CONCORD, N.C. -- Hendrick Motorsports crossed another remarkable milestone on Sunday when Kyle Larson crossed the finish line first and William Byron placed second at Texas Motor Speedway.
Larson's victory was his eighth of the season and earned him a spot on the NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 race at Phoenix Raceway in three weeks. His 256 laps led by far surpassed his combined 74 laps led at the Texas track.
"This is unreal," Larson said. "I knew we had a good shot to win today, and our car was amazing. That’s probably the best 550 package, intermediate car we’ve had all year. Thanks to everybody on this No. 5 team, HendrickCars.com, Rick Hendrick; this is so cool. ... We get to go race for a championship in a few weeks. This is crazy."
Larson and Byron's 1-2 finish marks the sixth time this season Hendrick Motorsports has had two drivers take the top-two spots in a race and was the organization's 50th playoff win.
Chase Elliott overcame a right-front tire problem to finish seventh. Alex Bowman was caught up in an accident and was unable to continue racing. He placed 33rd.
Take a look below to see how the Round of 8 playoff race at Texas shook out for the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers.
KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Larson started in the pole position and remained out front through the first 25 laps of the race. He pitted under the competition caution for four tires and fuel before restarting eighth. Larson dropped one spot to ninth before a massive accident occurred behind him.
- He was ninth when the race was green again and edged to eighth behind teammate Chase Elliott by lap 47. Eight laps later, Larson was cruising in sixth place. He shot past Elliott to fourth and broke into the top three during lap 64. It only took 10 laps for Larson to move to second behind teammate and race leader William Byron.
- He got a good run on Byron during lap 83 and was able to pass his teammate. Larson relinquished the lead on lap 94 for fuel. He was 12th after the green-flag stop and finished stage one in third place.
- A superb pit stop allowed Larson to jump to second after taking four tires and fuel between the stages. He battled with Byron for the spot before taking second. By lap 117 Byron aided Larson to take the lead by getting behind the competing driver to take away some of his draft. Larson was able to stay in this position until a caution fell on lap 165 for debris.
- Larson pitted for four tires and fuel, winning the race off pit road to hold on to the lead. He remained out front for the rest of stage two to win the segment. The 29-year-old driver pitted between segments and began stage three as the leader once again. Larson shot out front and remained there until the caution came out on lap 275.
- He pitted for four tires and fuel, holding his position as the lead driver when the race resumed. Despite an impressive push from Byron, Larson held him off and remained the leader until a yellow flag waved with 35 laps left in the race.
- Crew chief Cliff Daniels opted to remain on the track and Larson was first for the restart. He was pulling away from the other drivers when a red flag stopped the race. With 26 laps to go, racing resumed and Larson zoomed out front. Another caution ate away 10 laps before the race restarted and Larson was pushed to first.
- Again, a caution occurred and the race was stopped. Larson was pushed out front when the race restarted. He was tailed by Byron but still had a solid lead when another accident caused the final yellow flag. With three laps to go, Larson was freed up and he surged ahead, finishing first for his eighth win of the season.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 KELLEY BLUE BOOK CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Elliott was slated to start sixth but had to drop to the rear due to inspection issues. He was in the top 20 by lap five and was all the way up to 13th when the competition caution waved on lap 25. Elliott restarted 11th after taking tires and fuel on pit road. He edged to 10th when the second yellow flag dropped almost immediately after the restart due to an accident.
- Elliott was 10th when the race began again. He fought hard in the first six laps of the restart and was up to sixth by lap 49. Elliott was in the top five three laps later but lost a spot to teammate Kyle Larson during lap 58. Less than one lap later Elliott jumped back to fifth.
- The Dawsonville, Georgia, native remained in the top five until lap 96 when he pitted for fuel. Elliott flew up the track and was eighth when the first stage ended. After pitting for fresh tires and more fuel, he lined up sixth for the start of stage two.
- Elliott edged to fifth when the race restarted and danced around the position for several laps. He settled in seventh by lap 134 but had to pit 20 laps later due to a vibration from a right-front tire issue. He got fresh tires and came back on the track 20th and a lap down. A caution waved on lap 165, allowing Elliott to get back on the lead lap. He was 14th when the field went green and slipped to 15th before the stage ended.
- The No. 9 pit crew went to work to aid the Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE to fix another front-right tire issue while giving four tires and fuel. Elliott restarted 13th, quickly edged to 12th within the first couple of turns and was 11th a circuit later. He slipped into the top 10 by lap 246 and was in that spot when a caution came out on lap 275.
- Elliott restarted ninth but lost his draft and trickled back to 12th. Impressively, it only took him a couple of laps to get back in the top 10 and was eighth with 45 laps to go. He edged to seventh before a caution fell with 35 laps to go and used that time to pit and make adjustments. Elliott was 12th when racing resumed and edged to 11th before a red flag from an accident halted the race.
- With 26 laps to go, the race resumed. Elliott battled for 10th but was unable to claim the spot when a caution came out on lap 314. He remained in that position for the restart and had edged to ninth when a caution dropped with seven laps left. He was eighth when racing went green and, after another caution, finished the race seventh.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Byron started 12th and broke into the top 10 by lap three. He was up to ninth by lap six, sixth by lap 11 and was in the top five by lap 15. Byron was fourth when the competition caution was called and he took two tires and fuel, which allowed him to restart first. He remained in that position for less than a lap when an accident brought out the second yellow flag.
- Byron restarted out front again and remained in that position until lap 83 when teammate Kyle Larson passed him. He remained in second until he followed Larson for a fuel-only stop. He was all the way up to fifth when the stage ended.
- The Charlotte, North Carolina, native began stage two in third. Byron battled Larson for second but fell back to third by lap 115. It only took five laps for Byron to get right behind Larson in second place. He was in that spot for the next 50 laps until a caution due to debris waved and lost a position coming off pit road. It took Byron less than one lap after the restart to reclaimed second. He remained right behind Larson for the remainder of stage two, finishing second.
- Byron received fuel and four tires before starting stage three second. He fought for second place on lap 224 but was able to pull ahead and keep his position. He remained second until a yellow flag waved on lap 275, and Byron took four tires and fuel on pit road. The No. 24 team was flawless during the stop and he remained second coming off pit road.
- The 23-year-old driver was second for the restart and was battling for his position. He soon shot ahead to second and was running down Larson in the lead. He dropped off Larson’s bumper and was still in second when a caution dropped on lap 299. He stayed on the track and restarted second and fell to third right before a red flag waved on lap 305.
- Byron’s restart was flawless and he took second back. He lost the position and was third when another yellow flag waved with 20 laps left. Byron pushed Larson up the track and was in second when yet another accident happened. With nine laps to go, he was tapped by another driver trying to take third. Byron retained second but another caution forced him to restart on the front road again. He fought for second place through the first two laps and prevailed, finishing the race in that position.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Bowman was supposed to start 14th but dropped to the rear due to inspection issues. He was in the top 20 by lap 10, up to 18th by the competition caution on lap 25 and pitted with the majority of the field for tires and fuel under yellow.
- Once the race was green again, Bowman was 17th. However, he immediately was caught up in an accident after a car in front of him lost control, giving Bowman no chance to avoid the chaos. Impressively, the No. 48 Ally team tried to repair Bowman’s Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE and he was able to return to the track under yellow, but the issues persisted. Bowman was forced to end his day early and finished 33rd.