This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.
Kyle Larson went to Victory Lane for the second time in as many weeks Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. The Hendrick Motorsports driver kicked off the final round of elimination races in the best possible way and dominated the race, leading 256 of 334 laps to win and earn his first appearance in the championship finale in his first season with Hendrick. The team has two weeks to focus on preparing the best possible car for the championship-deciding trip to Phoenix while the remainder of the championship contenders have to figure out how to join him there. Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch leave Texas momentarily in the other championship spots, but those positions aren't set in stone yet, with Larson's teammate Chase Elliott just eight points behind Busch in fifth.
Two races remain for those drivers to lock themselves into the final four, and up this week is a return trip to Kansas Speedway. Kyle Busch won there earlier this season, leading just 20 laps to win a race Larson dominated. Those two split the stage wins that day, while Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top three. Keselowski's teammate, Joey Logano, won at the track last fall, which shows anything could still happen as the season marches toward its conclusion.