The NASCAR playoff race is closer than ever in the first race of Round of 8 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday.
Chaos will undoubtedly unfold on the 1.5-mile track as playoff drivers scramble to land or stay above the cut line for the season-ending Championship 4 race.
Sixth-place driver Chase Elliott is 43 points behind first-place driver Kyle Larson, who won last week’s race at Charlotte’s Roval Course. Elliott rallied to finish 12th in that race after being wrecked by Kevin Harvick. Had the catastrophe not happened, Elliott would have had a chance to score more points and secure a spot in the top four. Harvick himself crashed late in the race and was knocked out of the playoffs.
MORE: Harvick ruins Elliott, then crashes out of playoffs
The feud between the two escalated in Charlotte after an incident in Bristol three weeks ago. NASCAR took additional measures last week to make sure the feud doesn’t continue. It organized a conference on Wednesday with both drivers, their crew chiefs, car owners and manufacturer representatives, in which they warned of dire consequences if they did not break their beef.
Lineup in Texas: Starting order, pole for playoff race without qualifying
The Sporting News is tracking live updates and lap-by-lap highlights from NASCAR’s playoff races at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday. Follow for full results from Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500.
MORE: Watch today’s NASCAR races with fuboTV (7-day free trial)
NASCAR Live Updates in Texas, Highlights from the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500
Eastern all the time.
2:24: Byron heads to Pitt Road, followed by Martin Truex Jr. Kyle Bush was called out for speeding on the pit road and would be sent back.
2:22: Larsson leads on lap 25, followed by Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, William Byrne and Kyle Busch.
2:19: Larsson holds a two-second lead over Joey Logano with three laps to go and goes before the competition’s caution.
2:14: Kevin Harvick seems to be struggling at number 29. Chase Elliott is crawling into 22nd after starting from behind.
2:11: Kyle Larsson took an early lead of five laps behind Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin.
2:08: Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 operates.
2:00: Engines run before the green flag at Texas Motor Speedway.
1:45: Bowman will also go backwards for rejected adjustments.
1:30: Chase Elliott would fall backwards after failing twice.
NASCAR start times today
- Time: 2 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: NBC
- live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports App, Peacock, fuboTV
The green light for Sunday’s NASCAR playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway is set to drop at 2:08 p.m. ET.
How to Watch NASCAR in Texas
- TV Channel: NBC
- live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports App, fuboTV
- radio: PRN
NBC’s programming will begin at 1:30 p.m. ET with the network’s “Countdown to Green” prerace show, hosted by Marty Snyder with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Dougherty. Rick Allen will handle the play-by-play call of the race. Earnhardt, Jeff Burton and Steve Letert will provide the analysis.
Snyder, Kelly Stavast and Parker Kligerman will be pit reporters. Daughterty will provide additional reporting from around the track.
NASCAR Cup Playoff Standings
The Round of 8 field was scheduled for last weekend with the Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Kyle Larsen kicked out of that race with the win and took a 42-point lead over Kyle Busch, the first driver below the cut line for the season-ending Championship 4 race.
The grounds are tightly tied after Larsen; Second to sixth placed drivers are separated by just eight points. This closeness makes winning one of the next three races extremely important. A playoff driver who wins a race in Round 8 automatically qualifies for the Championship 4 race on November 7 at Phoenix Raceway.
“You have to be really good. You have to do a good job every round of every race. You have to get your stage points,” Larsson said of the challenge of being a front-runner. “You can’t let your guard down and lose ground on guys who are scoring points on you. Yes, it’s nice to have (65) bonus points, but I hope we don’t depend on them Will have to be like we did in Talladega, or were going to (Charlotte).”
Larsson finished 37th after a wreck at Talladega. That result cost him more than half his lead over the first driver below the cut line, who was Kevin Harvick to race Charlotte.
Five previous Cup Series champions are in this year’s final eight: Bush, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.
|3||Martin Truex Jr.||4029|
NASCAR is launching lineup in Texas
NASCAR used a mathematical formula to set the starting lineup for Sunday’s playoff race at the Autotrader Ecopark Automotive 500, Texas Motor Speedway. Twenty-nine cars were entered for the race, one less than a full field. Playoff drivers are indicated by a “P” next to their name.
According to NASCAR playoff rules, the top eight spots in the field went to the eight remaining playoff drivers, but the starting order was based on the mathematical formula that NASCAR has used for most of its races this season.
|start position.||Driver||car number||Team|
|1||p-kyle larson||5||Hendrick Motorsports|
|2||p-denny hamlin||1 1||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|3||P-Kyle Buscho||18||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|4||P-Ryan Blaney||12||team penske|
|5||p-joy logano||22||team penske|
|6||P-Chase Elliot||9||Hendrick Motorsports|
|7||P-Brad Kiselowski||2||team penske|
|8||P-Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|9||tyler reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing|
|10||Chris Bucher||17||Roush Fenway Racing|
|1 1||Christopher Bell||20||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|12||William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports|
|13||Matt DiBenedetto||21||Wood Brothers Racing|
|14||alex bowman||48||Hendrick Motorsports|
|15||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing|
|16||Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports|
|17||kurt bushow||1||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|18||Bubba Wallace||23||23XI Racing|
|19||Daniel Suarez||99||trackhouse racing|
|20||cole caster||41||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|21||Eric Jones||43||Richard Petty Motorsports|
|22||Eric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|23||Ryan Preece||37||JTG Daughterty Racing|
|24||Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|25||Ross Chastain||42||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|26||Chase Brisco||14||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|27||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daughterty Racing|
|28||Anthony Alfredo||38||Front Row Motorsports|
|29||Corey Lajoie||7||Spire Motorsports|
|30||quinn hough||00||Starcom Racing|
|31||Ryan Newman||6||Roush Fenway Racing|
|32||Justin Haley||77||Spire Motorsports|
|33||josh bilicky||52||Rick Ware Racing|
|34||kodi ware||51||thong ware racing|
|35||BJ McLeod||78||Live Fast Motorsports|
|36||Garrett Smithley||15||Rick Ware Racing|
|37||joy gas||53||Rick Ware Racing|
|38||David Starr||66||Motorsports Business Management|
|39||Timmy Hill||13||Motorsports Business Management|
Tom Gatto contributed to this report.