The Round of 12 started at the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400, located in Fort Worth, Texas to kick off the second phase of NASCAR playoffs.
William Byron took the first place position and claimed his sixth win of the year, along with Hendrick Motorsports’ 300th win of all time. Byron took his opportunity to lead after the race restart that happened in earlier laps, due to a multi-car crash.
“It was a grinded out day and our team was there at the end,” Byron said to NBC Sports. “I’m really proud of this one, as hot as it was, as tough as it was so we’ll take it and go onto the next round.”
With this win at Texas, Byron clenches a spot in the fast approaching Round of 8.
Kyle Larson placed 31st at Fort Worth after crashing his Chevrolet Camaro. Larson seemed to not have air in Turn 1 which resulted in him sliding into the wall and spinning out onto the track. The back end of Larson’s car dropped back and right around Bubba Wallace’s No. 23 Toyota Camry. Wallace had to lift to be able to avoid an accident with the No. 5 Chevy after the two had been racing neck and neck.
“We just went in there side by side and I lost it really quickly and crashed,” Larson said to NBC Sports. “Pretty pretty bummed.”
Larson now sits eight in the playoff standings, just four points ahead of Wallace.
Wallace came in third place at Texas after avoiding his contact with Larson but was not satisfied with his finish at the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400.
“We’re racing for a win and just hate it. I should have just kept my line in the three and forced William to get tight but you’re still vulnerable in these cars,” Wallace said to NBC Sports. “Just upset myself, really needed a win there.”
Wallace stands ninth in the playoffs currently, and is just below the elimination line.
Ross Chastain occupied the second place spot and earned himself a sixth place standing in the second phase of playoffs. The No. 1 Chevy Camaro stands sixth in playoff rank.
Ryan Blaney finished the race in 28th despite running in second place for 21 laps. Blaney was involved in a big crash on the straightway, the No.12 took damage on the right rear tire after his car hit the side of the wall. After contact, the No.12 Ford Mustang spun out into the other drivers.
“It really took us out of having a good finish, and then you put yourself back there and then you get in a wreck,” Blaney said to NBC Sports. “So just a slight sliver of hope and proud work all day of getting better and getting stage points, and then a driver mistake puts us back in the stuff and gets wrecked.”
Blaney is at risk of finishing the round of 12 below the elimination line after his crash at Texas.
Next weekend the drivers race in Alabama, Talladega for the YellaWood 500. The race will consist of 188 laps and 500.8 miles overall. The race will take place on Oct. 1, and will begin at 2 p.m.