2021 Cook Out Southern 500
|Race 27 of 36 in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series|
|Date||September 5, 2021|
|Location||Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina|
Permanent racing facility|
1.366 mi (2.198 km)
|Distance||367 laps, 501.322 mi (806.666 km)|
|Average speed||121.279 miles per hour (195.180 km/h)|
|Grid positions set by competition-based formula|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Kyle Larson||Hendrick Motorsports|
|No. 11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Rick Allen, Jeff Burton, Steve Letarte, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Dale Jarrett and Kyle Petty|
|Radio in the United States|
|Booth Announcers||Alex Hayden, Jeff Striegle and Rusty Wallace|
|Turn Announcers||Dave Moody (1 & 2) and Mike Bagley (3 & 4)|
The 2021 Cook Out Southern 500, the 58th running of the event, was a NASCAR Cup Series race held on September 5, 2021 at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina. Contested over 367 laps on the 1.366-mile (2.198 km) egg-shaped oval, it was the 27th race of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, first race of the Playoffs, and the first race of the Round of 16. Denny Hamlin took his first victory of the season and clinched a spot in the round of 12.
Darlington Raceway is a race track built for NASCAR racing located near Darlington, South Carolina. It is nicknamed "The Lady in Black" and "The Track Too Tough to Tame" by many NASCAR fans and drivers and advertised as "A NASCAR Tradition." It is of a unique, somewhat egg-shaped design, an oval with the ends of very different configurations, a condition which supposedly arose from the proximity of one end of the track to a minnow pond the owner refused to relocate. This situation makes it very challenging for the crews to set up their cars' handling in a way that is effective at both ends.
Darlington Raceway was last repaved following the May 2007 meeting (from 2005 to 2019, there was only one meeting; the second meeting was reinstated in 2020), and from 2008 to 2019, there was one night race. In 2020, a day race returned to the schedule, and instead of two races (one Xfinity and one Cup) during the entire year, the track hosted six races (three Cup, two Xfinity, and one Truck). The circuit kept repairing the circuit with patches during each summer before the annual Cup race in September. The circuit's narrow Turn 2 rapidly deteriorated with cracks in the tarmac allowing water to seep in the circuit. In July 2021, the circuit repaved a six hundred foot section at the entrance of Turn 2 and ending at the exit of the turn to repair the tarmac and resolve the issue for safety and to reduce the threat of weepers and surface issues in that section of the circuit.
- (R) denotes rookie driver.
- (i) denotes driver who are ineligible for series driver points.
Ryan Blaney started the race from the pole position. Early in the race, playoff driver Alex Bowman scraped the wall while playoff driver Michael McDowell was taken out of the race after hitting the wall. Denny Hamlin won the first stage of the race. In the second stage, Austin Dillon and playoff driver Kyle Busch made contact, with Busch hitting the wall and going to the garage, ending his night. Kyle Larson won the second stage of the race. Several other playoff drivers had trouble during the race including William Byron, who hit the wall after cutting a tire, Chase Elliott, who hit the wall after going three-wide with Bubba Wallace and Christopher Bell, and Blaney, who spun late in the race. In the closing laps, Hamlin was leading Larson. On the final lap, Larson tapped Hamlin, but Hamlin blocked the top line to win the race, his first win of the season, to move on to the next round of the playoffs.
Stage One Laps: 115
|1||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||10|
|2||5||Kyle Larson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||9|
|3||1||Kurt Busch||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||8|
|4||12||Ryan Blaney||Team Penske||Ford||7|
|5||4||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||6|
|6||19||Martin Truex Jr.||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||5|
|7||8||Tyler Reddick||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||4|
|8||10||Aric Almirola||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||3|
|9||42||Ross Chastain||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||2|
|10||22||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford||1|
|Official stage one results|
Stage Two Laps: 115
|1||5||Kyle Larson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||10|
|2||20||Christopher Bell||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||9|
|3||42||Ross Chastain||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||8|
|4||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||7|
|5||4||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||6|
|6||1||Kurt Busch||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||5|
|7||22||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford||4|
|8||9||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||3|
|9||12||Ryan Blaney||Team Penske||Ford||2|
|10||7||Corey LaJoie||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet||1|
|Official stage two results|
Final Stage Results
Stage Three Laps: 137
|1||2||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||367||57|
|2||6||5||Kyle Larson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||54|
|3||23||42||Ross Chastain||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||367||44|
|4||10||19||Martin Truex Jr.||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||367||38|
|5||9||4||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||367||44|
|6||3||1||Kurt Busch||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||367||44|
|7||16||2||Brad Keselowski||Team Penske||Ford||367||30|
|8||11||22||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford||367||34|
|9||34||17||Chris Buescher||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||367||28|
|10||21||3||Austin Dillon||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||367||27|
|11||31||41||Cole Custer||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||367||26|
|12||18||37||Ryan Preece||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet||367||25|
|13||26||99||Daniel Suárez||Trackhouse Racing Team||Chevrolet||367||24|
|14||19||6||Ryan Newman||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||367||23|
|15||25||7||Corey LaJoie||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet||367||23|
|16||8||10||Aric Almirola||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||366||24|
|17||29||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet||366||20|
|18||7||8||Tyler Reddick||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||366||23|
|19||24||14||Chase Briscoe (R)||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||366||18|
|20||13||20||Christopher Bell||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||366||26|
|21||17||23||Bubba Wallace||23XI Racing||Toyota||366||16|
|22||1||12||Ryan Blaney||Team Penske||Ford||366||24|
|23||30||21||Matt DiBenedetto||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||365||14|
|24||32||38||Anthony Alfredo (R)||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||364||13|
|25||20||77||Justin Haley (i)||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet||364||0|
|26||5||48||Alex Bowman||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||363||11|
|27||27||78||B. J. McLeod (i)||Live Fast Motorsports||Ford||359||0|
|28||28||52||Josh Bilicki||Rick Ware Racing||Ford||359||9|
|29||35||15||Joey Gase (i)||Rick Ware Racing||Chevrolet||357||0|
|30||37||00||Quin Houff||StarCom Racing||Chevrolet||355||7|
|31||4||9||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||327||9|
|32||22||43||Erik Jones||Richard Petty Motorsports||Chevrolet||264||5|
|33||33||51||Cody Ware (i)||Petty Ware Racing||Chevrolet||209||0|
|34||14||24||William Byron||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||199||3|
|35||12||18||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||125||2|
|36||36||53||James Davison||Rick Ware Racing||Chevrolet||50||1|
|37||15||34||Michael McDowell||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||30||1|
|Official race results|
- Lead changes: 18 among 10 different drivers
- Cautions/Laps: 11 for 52
- Red flags: 0
- Time of race: 4 hours, 8 minutes and 1 second
- Average speed: 121.279 miles per hour (195.180 km/h)
NBC Sports covered the race on the television side. Rick Allen, two–time Darlington winner Jeff Burton, Steve Letarte and Dale Earnhardt Jr. called Stages 1 and 3 of the race from the broadcast booth. Earnhardt Jr., Dale Jarrett and Kyle Petty called Stage 2 of the race from the broadcast booth. Dave Burns, Parker Kligerman and Marty Snider handled the pit road duties from pit lane.
|Booth announcers||Pit reporters|
|Lap-by-lap: Rick Allen
Color-commentator: Jeff Burton
Color-commentator: Steve Letarte
Color-commentator: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Throwback commentator: Dale Jarrett
Throwback commentator: Kyle Petty
|Booth announcers||Turn announcers||Pit reporters|
|Lead announcer: Alex Hayden
Announcer: Jeff Striegle
Announcer: Rusty Wallace
|Turns 1 & 2: Dave Moody
Turns 3 & 4: Mike Bagley
Standings after the race
- "2021 schedule". Jayski.com. Jayski's Silly Season Site. Retrieved August 7, 2021.
- "Darlington Raceway". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Media Group, LLC. Archived from the original on April 30, 2017. Retrieved August 7, 2021.
- "Entry List" (PDF). Jayski.com. Jayski's Silly Season Site. August 30, 2021. Retrieved August 30, 2021.
- "Starting Lineup". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Media Group, LLC. September 1, 2021. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
- "Cook Out Southern 500 Results". NASCAR.com. NASCAR. September 5, 2021. Retrieved September 5, 2021.
- "Points standings" (PDF). Jayski.com. Jayski's Silly Season Site. September 5, 2021. Retrieved September 5, 2021.
- Long, Dustin. "Darlington Raceway repaves Turn 2 ahead of Cook Out Southern 500". NBCSports.com. Comcast. Retrieved 2021-08-20.