KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Kyle Larson led the way for Hendrick Motorsports with a fourth-place result in Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway.
After qualifying on the front row, the Elk Grove, California, native quickly jumped to the point position. He would go on to lead a race-high 99 laps on the afternoon and score the stage one victory, which brings with it a valuable playoff point that he carries into the next round. Despite taking off with speed, Larson would lose track position in the second stage and struggle to regain it until the final stage. Even though the pace was not what it was at the beginning, a late-race caution allowed for the No. 5 entry to jump to the fourth position at the conclusion of the race. The result earned Larson his series-best 12th top-five finish of the season.
"All in all, it was still a great weekend," Larson said after exiting his No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevy. "(We) qualified well, won a stage and had the best car today for sure. We could drive off to a big lead. We'll just take the positives today and roll on to Bristol (Motor Speedway), a track that we run really well at and try to put it all together."
With his win last weekend at Darlington Raceway, Larson is already locked in to the Round of 12.
Chase Elliott took sixth in the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. With 47 laps led, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native was a factor at the front of the field throughout the second stage. Coming to the end of stage two, Elliott held the point position before being passed with three to go in the segment. He settled for third in that stage. As the race was winding down, Elliott was in third before a late-race caution saw varying tire strategies come into play.
The 27-year-old's sixth-place finish was his best result on a 1.5-mile track this season, his third consecutive top-10 result and his 12th top 10 in 2023. With one race to go in the Round of 16, the No. 9 team is plus-12 to the elimination line to advance in the owner playoffs.
Alex Bowman and the Ally Racing team worked hard to find speed during the race. Throughout the first two stages, the team struggled with the balance of the car. By the end of the afternoon, the Tucson, Arizona, native brought home a 10th-place finish. The result was his ninth top 10 of 2023 and his third in five races. The result was also the eighth time in 12 starts that Bowman has earned a top-10 finish at Kansas with Hendrick Motorsports.
"Today was a hard-fought day," Bowman said. "I am just super proud of the fight in this team. Blake (Harris) and I talked about what I needed in the car and the team was able to make those changes all day. They deserve a ton of kudos for our performance today."
William Byron came home 15th in the No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. After a solid run to begin the race, Byron spun on lap 64. While the car did not contact the wall, crew chief Rudy Fugle made several adjustments to find speed in the car as it handled much differently after the incident. This also put the No. 24 entry on a different tire strategy than the rest of the field for the remainder of the race. At day's end, Byron's 15th-place result leaves him plus-41 to the elimination line heading into the final race of the Round of 16.
Tyler Reddick won the race at Kansas to join Larson as the only drivers to clinch spots in the Round of 12.
Next week, the opening round of the NASCAR playoffs will come to an end at "The World's Fastest Half-Mile" of Bristol Motor Speedway. Catch all of the action from Tennessee on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m. ET on USA Network, NBC Sports App, PRN Radio and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).