The Round of 8 for the NASCAR Cup Series begins this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway on Oct. 17, and Kyle Larson will be the first to take the green flag.
Larson, the winner of last weekend’s race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL and the current points leader, has collected seven wins in 2021 while leading more than 2,000 laps in the process. While he has never won a points-paying Cup race in Texas, he claimed victory in the All-Star Race held at Texas in June.
Starting on the outside pole will be Denny Hamlin, who has won two races in 2021 and sports the best average finish of all drivers this season. Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch will start third, while Team Penske teammates Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano will round out the top five.
Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr., will start sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. All three drivers were collected in incidents in last weekend’s cutoff race but survived to advance to the next round.
The starting order was calculated by a performance-based metric that puts 50% of the weight on the driver and car owner’s finishing positions from the Charlotte ROVAL (25% each), 35% of the weight on the team’s owner points standings, and 15% of the weight on the driver’s fastest lap ranking from the Charlotte ROVAL. The team that had lowest score was awarded the pole.
The Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 will take place on Oct. 17 at 1 p.m. ET, with TV coverage provided by NBC.
About the author
Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch, and his weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” Stephen also writes commentary, contributes weekly to the “Bringing the Heat” podcast and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage. A native of Texas, Stephen began following NASCAR at age 9 after attending his first race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Follow on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.
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