CONCORD, N.C. – William Byron has joined Kyle Larson in the Round of 12 of the driver playoffs. On the owner side of things, the Nos. 5, 9 and 24 teams are still in the championship mix as the postseason marches on to the next three-race segment.
Larson came in second at Bristol Motor Speedway and he was already locked in with his win in the playoff opener at Darlington Raceway. Byron clinched his advancement after the second stage at the Tennessee track, before going on to finish ninth. Chase Elliott’s seventh-place result helped to advance the No. 9 team in the owner playoffs.
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Shifting to Texas Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has 10 wins at the 1.5-mile track. Larson (2021) is the only active driver on the team with a points win there. Earlier that year, the 2021 Cup Series champion also won the All-Star Race at Texas.
Get the lowdown on how each of the Hendrick Motorsports drivers and teams are positioned for the opening race in the Round of 12. This round consists of races at Texas, Talladega Superspeedway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. Be sure to tune in to catch the action from Texas on Sunday, Sept. 24, at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network, NBC Sports App, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).
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William Byron, No. 24
POINTS POSITION: First with 3,036 points.
POSITION TO ELIMINATION LINE: +25
PREVIOUS RACE RESULT: Finished ninth at Bristol.
TEXAS OUTLOOK: In eight starts at Texas, Byron has one top-five finish, four top-10s and 121 laps led. His average finish of 13.5 is his best among the Round of 12 tracks. Over the last two races at Texas, he has an average finish of 4.5 and has led 97 laps. Byron’s track-best finish of second came in the 2021 playoff race, where he finished as the runner up behind Larson. He has been strong on 1.5-mile tracks this year with a win (Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March), three top-three finishes and 277 laps led.
LAST FALL’S TEXAS RESULT: Finished seventh.
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Kyle Larson, No. 5
POINTS POSITION: Fourth with 3,023 points.
POSITION TO ELIMINATION LINE: +12
PREVIOUS RACE RESULT: Finished second at Bristol.
TEXAS OUTLOOK: In 15 starts at Texas, Larson has one win (2021), four top-five finishes, six top-10s, 349 laps led and an average finish of 17.8. In his two starts at Texas with Hendrick Motorsports, he scored the victory in his title season and has an average finish of 5.0, with 275 laps led. This season, 1.5-mile tracks have been a strong point for Larson. In four 2023 starts on 1.5-mile tracks, he has two runner-up finishes, three top-fives and 248 laps led. He comes into the Round of 12 with a lot of momentum. In the first three races of the postseason, Larson has an average finish of 2.33 and has not finished lower than fourth.
LAST FALL’S TEXAS RESULT: Finished ninth.
No. 9 team
POINTS POSITION: 12th with 3,001 points.
POSITION TO ELIMINATION LINE: -13
PREVIOUS RACE RESULT: Finished seventh at Bristol.
TEXAS OUTLOOK: In 12 starts at Texas, Elliott has two top-five finishes, six top-10s, 88 laps led and a 13.3 average finish. The 2020 champion has only one top-10 finish, though, in his last six starts at the Fort Worth-located venue. This is also the only Round of 12 track where the 27-year-old has yet to win in the Cup Series, but he did earn his first NASCAR Xfinity Series win here in 2014. Earlier this month at Kansas Speedway, Elliott earned his best 1.5-mile finish of the season (sixth), so that is a good sign regarding the team’s intermediate performance. Entering Texas, the No. 9 team has four straight top-eight finishes on the season.
LAST FALL’S TEXAS RESULT: Finished 32nd following an accident in turn four on lap 184.
OVERALL DRIVER CHAMPIONSHIP PICTURE
1-Byron: 3,036 points
2-Martin Truex Jr.: 3,036 points
3-Denny Hamlin: 3,032 points
4-Larson: 3,023 points
5-Chris Buescher: 3,021 points
6-Kyle Busch: 3,019 points
7-Christopher Bell: 3,016 points
8-Tyler Reddick: 3,014 points
9-Ross Chastain: 3,011 points
10-Brad Keselowski: 3,0111 points
11-Ryan Blaney: 3,008 points
12-Bubba Wallace: 3,000 points
OVERALL OWNER CHAMPIONSHIP PICTURE
1-No. 24 team: 3,036 points
2-No. 19 team: 3,036 points
3-No. 11 team: 3,032 points
4-No. 5 team: 3,023 points
5-No. 17 team: 3,021 points
6-No. 8 team: 3,019 points
7-No. 20 team: 3,016 points
8-No. 45 team: 3,014 points
9-No. 1 team: 3,011 points
10-No. 6 team: 3,0111 points
11-No. 12 team: 3,008 points
12-No. 9 team: 3,001 points