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Texas winners and losers

Kyle Larson wins at Texas Motor Speedway and advances to the Championship 4, while playoff drivers Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, and Martin Truex Jr. have rough afternoons in The Lone Star State.

A look at the winners and losers coming out of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway...


Kyle Larson - He nearly destroyed his NASCAR career with one awful mistake. He then set out on a mission to grow as a human being and better understand the world around him. Now, after winning Sunday’s Round of 8 playoff opener, he has a shot to win the top prize in America’s most popular motorsport Nov. 7 in Phoenix.

William Byron - Finished second after being eliminated from the playoffs in the Round of 12. Earned his fourth top-two finish of the season, including a win at Homestead. Also contributed to Hendrick Motorsports’ sixth 1-2 finish of the season. Led 55 laps Sunday, a career-best at Texas. He only led 24 laps over his previous six starts there.

Christopher Bell - Rallied from two laps down to finish third, a solid result after he was eliminated from the playoffs in the Round of 12. He also finished third last fall at Texas for now-defunct Leavine Family Racing.

Brad Keselowski - Finished fourth in one of his better performances on 1.5-mile tracks this season. He only gained one point to the cutline (moving from -16 to -15), but was still optimistic about his hopes to make the Championship 4.

Ryan Blaney - Finished sixth and scored 17 critical stage points doing it. His 48 overall points scored was second-best among the playoff drivers on Sunday (winner Kyle Larson scored 58) and the most he’s scored in a race during these playoffs. Blaney started the Round of 8 one point above the cutline. He heads to this weekend’s race at Kansas Speedway with a 17-point cushion.

Tyler Reddick - Was up for a top-five finish but contact from Kevin Harvick on the race’s next-to-last restart led to him nursing the No. 8 car home to a ninth-place finish. He’s posted three top-10 finishes in the last four races since being eliminated from the playoffs in the Round of 16.


Martin Truex Jr. - The slightest of contact from Daniel Suarez was enough to send Truex hard into the Turn 4 wall with 15 laps to go. That relegated him to a 25th-place finish. A lack of pace all day meant no stage points as well. It adds up to a 22-point deficit to the cutline going to Kansas.

Joey Logano - The former Cup champion lost his engine with 36 laps to go and finished 30th. Logano also failed to score stage points, which left him at a 43-point deficit below the cutline. “I don’t know if it is a ‘holy crap’ moment - it is just a real letdown moment,” Logano said afterwards.

Alex Bowman - Swept up in a 15-car crash on the backstretch at Lap 31. While he was eliminated from the playoffs in the Round of 12, the seven-race postseason run has seen him post an average finish of 21st and just one top-five finish. He later dubbed it the “Playoffs. From. Hell.” on social media.