson in 2007 when he beat teammate Jeff Gordon. Larson also racked up a career-high 20 top-five results, 26 top-10 results, nearly 2,600 laps led and a personal-best average-finishing result of 9.1.
This marked the eighth consecutive season where a competitor won the race in order to win the Cup championship in the current elimination-style Playoff format.
The championship also completed Larson’s redemptive road back to the top level in NASCAR after being released by Chip Ganassi Racing and indefinitely suspended from the sport for using a racial slur during a live iRacing event a year ago. Spending the majority of 2020 racing in sprint cars and the dirt, Larson was able to complete NASCAR’s Road to Recovery program and be reinstated prior to the 2021 season. By then, he was given an opportunity to reinstate his career when Hendrick Motorsports acquired him in October 2020, 13 months prior to Larson’s title.
“I cannot believe it,” Larson, who celebrated on the frontstretch and praised his pit crew, said on NBC. “I didn’t even think I’d be racing a Cup car a year-and-a-half ago. To win a championship is crazy. I’ve got to say first off thank you so much to Rick Hendrick, Hendrickcars.com, Jeff Gordon, NASCAR, every single one of my supporters in the stands watching at home, my family. I’ve got so many of my friends and family here. My parents, my sister, my wife and kids. [Son] Owen had been giving me crap a month-and-a-half ago about how I can’t win a Cup race when he’s there, so that added a lot of pressure. There were so many points in this race where I did not think we were going to win. Without my pit crew on that last stop, we would not be standing right here. They are the true winners of this race. They are true champions. I’m just blessed to be a part of this group. Every single man or person, man and woman at Hendrick Motorsports, this win is for all of us and every one of you. This is unbelievable. I’m speechless.”
“This event was crazy,” Larson added. “This format is wild. I’m glad we were able to get it done. And yes, a big shout-out to my parents for getting me involved in racing, my dad for everything he did, building my go-karts when I was young to get me playing around, my mom for videotaping every lap I ever raced and giving me something I could look at and study and get better. Gosh, so cool. I cannot believe it.”
Larson’s championship was one that received high praises from Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon, both of whom played instrumental roles in signing Larson for the 2021 season.
“I’ll tell you, we’ve always known he’s a wheelman, and he works so hard off the track,” Hendrick said on the championship stage. “Man, I just — he deserves this, and what a year, man. I never thought I was taking a risk [by signing Larson]. I mean, I know how good he is. I’m just fortunate we were able to get him, and man, what a wheelman he is. Ten races won, 11 with the All-Star Race. It’s unbelievable.”
“Unbelievable,” Gordon added. “By the whole team and Kyle Larson is a great talent. You give him a great race car and great race teams, and he does amazing things. We’ve seen it before, we’ve seen it in other forms of racing. He and this pit crew and this team, they did it all year long. They got to this point. What a battle. I just want to say Phoenix Raceway, NASCAR and all these fans that came out here today, this is what a championship weekend is supposed to feel like, and that was a championship battle. Great competitors and a great champion here.”
In addition, crew chief Cliff Daniels, who debuted atop the pit box midway into the 2019 season with Jimmie Johnson, achieved his first championship as a crew chief while the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet team achieved its first title since the 1996 season with Terry Labonte.
“It’s an amazing moment,” Daniels said. “It’s been such a blessing just to be a part of this team, to be a part of Hendrick Motorsports. The thing that I think about the most is so many guys on our team have been there for so many years with Chad [Knaus] and with Jimmie [Johnson], and we learned from the best. We learned from those guys. Obviously, the last two, three years, just as a company, we were down a little bit. It was easy to get down as a team. It was easy for me to get down. It was easy for the guys to get down. For them to dig so hard all year long, to dig so hard today, because we were not the best car at times today. And then, for our pit crew to have a money stop on the money stop, I couldn’t be more thankful. I could not be more proud of those guys…They were ready.”
Truex, who initially had the race and the championship within his grasp until the late caution, concluded the season in second place on the track and in the standings for the third time in the previous four seasons. The runner-up result was one that left Truex disappointed in a season where he achieved four victories, 13 top-five results, 20 top-10 results and an overall average-finishing result of 12.0.
“The clean air seemed to be a good bit of an advantage,” Truex said. “Whoever got out front was good for 20, 30, 40 laps, and then the long run cars would start coming around. I don’t know. Ultimately we needed to beat [Larson] off pit road. It’s unfortunate, but we win and lose as a team. And really proud of our efforts this year. That’s three times we’ve been second and that sucks. Second hurts I’m not going to lie, especially with the car we had and the job the guys did. That’s racing, as they say, and sometimes you’re just not on the right end of things. We were on the right end to things to get the lead there and weren’t able to hold on to it. If we could have had the lead, I think it would have been over, but that’s kind of how [Larson] did it, too. So, they had a hell of a season and congrats to them. Gosh, second sucks. I hate it.”
Teammate Hamlin, who was starting to catch Larson and Truex in the closing laps, settled in third place on the track and in the standings as his bid to win his first Cup title in his 16th full-time season highlighted with two postseason victories, 19 top-five results, 25 top-10 results and an average-finishing result of 8.4 fell short.
“Yeah, certainly, I really liked where we were at with about 25 [laps] to go,” Hamlin said. “We were just exceptional in the long run, which wasn’t too surprising, but started running [Truex] back down there and got within a couple car lengths and obviously that debris caution changed a lot. Special congrats to Larson and his team. Those guys, any time you can win 10 races in a year, you’re absolutely a deserving champion. They did a great job on the last pit stop and got him out there, and it was just set sail after that. Proud of my team. Really great effort adjusting on the car all day, getting it so much better, and thank our partners. Just a really good year. A really, really good year and things just didn’t pan out. We needed that thing to go green those last 25 laps, and it didn’t.”
Meanwhile, Elliott, who was overtaken by Blaney on the track, ended up in fifth place in the final leaderboard and in the final standings as he came up short in defending his series title. Despite the result, Elliott kept his head high in a season where he notched two victories, 15 top-five results, 21 top-10 results and an average-finishing result of 11.4.
“I felt like our NAPA Chevy was really good and I thought our team did a really good job preparing this week,” Elliott said. “I was really proud of our group. I thought we brought a really good car and did a lot of things that we were wanting it to do today. Just didn’t work out and the sequence of the way all that went certainly was unfortunate for us, but look, proud of our team, a lot to build on and also, congrats to Kyle and Cliff. What an amazing season. Very, very deserving champions and glad to see Kyle have success. When you’re a good driver and a good person and you surround yourself with good people, success is warranted. It’s good to see that. But we’ll be back stronger next year and try to give them a run.”
Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Christopher Bell and Brad Keselowski completed the top 10 on the track.
Austin Dillon, who finished 15th in the finale, emerged as the highest non-Playoff contender in the final standings in 17th place.
Despite finishing in 35th place following his accident, Chase Briscoe captured the 2021 Cup Rookie-of-the-Year title over Anthony Alfredo. With his accomplishment, Briscoe, who earned three top-10 results in his first full-time Cup season, became the third competitor to capture the rookie title across NASCAR’s top three national touring series (Cup, Xfinity and Truck).
Brad Keselowski finished 10th in his 435th and final run in the No. 2 Team Penske Ford Mustang while Todd Gordon, crew chief for Ryan Blaney, called his 526th and final race as a crew chief between the Xfinity and Cup Series before retiring.
Ross Chastain and Kurt Busch finished 14th and 16th in Chip Ganassi Racing’s final race and season in NASCAR as the team’s assets will be transferred over to Trackhouse Racing, which will be expanding to two cars and welcome Chastain as a teammate alongside Daniel Suarez, for the 2022 season.
Ryan Newman finished 23rd in his 725th career start in the Cup circuit as he has yet to announce his plans for the 2022 season.
Matt DiBenedetto finished 12th in his 72nd and final run with the Wood Brothers Racing team, Ryan Preece finished 20th in his 108th and final run with JTG-Daugherty Racing and Justin Haley finished 26th in his 34th and final run with Spire Motorsports.
Meanwhile, 23XI Racing settled in 21st place in the final standings and as the highest of the new teams over Trackhouse Racing (25th) and Live Fast Motorsports (32nd). The team will be expanding to two cars next season with Bubba Wallace and Kurt Busch set to drive for the team in 2022.
The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season was the ninth and final season for the current Generation 6 stock cars, thus paving the way for the new NextGen stock cars that will debut in NASCAR competition in February 2022. It was also the final season where the five lug nut pattern was implemented on the tires for the cars as the series will have a single, center-locked lug nut for the wheels next season.
There were 18 lead changes for seven different leaders. The race featured nine cautions for 51 laps.
1. Kyle Larson, 107 laps led, Stage 2 winner
2. Martin Truex Jr.,72 laps led, Stage 1 winner
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Ryan Blaney, 33 laps led
5. Chase Elliott, 94 laps led
6. Aric Almirola
7. Kyle Busch
8. Kevin Harvick, one lap led
9. Christopher Bell
10. Brad Keselowski
11. Joey Logano
12. Matt DiBenedetto
13. Cole Custer
14. Ross Chastain
15. Austin Dillon
16. Kurt Busch, one lap led
17. William Byron
18. Alex Bowman
19. Tyler Reddick, four laps led
20. Ryan Preece
21. Daniel Suarez
22. Erik Jones
23. Ryan Newman
24. Michael McDowell
25. Chris Buescher, one lap down
26. Justin Haley, two laps down
27. BJ McLeod, three laps down
28. Cody Ware, six laps down
29. Joey Gase, nine laps down
30. Josh Bilicki, nine laps down
31. Garrett Smithley, 11 laps down
32. Corey LaJoie, 31 laps down
33. David Starr – OUT, Brakes
34. Anthony Alfredo – OUT, Accident
35. Chase Briscoe – OUT, Accident
36. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – OUT, Accident
37. Quin Houff – OUT, Accident
38. Timmy Hill – OUT, Handling
39. Bubba Wallace – OUT, Accident
1. Kyle Larson
2. Martin Truex Jr.
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Chase Elliott
5. Kevin Harvick
6. Brad Keselowski
7. Ryan Blaney
8. Joey Logano
9. Kyle Busch
10. William Byron
11. Kurt Busch
12. Christopher Bell
13. Tyler Reddick
14. Alex Bowman
15. Aric Almirola
16. Michael McDowell
Bold indicates championship finale contenders.
With the 2021 season concluded, the NASCAR Cup Series competitors enter their off-season period before commencing the 2022 season with the inaugural Clash event at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which will occur on February 6 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1.