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Xfinity Series clinch scenarios for Phoenix

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With Sprint Cup regulars having won the last two races, no Xfinity Chase driver has locked up a spot in the Championship 4 entering Phoenix International Raceway.

All eight drivers enter the cutoff race eyeing a place in the championship race. It can be accomplished either through points or a win.

Daniel Suarez is at the top of the Chase grid with Elliott Sadler close behind.

Blake Koch and first-year team Kaulig Racing sit in the final transfer spot. Koch holds a one-point advantage over Justin Allgaier.

Brendan Gaughan is last on the Chase grid.

Here are the clinch scenarios for the Ticket Galaxy 200:

Daniel Suarez (0 wins, 3075 points) – Would clinch on points with 26 points (15th with no laps led, 15th with at least one lap led, or 16th with the most laps led). Would also clinch a spot with a win.

Elliott Sadler (0 wins, 3074 points) – Would clinch on points with 26 points (15th with no laps led, 15th with at least one lap led, or 16th with the most laps led). Would also clinch a spot with a win.

Erik Jones (0 wins, 3065 points) – Would clinch on points with 36 points (fifth with no laps led, sixth with at least one lap led, or seventh with the most laps led). Would also clinch a spot with a win.

Blake Koch (0 wins, 3059 points) – If there is a winner who has already been eliminated from Chase contention or is currently in a transfer spot, would clinch with a second-place finish. Would clinch a spot with a win. Could also clinch on points if there is a new winner and help.

Justin Allgaier (0 wins, 3058 points), Ryan Reed (0 wins, 3054 points), Darrell Wallace Jr. (0 wins, 3039 points), and Brendan Gaughan (0 wins, 3036 points) can only guarantee a spot with a win. Each could also clinch a spot on points with some help.

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NASCAR America: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. talks Phoenix finish, racing roots

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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. joins NASCAR America to go over his fourth-place finish at Phoenix Raceway.

The Roush Fenway Racing driver also shares his racing origins in Mississippi and the hobbies he and girlfriend Danica Patrick share with each other.

Stenhouse is in his fifth full-time year competing in the NASCAR Cup Series with Roush Fenway Racing.

NASCAR America: 50 States in 50 Shows: Alaska

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NASCAR America continues its journey through the United States with the second chapter in “50 States in 50 Shows.”

Following South Alabama Speedway, the show features Capitol Speedway and Alaska Raceway Park in Alaska.

Owned by Nancy and Wes Wallace, Capitol Speedway is a 3/8th-mile oval and features sprint car racing and demolition derbies.

 

Kevin Harvick crew chief fined, suspended one race for encumbered finish

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Kevin Harvick‘s crew chief, Rodney Childers, has been suspended for one NASCAR Cup Series race and fined $25,000 for an unapproved track bar slider assembly last weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

The penalty, a L1 infraction, results in an encumbered finish. Harvick placed sixth in the Camping World 500.

The No. 4 team has also been docked 10 driver and owner points. Harvick was seventh in the standings after four races. He trailed leader Kyle Larson by 61 points. The loss of points drops Harvick one spot to eighth behind Jamie McMurray.

Harvick has not won a race yet, which would qualify him for the playoffs.

MORE: Brad Keselowski closes crew chief for three races, team docked 35 driver points

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NASCAR docks Brad Keselowski, Team Penske 35 points; suspends crew chief Paul Wolfe

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NASCAR docked Brad Keselowski 35 points, suspended crew chief Paul Wolfe three races and fined Wolfe $65,000 because Keselowski’s car failed inspection after finishing fifth in last weekend’s race at Phoenix Raceway.

NASCAR also docked the team 35 owner points for the L1 infraction. NASCAR stated that Keselowski’s result is an encumbered finish.

NASCAR cited Keselowski’s car for failing weights and measurements on the laser platform. NASCAR stated in Wednesday’s penalty report that the team failed the rear wheel steer on the Laser Inspection Station. 

MORE: NASCAR suspends crew chief Rodney Childers one race

Team Penske issued a statement Wednesday:

“We have acknowledged the penalties levied against the No. 2 team following last weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.  The race cars returned to the race shop today and we are in the process of evaluating the area in question. In the meantime, we have decided Brian Wilson will serve as Brad Keselowski’s crew chief at Auto Club Speedway while we evaluate our approach relative to today’s penalties.”

The penalty drops Keselowski from second in the standings to fourth heading into this weekend’s race at Auto Club Speedway.

The more significant issue is how this could impact Keselowski, who already has a win, in the playoffs.

The top 10 in points before the playoffs begin earn additional points. The points leader earns 15 playoff points. The driver second in the standings earns 10 playoff points, the driver third in the standings earns eight playoff points, the driver fourth in the standings earns seven playoff points. It goes down to the driver 10th in the standings earning one playoff point.

Those playoff points carry through the first three rounds, which is different from last year. Falling behind in the regular season – or losing points because of a penalty – could have ramifications in the playoffs. 

“I think it’s real important to explain why points matter this year,” Keselowski said on Fox Sports 1’s “Race Hub” on Wednesday night. “Last year, you got a win and you locked in and you got to the next round. This year with points, you still lock in with wins. The difference is there’s a huge points bonus for having the most points at the end of the season that carries all the way through the playoffs, and you only get that bonus if you’re one of the best cars and leading up front at the end of the regular season, which requires having a lot of points. Thirty-five points is a pretty big deal, and so is 10 points for Kevin (Harvick) and his team.”

 

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