Kyle Larson Punches Championship 4 Ticket at Texas.

Texas Motor Speedway, the first of 3 tracks in the round of 8 where drivers will have 3 races to win and lock themselves into the season finale at Phoenix, otherwise they need to get in on points. Texas is looked at as one of the worst tracks on the schedule and has been on a steep decline for years and is looking like it will be one of the next tracks that gets removed from the schedule. This is for many reasons, the biggest reason being that after the reaper there was a need for a PJ1 traction compound that has since stained the track making it a 1 groove track. This week Texas changed their method and placed down resin like what was used at Nashville, this did not work but at least an effort was made to improve the racing. 

With all that being said this was one of the better Texas races we have seen since the repave. This was mainly due to the playoff parody that we saw throughout the field of drivers left in contention for the Cup Series championship. The biggest playoff shakeup was 3 time winner Martin Truex Jr. falling so far down below the cutline that he is essentially putting himself in a must win situation, which is not the end of his hopes due to his recent dominance at Martinsville. Joey Logano also fell below the cut line and is very much so into a must win after blowing an engine mid race. Some drivers also rose to the top from the bottom of the barrel where they have been racing all playoffs. Brad Keswlowski, someone who was written off very early in the season, is putting together a late season push to make it to the final 4 with the best run he has had in all playoffs. Chase Elliott came from the back of the field and charged through the field and settled into the top 5-9 all race closing the gap between him and Kyle Busch. 

The biggest story of the entire race was Kyle Larson. Larson has officially gone from rideless to a Cup Series contender in 1 year, a journey many thought would not be possible. Larson took the lead and did not look back before he parked his car in victory lane and punched his final 4 ticket. 

These next two weeks of Kansas and Martinsville are crucial for drivers below the cu tline like Logano and Elliott, but are also crucial for the guys right above the line such as Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin, who are both one mistake away from being back below the line with 1 race to go in the playoffs. These next few weeks will be exciting to watch and see who rises up and who chokes their big shot away.

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