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Kyle Larson Earns AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 Pole at Texas

Larson earns his 19th career pole in the NASCAR Cup Series, and his third in a row -- the first driver since Christopher Bell last Fall to do so.


hero image for Kyle Larson Earns AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 Pole at Texas

It’s been a pretty good week for Kyle Larson.

On Wednesday, Larson was second-quickest in open testing for the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Now, just three days later, the NASCAR Cup Series champion is on the pole for Sunday’s AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Elk Grove, California-native captured the 250th pole position for Hendrick Motorsports, posting a lap of 28.366 seconds (190.369mph) to lead the second and final round of single-vehicle qualifying from the 1.5-mile facility in Forth Worth, Texas.

For the 31-year-old driver, it’s the third straight NASCAR Cup Series pole, something that last happened last Fall with Christopher Bell scoring poles at Darlington, Kansas, and Bristol.

Larson led second-year NASCAR Cup Series driver Ty Gibbs in the final round of qualifying, giving the 21-year-old driver his fourth front-row start at NASCAR’s top level. Gibbs’ teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, Christopher Bell, qualified just behind him in third place.

Tyler Reddick earned a fourth-place starting spot in Saturday’s qualifying session, while Chase Briscoe earned his first top-five start of the season for Stewart-Haas Racing, in fifth. William Byron started sixth, with Ryan Blaney, Austin Cindric, Martin Truex, Jr., and Bubba Wallace rounding out the top-10.

RELATED: NCS AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 Starting Lineup

Ross Chastain narrowly missed the cut to advance into the final round of qualifying from Group A on Saturday, coming up 0.020 seconds short of Austin Cindric. The Trackhouse Racing driver will start 12th, one spot behind Denny Hamlin, who similarly came up one spot short of advancing through Group B.

Other notables not advancing to the final round of qualifying, and therefore starting outside the top-10, include Alex Bowman (14th), Daniel Suarez (17th), Joey Logano (20th), Brad Keselowski (22nd), Chase Elliott (24th), and Josh Berry (25th).

Austin Hill, making his first NASCAR Cup Series start of 2024, posted a lap time good enough for a 34th-place starting spot in his No. 33 United Rentals Chevrolet Camaro, a third entry for Richard Childress Racing.

Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson, both multi-time NASCAR Cup Series champions and multi-time winners at Texas Motor Speedway, will be starting Sunday’s event from the rear of the field after both drivers wrecked during Saturday’s 20-minute practice session.

Busch, who went to Victory Lane in Friday’s NASCAR Truck Series event at Texas Motor Speedway, had issues at the exit of the second corner when his No. 8 Chevrolet snapped loose and crashed into the outside wall. The Las Vegas, Nevada-native will go to a backup car.

Johnson, making his second of nine planned NASCAR Cup Series starts this season, was on the racetrack for his second run, when his No. 84 AdventHealth Toyota Camry XSE lost traction in the middle of the corner and slid into the outside wall. LEGACY MOTOR CLUB will attempt to fix his primary car.

Showing the closeness of the NASCAR Cup Series field, the gap between the fastest driver in the first round (Kyle Larson, 28.338s) and the slowest driver in the first round (Daniel Hemric, 29.107s) was under eight-tenths of a second throughout a 28-second lap.

Ty Gibbs, driving the No. 54 for Joe Gibbs Racing, showed speed in NASCAR Cup Series practice from Texas Motor Speedway, posting the first lap over 190mph at the 1.5-mile facility since the Fall of 2018. Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain and Alex Bowman were the top-five.

RELATED: NCS AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 Practice Results

Kyle Larson was the fastest driver in both the five-lap and 15-lap averages during practice, while Tyler Reddick was quickest in the 10-lap and 20-lap averages. Ty Gibbs was fastest in the 25-lap averages, and Chase Elliott was the only driver to run 30 consecutive laps in practice.

Larson will lead the field to green in Sunday’s AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway, the ninth race of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series campaign. Coverage for the event will begin at 3:30 PM ET on FOX Sports 1.

Photo Credit: Jonathan McCoy, TobyChristie.com

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