Kyle Larson dominates Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway

TEXAS – The Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway had dramatic ups and downs Sunday afternoon with the victorious exception of Kyle Larson, who absolutely dominated the race – leading 256 of 334 laps and holding off the field on seven different re-starts in the final 125 laps alone.

Larson’s win by .459-seconds over Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron was his series-best – and career-best – eighth of the season and 14th of his career. Most importantly, it punched his ticket into the Championship Four at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 7 – the first time in the 29-year old Californian’s career he will get to race for the NASCAR Cup Series championship trophy.

There were 11 caution periods for a total of 55 laps.

Only 15 of the 39 drivers in the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 finished on the lead lap.

Stage 1 winner was  Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota). Stage 2 winner was Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet).

Briscoe finished sixth in Stage 1 to earn five bonus points and eighth in Stage 2 to earn three more bonus points.

Chase Briscoe

Briscoe reported on lap 137 while running 12th that the handling “was finally coming to me.” He was back in the top-10 when the caution flag flew on lap 165 for debris on the backstretch. “It felt way better there,” Briscoe said. “I feel like the track’s getting more grip.” He pitted for four tires, fuel, and a track-bar adjustment and restarted 10th on lap 170.

Handling continued to improve during the early part of the run to the end of the stage, enabling the Rush Truck Center/Cummins Ford driver to move forward. He reached the eighth place before reporting he “lost the right front” during the closing laps of the stage. He pitted for four tires, fuel, and an air-pressure adjustment during the break.

On lap 273, while still running seventh, Briscoe reported smelling tire smoke after contact with the turn-one wall while racing Denny Hamlin. Moments later, his right-rear tire blew and he was able to get safely to pit lane while the caution flag flew for his debris. He took tires, then returned to the pits two laps later under caution to assess and repair the right-rear bodywork damage. He restarted 17th on lap 280, one lap down.

The caution flag flew on lap 299 for fluid on the track with Briscoe still running 17th. He pitted for four tires and fuel and restarted 16th on lap 304. Shortly after the field took the green flag, the caution flag, and then the red flag, flew for a multicar incident in turns one and two. The race resumed after the 11-minute red-flag period, and Briscoe restarted 16th and was in the Lucky Dog position when it went back to green on lap 309.

Briscoe earned his way back to the lead lap when the next caution flag flew for a spinning car in the backstretch on lap 313. He asked for the Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford to be tightened up, “so I can be really aggressive here.” After pitting for four tires, fuel, and some front-end inspection and repair, he restarted 15th on lap 317.

Just three laps later, a car into the turn-four wall brought out the caution once again. Briscoe took advantage of the opportunity to come down pit road for further damage inspection and repairs and restarted 14th on lap 325.

On lap 327, Briscoe was contacted from behind by the car of Chris Buescher in the backstretch, sending the Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford into the outside wall. Briscoe was able to drive it back to the pits for repairs under caution. He restarted 15th on lap 332 and held the position during the two-lap run to the checkered flag.

“The finish didn’t show it, but the guys did a great job making our Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford better all day long,” said Briscoe. “I really appreciate the effort, especially after last week. It got a little crazy at the end, there, which makes you wonder what might have been if we could’ve avoided at least some of that. But it is what it is.”

Chase Briscoe (Started 26th, Finished 15th / Running, completed 334 of 334 laps). Briscoe earned his 11th top-15 of the season and it came in his first career NASCAR Cup Series start at Texas. He was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie for the 28th time this season.

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, Oct. 24 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. It is the eighth race of the 10-race playoffs and the second race in the Round of 8. It starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.