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Kyle Larson vs William Byron: Next Gen Dominance Underlines Better NASCAR Driver

Ankit Sharma

Kyle Larson vs William Byron: Next Gen Dominance Underlines Better NASCAR Driver

The Next Gen era was supposed to bring parity in NASCAR and bring the cars on the field closer together. While much of that has been achieved, William Byron and Kyle Larson have risen above the rest in terms of performance and consistency on the track. At the moment, Byron has the most wins in the Next Gen car with 11, and Kyle Larson is second on that list with 8 wins. But one stat that proves who is a better bet to compete for wins on any given weekend is Top-5 finishes, and this is where Larson leads his HMS teammate.

Since 2022, the #5 driver has 32 top-5s, the most in the Cup Series. Ross Chastain and Denny Hamlin follow him with 26 each, with Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Christopher Bell scoring 25 top-5 finishes in the same period. Interestingly, Byron, who has the most wins in this era, sits at 23.

This could also be interpreted as Byron being able to make the most of his car running up the field, and translating more top-5 finishes into victories.

Interestingly, despite Byron and Larson’s dominance, it is Ford, specifically Team Penske, that has captured both championships, with Joey Logano in 2022 and Ryan Blaney in 2023.

Kevin Harvick on what differentiates Kyle Larson and William Byron

Speaking on the Happy Hour Podcast, 2014 Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick tried to differentiate between the HMS teammates. While results could hardly tell who was the better driver between the two, Harvick did point out one thing that gives Byron the edge over Larson.

Expressing that Larson has seen a lot of races where he has been the fastest driver but somehow struggled to finish at the top, Byron always manages to keep himself in the mix. “He has a good pitstop or puts himself in a position to win, by keeping himself in the mix. Running all those laps and not having as many DNFs. And so, in NASCAR racing it’s not all about being fast,” Harvick concluded about Byron, who already has three wins in the first eight races this season.

While there is no doubt that both of these drivers will compete for many championships in the future, Byron’s reliability may just give him the edge over the 2021 champion when things are tight.

Post Edited By:Srijan Mandal

About the author

Ankit Sharma

Ankit Sharma


Ankit serves as a NASCAR Content Strategist and Editor at The Sportsrush. He has covered NASCAR for more than two years and loves the historical side of the sport. While different eras see different personalities, he believes that the there is nothing in the sport that can top the Jeff Gordon-Dale Earnhardt rivalry.

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