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2022 Season in Review: Kyle Larson

Kyle Larson had the unenviable task of having to follow up his 2021 season after winning 10 races en route to his first career NASCAR Cup Series championship, but in 2022, he still recorded three victories, led 635 laps, won five poles, and reached the Round of 12 in the playoffs.

CREW CHIEF: Cliff Daniels

TEAM: Hendrick Motorsports

POINTS: Seventh in Cup Series

WINS: Three (Auto Club, Watkins Glen, Homestead)


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TOP 5s: 13

TOP 10s: 19

QUALIFIED FIRST: Five times (Daytona I, Sonoma, Richmond II, Daytona II, Martinsville II)

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Kyle Larson began the 2022 season with a tall task – trying to improve on 2021. In that season, he won 10 races and his first Cup championship. 2022 would almost certainly be a step back.

In the first three races, Larson scored a win at Auto Club Speedway and a second at Las Vegas. Then he would need 22 more races to visit Victory Lane again, this time at Watkins Glen, where he pushed aside teammate Chase Elliott to win.

He scored his third – and final – seasonal win at Homestead.

Despite having what might be considered a “down” year for him, Larson led 635 laps, won five poles and reached the Round of 12 in the playoffs.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Larson’s 22-race winless streak was particularly painful because he registered eight top-five finishes during the stretch.

Over a run of six of those races, he led chunks of laps (27, 32, 19, 30, 29, 51) but couldn’t bring home the win.

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A 35th-place finish on the Charlotte Roval booted him from the playoffs.

Larson was a victim of one of the ugliest incidents of the season as Bubba Wallace, in retaliation for a Larson move, intentionally wrecked him at the high-speed Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Wallace was suspended for one race.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2023: Larson blamed himself for his short playoff run. Chances are he’ll approach 2023 with more focus and drive.

Look for a deeper playoff dive for the No. 5 in the new year.