CONCORD, N.C. – With one race down in the Round of 12 of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, Hendrick Motorsports has three drivers sitting above the cutoff line with two races remaining in the round.
William Byron and Kyle Larson each earned top-10 finishes at Texas Motor Speedway to open the second round. Byron’s seventh-place finish makes him one of two drivers to score top 10s in each of the first four playoff races – Denny Hamlin is the other driver to do so. Larson earned his third straight top-10 finish of the postseason with a ninth-place result.
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Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott were each involved in incidents that impacted their days. Bowman’s accident off of turn four left him able to continue but multiple laps down and ultimately, a 29th-place finish. Elliott hit the wall coming off of turn four while leading on lap 184. The damage from that contact was too much for the No. 9 to continue and he finished in 32nd.
Tyler Reddick’s win marks the fourth straight playoff race that a non-playoff driver has won. As a result, all eight spots in the Round of 8 remain up for grabs.
Talladega Superspeedway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL make up the remaining races in the Round of 12. Turning to Talladega, the Rick Hendrick-owned organization has 13 wins at the sport’s biggest track. Jeff Gordon’s six wins lead the way followed by Jimmie Johnson’s two wins and then one win each for Elliott, Ken Schrader, Terry Labonte, Brian Vickers and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Get to lowdown on how the Hendrick Motorsports drivers are positioned heading into the middle race of the Round of 12. Be sure to tune in to the race at Talladega on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
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Kyle Larson, No. 5
POINTS POSITION: Third
POSITION TO CUTOFF LINE: +23
TEXAS RESULT: Ninth
SPRING TALLADEGA RESULT: Fourth
TALLADEGA OUTLOOK: Larson’s fourth-place finish in the spring stands as his best result at Talladega and his only top five in 15 starts at the 2.66-mile track. He led a career-best 32 laps in that race as well and was running second on the final lap when his attempt to make a move for the lead was blocked by Erik Jones. This is far from his best track so being able to gain on the cutoff line would be ideal leaving the Alabama track. His Texas result is his third straight top-10 finish in the playoffs and helps give him a little bit of room, but not much, ahead of the middle race of the Round of 12.
Chase Elliott, No. 9
POINTS POSITION: Seventh
POSITION TO CUTOFF LINE: +11
TEXAS RESULT: 32nd
SPRING TALLADGEA RESULT: Seventh
TALLADEGA OUTLOOK: Elliott won at the Alabama track in the spring of 2019. He has a solid record at this venue with four top-five finishes, six top-10s and 173 laps led in 13 starts here. However, just like in the Round of 16, the regular-season champion has started off the Round of 12 with a tough result that has essentially shrunk the bulk of his buffer entering the round. As good as he is on road courses and the Charlotte ROVAL – he has two wins at the site of the Round of 12 elimination race – the 26-year-old will want to boost his standing prior to that.
William Byron, No. 24
POINTS POSITION: 10th
POSITION TO CUTOFF LINE: -8
TEXAS RESULT: Seventh
SPRING TALLADEGA RESULT: 15th
TALLADEGA OUTLOOK: A 25-point penalty following the Texas race takes Byron from +17 and third in the standings to -8 and 10th in the standings heading to Talladega. He led a race-high 38 laps at Talladega in the spring and has led laps in seven of his nine starts at this venue. The 24-year-old also has two top-five finishes in nine starts there. His seventh-place run at Texas makes him a perfect four-for-four for top 10s in this year’s playoffs and he'll need more of that to navigate through this round.
Alex Bowman, No. 48
POINTS POSITION: 12th
POSITION TO CUTOFF LINE: -26
TEXAS RESULT: 29th
SPRING TALLADEGA RESULT: Ninth
TALLADEGA OUTLOOK: Bowman will be sidelined for the race at Talladega after experiencing concussion-like symptoms following an accident in the Sept. 25 event at Texas Motor Speedway. Noah Gragson will drive the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Talladega.
STANDINGS ENTERING TALLADEGA (updated following the 25-point penalty to Byron)
1-Joey Logano: 3,071 points
2-Ross Chastain: 3,059 points
3-Kyle Larson: 3,057 points
4-Ryan Blaney: 3,056 points
5-Denny Hamlin: 3,049 points
6-Daniel Suarez: 3,045 points
7-Chase Elliott: 3,045 points
8-Chase Briscoe: 3,041 points
9-Austin Cindric: 3,034 points
10-William Byron: 3,033 points
11-Christopher Bell: 3,016 points
12-Alex Bowman: 3,015 points