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April 14, 2024

Racing Insights: Hendrick Motorsports expected to bring the heat to Texas

Kyle Larson and William Byron celebrate
Meg Oliphant
Getty Images

After short-track action on the East Coast, the Cup Series now shifts to high speeds at Texas Motor Speedway for the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 this Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN Radio, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio).

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After a stor ybook 1-2-3 Hendrick Motorsports finish at Martinsville last weekend, Racing Insights expects the powerhouse organization to follow up that act with a 1-2 finish on Sunday, this time with Kyle Larson leading the charge.

The No. 5 Chevrolet driver has been known to put on a clinic at 1.5-mile tracks — see his Las Vegas victory earlier this year for recent proof. Since joining Hendrick, he’s led 2,399 out of a possible 7,017 laps on 1.5-milers. In the Next Gen era, Larson not only has the most wins on 1.5-mile tracks (three), but he has won 31% of all stages on intermediates (10 out of 32 stages). When it comes to the Texas circuit in particular, Larson ranks first in most lap runs in the top 10 (438) and second when running in the top five (262).

Following Larson in the projections is his teammate and current three-time winner this season William Byron, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin, Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney and JGR’s Martin Truex Jr. to round out the top five. Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell, Brad Keselowski and Bubba Wallace complete the projected top 10.

With the last three races at Texas Motor Speedway each bringing out more than 10 cautions, expect it to be another action-packed weekend deep in the heart of Texas.


TYLER REDDICK: While it’s been mostly the Hendrick and JGR show in 2024, don’t overlook the speed of 23XI Racing this weekend. For Reddick, he was a winner at Texas back in the fall of ’22 and has finished in the top 10 at the circuit in two of the last three races. Additionally, in Reddick’s last seven starts on 1.5-mile tracks, he has four top-five finishes and six top-10s, which is the best of all drivers across that span.

BUBBA WALLACE: Wallace put his No. 23 Toyota on the pole and led 111 laps before ultimately finishing third at Texas last fall. Intermediate tracks have also been Wallace’s specialty. In the last 11 races on 1.5-mile tracks, he has five top-five finishes, which is tied for third during that span. After a fourth-place finish at Martinsville last week, Sunday provides a good opportunity for the 23XI driver to build more momentum.

BRAD KESELOWSKI: Keselowski has been able to string together only a handful of respectable finishes so far this season. While the No. 6 Ford somewhat struggled at Martinsville, the intermediate at Texas presents a good opportunity for the 2012 champ to bounce back on Sunday. Keselowski is a 14-time winner on 1.5-mile tracks and currently has five consecutive top-10 finishes at Texas Motor Speedway — best in the series.

ERIK JONES: Since the reconfiguration of the track at Texas, Jones has piled up seven top-10 finishes at the circuit. Jones also ranks fourth in laps run inside the top five in the Next Gen car with 207. Finally, Jones owns a 10.7 average finish in the last 10 Texas races, which is fifth best among the current Cup Series field.

JIMMIE JOHNSON: Johnson’s last start at Texas Motor Speedway was back in 2020, and it’s rare to see a part-time driver in contention for a win on a non-road course. However, when the part-time driver is a seven-time champion and a newly inducted Hall of Famer who used to dominate the track, it’s hard to count him out. Plus, given the speed the Toyotas have shown this season, it’s worth keeping an eye on Johnson and seeing how he progresses this weekend.


Racing Insights’ advanced statistical formula includes current track, current track type, recent performance, team data and pit-crew data to arrive at a projected winner and full race results.

FinishCar NumberDriver
15Kyle Larson
224William Byron
311Denny Hamlin
412Ryan Blaney
545Tyler Reddick
619Martin Truex Jr.
720Christopher Bell
81Ross Chastain
923Bubba Wallace
1022Joey Logano
1154Ty Gibbs
129Chase Elliott
136Brad Keselowski
1414Chase Briscoe
1548Alex Bowman
1699Daniel Suárez
1717Chris Buescher
1810Noah Gragson
198Kyle Busch
2034Michael McDowell
2143Erik Jones
223Austin Dillon
2377Carson Hocevar
242Austin Cindric
257Corey LaJoie
264Josh Berry
2741Ryan Preece
2847Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
2942John Hunter Nemechek
3051Justin Haley
3171Zane Smith
3284Jimmie Johnson
3321Harrison Burton
3438Todd Gilliland
3516Ty Dillon
3631Daniel Hemric
3715Kaz Grala
3833Austin Hill