The winner of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway has now won three times in as many playoff rounds. He has an opportunity to go 4 for 4 and win the championship.
Kyle Larson won for the third time in seven playoff races Sunday, capturing the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500. The victory in the opening race of the Round of 8 moved Larson into the Championship 4 race at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 7.
He won previously at Bristol (Round of 16 eliminator) and the Charlotte Roval (Round of 12 eliminator). In this win, he beat runner-up William Byron by just under half a second in another 1-2 finish for Hendrick Motorsports.
Below is more about Larson’s win Sunday, plus the complete results of the race:
Who won the NASCAR race yesterday?
Kyle Larson won for the third time in the playoff and the eighth time overall this season. He became the first playoff driver to advance to the Championship 4. Larson outran William Byron in a two-lap shootout to win by 0.459 seconds. The showdown was the last in a series of late restarts in a race that saw 11 cautions.
“I just got good pushes from behind me, really,” Larson said, per NASCAR.com. “I tried to stay patient on the throttle to keep them to my back bumper and thankfully, I was able to just barely clear them every time going into (Turn) 1 and not have to fight off (Turn) 2.”
The closing stretch of mayhem included two incidents involving Denny Hamlin — he made a big save in one of them after contact with Ryan Blaney caused tire damage. Martin Truex Jr. crashed hard after contact with Daniel Suarez and the damage forced him out of the race.
Joey Logano was knocked out early with engine problems. His 30th-place finish pushed him to the bottom of the playoff standings.
NASCAR Cup playoff standings
With Larson locked in, the playoff battle is now for the remaining three spots in the Championship 4. Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch hold those spots after Texas. Second-place driver Blaney has a 17-point advantage over Chase Elliott, the first driver outside the top four. Elliott is eight points behind fourth-place driver Busch.
The drivers at the bottom of the standings have a lot of work to do to qualify on points alone. Joey Logano is dead last and 43 points behind Busch after a 30th-place finish Sunday. Martin Truex Jr. fell to seventh after a late wreck took him out of the race. He’s 22 behind Busch.
The easiest path for those two past champions will be winning in the next two weeks, at Kansas or Martinsville.
|7||Martin Truex Jr.||4041|
x-Clinched spot in Championship 4.
MORE: NASCAR playoffs, explained
NASCAR results from Texas
Just two current playoff drivers finished in the top five in the Round of 8 opening race: Larson and Brad Keselowski, who finished fourth. Previously eliminated playoff drivers William Byron (second), Christopher Bell (third) and Kevin Harvick (fifth) rounded out the group.
The second race in the Round of 8 is the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 24 (3 p.m. ET; NBC, TSN, MRN).
|25||P-Martin Truex Jr.|
|34||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.|