FORT WORTH, Tex. – Kyle Larson will be the highest-starting Hendrick Motorsports driver in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. This race is the opening event in the three-race Round of 12 in the playoffs.
Larson will start 11th in the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. In practice, he posted the best 10-, 15- and 20-lap consecutive average and had the fifth-fastest single lap. The 31-year-old driver won at Texas in 2021 and finished ninth in the 2022 playoff race. In 15 starts at Texas, he has four top-five finishes and nine top-10s. On 1.5-mile tracks this season, Larson has the fourth-best average finish (9.50). Entering this weekend, the 2021 champion is fourth in the standings and plus-12 to the elimination line.
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Alex Bowman is going to take the grid from the 14th position in the No. 48 Ally Chevy. He has a pair of fifth-place finishes at Texas over 13 starts. This season on 1.5-mile tracks, Bowman has the third-best average finish (8.33). Due to injury, he only ran in three of the four races on that track length.
William Byron starts 18th in the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The 25-year-old has one top-five finish and four top-10s in eight starts at Texas, with two consecutive top-10s. On 1.5-mile tracks this season, Byron has the best average finish (5.25) and posted a win in one of those tracks in March (at Las Vegas Motor Speedway). As the round gets underway, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native is atop the standings and plus-25 on the elimination line.
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"I thought there was a lot of passing throughout the field last year," Byron said on Saturday when asked about how important qualifying was at Texas. "I think this Next Gen car yields itself to have some of that. With it being hot out, I think you’re going to move around the track some within those two grooves that we have here. You’re going to be off the throttle and able to pass people. Not a huge deal to start in the teens."
Chase Elliott is going to start 29th in the No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Chevy. This marks the second of two races for Kelley Blue Book as a primary sponsor of the No. 9. In 12 starts at Texas, Elliott has two top-five finishes and six top-10s. He enters this race with four straight top-10 results on the season. The No. 9 team remains in the hunt for the owner championship and enters the round minus-13 to the elimination line.
Bubba Wallace earned the pole position for the 267-lap race in the Lone Star State.
With 10 points-paying wins at Texas, Hendrick Motorsports is the winningest team at the Fort Worth, Texas, track. Jimmie Johnson accounts for seven of those and he also holds the track record for most Cup Series wins. Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte and Larson each have one win at the 1.5-mile venue. In 18 playoff races at Texas, Hendrick Motorsports has won a Cup Series-best six times. Johnson is responsible for five wins, while Larson’s 2021 win in the Round of 8 stands as the other victory. On three occasions in team history, the Texas playoff race winner went on to win the championship (Johnson in '07 and '13 and Larson in '21).
PHOTOS: Check out every win for Hendrick Motorsports at Texas
In the past two races at Texas, the Concord, North Carolina-based team has led 62% of the laps run (416 of 668). Over that span, Larson leads all drivers with 275 laps led. Byron has paced the field for 97 laps, while Elliott has been out front for 44 circuits.
Catch all of 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).