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Larson likes look of Round of 8 schedule

Texas Motor Speedway, Kanas Speedway and Martinsville Speedway are the trio of tracks that will determine the quartet of drivers who will advance to this year’s Championship 4 finale at Phoenix Raceway. Larson’s seventh win of the season last week in the Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s road course makes him the top seed in this round, and he has a 35-point advantage over second-place Denny Hamlin.

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The point lead and the style of tracks over the next three weeks have Larson feeling pretty good heading into Sunday’s Autotrader Echo Park Automotive 500 at Texas (2 p.m. on NBC/NBC Sports App, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

“I like that round a lot,” he said. “Texas is a track where I feel like I have done well at over the years and then Kansas is one of my best race tracks. Martinsville is probably my worst race track but we had a good race earlier this year and I think now, with me being at Hendrick Motorsports, just being in the cars and what they’ve brought to the track year after year, has made that place a little easier on me.”

Larson won at Texas earlier this year when he took home the checkered flag in the All-Star Race, which had a slightly different rules package that included less horsepower than what will be in play this weekend. But unlike previous seasons, there was not a regular-season points race at Texas, so teams will have to go back to last year’s notebook for data and information.

Despite winning the All-Star Race in June, Larson’s crew chief, Cliff Daniels, understands while there may be some information to be taken from that outing, getting the No. 5 Chevrolet set up just right is a moving target.

“Texas, we were not very good to start the All-Star Race but made a lot of changes to our car during the race to get it better, so certainly digging into what that was and making sure we get that right to start Texas will be important,” Daniels said.

That philosophy goes for Kansas and Martinsville as well, two tracks that were visited during the regular season.

“We certainly aren’t going to take for granted any of the success we have had at some of these places,” Daniels said.  “We are going to treat it like a new week and a new track and be a student of the game, but it’s definitely nice to have the notes to fall back on.”