Larson Earns NASCAR Cup Series Pole for Sunday’s Autotrader Echopark Automotive 400

Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports claimed his third consecutive pole of the NASCAR Cup Series season during Saturday’s qualifying for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Larson, the last driver among the 10 in the second and final round of qualifying, posted a lap of 28.366 seconds / 190.369 miles per hour on the 1.5-mile oval to unseat Ty Gibbs of Joe Gibbs Racing for the pole position.

He edged Gibbs (28.401 / 190.134) by .035 of a second in his No. 5 Chevrolet for the 19th pole of his career and milestone 250th for Hendrick Motorsports. His poles in the previous two races came at Richmond and Martinsville, respectively.

Larson will lead the 38-car field to the green flag for the start of Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 beginning at 2:30 p.m. CT (TV: FS1, Radio: PRN, SiriusXM Radio, Lone Star 92.5 FM locally). Click HERE for the complete starting lineup.

“Yeah, it was a pretty intense qualifying session,” Larson said. “I felt like the track was really slick in practice, and then having to kind of talk to yourself before you make your lap, knowing that you have to commit even more than you did in practice to go fast is difficult. And then just the lap itself – the first round and second round both, there were moments where you have grip, and then moments where you’re like man, I’m going to crash. It’s pretty intense from behind the wheel, but always great when you can accomplish a pole and feel like you beat your confidence a little bit.”

Despite losing his bid for his first career Cup Series pole, Gibbs matched his season-best qualifying performance that he set at Phoenix and matched at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

JGR teammate Christopher Bell qualified third with a lap of 28.417 secs. / 190.027 mph that established a season-best starting position for the Norman, Okla., native. Toyota grabbed three of the top four positions with Tyler Reddick of 23XI Racing qualifying fourth (28.450 / 189.807). Chase Briscoe of Stewart-Haas Racing landed Ford in the top five by equaling his season-best qualifying effort with a lap of 28.458 secs. / 189.753 mph.

The top 10 qualifiers were separated by just .316 of a second, with Toyota earning half of those positions. RFK Racing driver Chris Buescher, a native of nearby Prosper, Texas, will start 19th.

In Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series action, Sam Mayer of JR Motorsports nipped Ryan Sieg of RSS Racing by a scant .002 of a second for a photo finish victory in the Andy’s Frozen Custard 300. The margin of victory was the second-closest finish in series history.

“That’s unreal,” Mayer said. “I was like a second and a half back probably at one point, so to pick up that much time in that little time is certainly unreal and shows how good our Carolina Carports Chevrolet was today. We definitely took a lot of swings at it to get it better, but obviously we led the most important lap there at the end.

“We didn’t dominate by any means, but we certainly worked our tails off to get there at that point. To win it like that … I’ve been on the short end of that stick a couple times so to come out on top is really cool.”

Sieg, the 36-year-old veteran in his 12th season, found himself in position for his first career Xfinity Series victory in 342 career starts as the race leader on a restart with 10 laps remaining.

He fended off Mayer until that final lap, where Mayer made an inside move exiting Turn 2 to take the lead. Sieg returned the favor between Turns 3 and 4 and the two banged side by side down the frontstretch to the start/finish line that resulted in the dramatic photo finish of a few inches difference.

“Awe, it sucks,” said Sieg on his third career runner-up finish. “We had a really good car. I just got tight, so tried to change my lines, do everything. I saw him coming and I did all I could do and at the end I was just trying to run him up into the wall to try to win the race. We were so close. This sucks. 

“I’ve been second before. Too many times. But this is a good thing, means we’re running where we need to be in the top five. … Just got to keep fighting, we’re right there, just got to keep it up. We’ll have it in Victory Lane here shortly.”

The victory was Mayer’s first of the season and fifth of his career. It may have been the most lucrative of those five as he earned the $100,000 bonus in the Xfinity Series Dash for Cash program. Based off the previous race results, he was one of four drivers who was eligible to secure the bonus if they won the Andy’s Frozen Custard 300.

For the majority of the 200-lap race, it didn’t appear that a dramatic finish between these two would even be in the cards.

JR Motorsports driver Justin Allgaier, successful but winless in 26 career starts at Texas, had the dominant car, but had to settle for a third-place finish. He won the first two stages, led four times for a race-high 117 laps and held the lead as late as Lap 174 when misfortune struck.

Allgaier made contact while passing the lapped car of Kyle Weatherman that led to a caution and dropped him to fourth on the restart. He remained in the mix up front for those final 20 laps, but never got back into position to challenge Sieg and Mayer for the lead.

Rounding out the top five behind Mayer, Sieg and Allgaier was Kaulig Racing’s AJ Allmendinger in fourth and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer in fifth. Click HERE for the full results.

Tickets are on sale now for the April 14 Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 NASCAR Cup Series race (2:30 p.m. CT on FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90 and Lone Star 92.5 – local).

Tickets are on sale now at

The balance of Texas Motor Speedway’s 2024 major event season includes the High Limit Sprint Car Series (April 13), Fuel Fest (April 20), the Goodguys Rod & Custom/American Flat Track/Pate Swap Meet tripleheader weekend (April 25-28), C-10 Nationals (May 10-12), LS Fest (May 18), Bandas y Trocas (May 25), Solar Car Challenge (July 11-17), SuperMotocross World Championship Playoff 2 (Sept. 14), Goodguys Rod & Custom (Sept. 27-29), American Sprint Car Series (Oct. 4-5), the High Limit Sprint Car Series inaugural season finale (Oct. 11-12) and the Gordy’s Hwy 30 Fest Texas (Oct. 17-20).