Kyle Larson wins at Texas to secure title shot



Kyle Larson will race for the 2021 Cup Series title.

Larson led 256 of 334 laps at Texas on Sunday in a chaotic final stage to get his eighth win of the season and ensure that he’ll be one of the four drivers racing for the title at Phoenix on Nov. 7.

Larson’s domination of Sunday’s race was never in doubt. The race did get a little unpredictable, however. 

There were six restarts in the final stage of the race and four in the final 30 laps. A caution for Joey Logano’s blown engine bunched the field up with 36 laps to go and ended up hurting the days of Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr.

Hamlin somehow finished 11th after he spun to cause a caution on lap 313 and was involved in a crash on lap 327 of the 334-lap race. If Hamlin is a part of the four drivers racing for the title in three weeks, his ability to get a decent finish out of Sunday’s race will be a huge reason why.

Logano and Truex were hurt the most by the end of the race. Logano ended up finishing 30th after he spent most of the race trying to claw his way back to the front after early troubles.

Truex finished 25th after he hit the wall with less than 20 laps to go off the bumper of Daniel Suarez.

William Byron finished second to Larson and was the biggest challenger to Larson throughout the day — if you can say anyone that challenged Larson. Byron led 55 laps. No other driver led more than 20.

The race was a staid affair until Logano’s blown engine. Passing is not easy at Texas thanks to the track’s reconfiguration and ill-fated attempts to create a second groove. Throw in NASCAR’s rules that have cut horsepower and added downforce to the cars and you have the recipe for a snoozer.

And that’s what the race was for quite some time. And then it got eventful.

Did it get enjoyable? That’s in the eye of the beholder. Do you like races that get wild and crazy after a late restart in an otherwise boring affair? This one was for you if you do. But there’s a legitimate argument to be made that unpredictability doesn’t equal and enjoyable race. And from this vantage point, it’s hard to see how what transpired north of Fort Worth was an enjoyable race.

Playoff standings

With Larson’s win there are three spots available for the title chase at Phoenix. A driver listed below can guarantee his title shot with a win at either Kansas next week or at Martinsville on Halloween.

1. Kyle Larson (Win at Texas)

2. Ryan Blaney (17 points ahead of Chase Elliott)

3. Denny Hamlin (+9)

4. Kyle Busch (+8)

5. Chase Elliott

6. Brad Keselowski (-15 to Busch)

7. Martin Truex Jr. (-22)

8. Joey Logano (-43)

Race results

1. Kyle Larson

2. William Byron

3. Christopher Bell

4. Brad Keselowski

5. Kevin Harvick

6. Ryan Blaney

7. Chase Elliott

8. Kyle Busch

9. Tyler Reddick

10. Daniel Suarez

11. Denny Hamlin

12. Erik Jones

13. Matt DiBenedetto

14. Austin Dillon

15. Chase Briscoe

16. Kurt Busch

17. Michael McDowell

18. Aric Almirola

19. Cole Custer

20. Corey LaJoie

21. Chris Buescher

22. BJ McLeod

23. David Starr

24. Garrett Smithley

25. Martin Truex Jr.

26. Josh Bilicki

27. Timmy Hill

28. Ross Chastain

29. Anthony Alfredo

30. Joey Logano

31. Quin Houff

32. Bubba Wallace

33. Alex Bowman

34. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

35. Ryan Newman

36. Ryan Preece

37. Justin Haley

38. Cody Ware

39. Joey Gase


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