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In a dominant 2021 season, there are only two more boxes left to check for Kyle Larson that will make it complete: advance from the Round of 8 to the Championship 4, and then prevail in the championship race next month in Phoenix. Larson's first opportunity to advance from the Round of 8 comes this weekend, and he'll have the best starting spot possible as he tries to do so.

On Wednesday, NASCAR released the starting lineup for this week's Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, putting Kyle Larson on the pole by virtue of NASCAR's qualifying metric. The qualifying metric, which has awarded Larson the pole numerous times already this season, sets the starting lineup based on a formula that accounts for a driver's finishing position and fastest lap from the previous race as well as their points position.

After winning last weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, Larson stands tall over the eight remaining drivers in the NASCAR playoffs with a full 42 points above the cutoff line for the Championship 4. Larson, as well as the other remaining playoff drivers, can earn an automatic Championship 4 berth with wins either at Texas, Kansas Speedway, or Martinsville Speedway.

Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Starting Lineup

1. #5 - Kyle Larson
2. #11 - Denny Hamlin
3. #18 - Kyle Busch
4. #12 - Ryan Blaney
5. #22 - Joey Logano
6. #9 - Chase Elliott
7. #2 - Brad Keselowski
8. #19 - Martin Truex Jr.
9. #8 - Tyler Reddick
10. #17 - Chris Buescher
11. #20 - Christopher Bell
12. #24 - William Byron
13. #21 - Matt DiBenedetto
14. #48 - Alex Bowman
15. #3 - Austin Dillon
16. #34 - Michael McDowell
17. #1 - Kurt Busch
18. #23 - Bubba Wallace
19. #99 - Daniel Suarez
20. #41 - Cole Custer
21. #43 - Erik Jones
22. #10 - Aric Almirola
23. #37 - Ryan Preece
24. #4 - Kevin Harvick
25. #42 - Ross Chastain
26. #14 - Chase Briscoe (R)
27. #47 - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
28. #38 - Anthony Alfredo (R)
29. #7 - Corey LaJoie
30. #00 - Quin Houff
31. #6 - Ryan Newman
32. #77 - Justin Haley
33. #52 - Josh Bilicki
34. #51 - Cody Ware
35. #78 - B.J. McLeod
36. #15 - Garrett Smithley
37. #53 - Joey Gase
38. #66 - David Starr
39. #13 - Timmy Hill