Kyle Busch wins pole for Cup playoff opener at Chicagoland

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Kyle Busch won the pole for the Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, which is the opening race of the playoffs.

It is the seventh pole of the season for Busch, who claimed the spot with a speed of 187.963 mph.

The starting top five for the race is Busch, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski.

“It’s because I’m in a Toyota, that’s why, right?” Busch joked with NBCSN, referring to the Twitter exchange between him and Keselowski earlier in the day. “Just great adjustments right there. We were kind of a little bit free those first couple of runs and just trying to get the balance right and obviously the last round the balance was way better. Really able to attack and get the most out of it and that’s all she had.”

Also starting in the top 10 will be Kyle Larson (sixth), Chase Elliott (eighth), Austin Dillon (ninth) and Matt Kenseth (10th).

Ryan Blaney did not make a lap in the final round after he ran out of gas and will start 12th.

Five other playoff drivers made it to the second round.

Jimmie Johnson (14th), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (15th), Ryan Newman (16th), Kurt Busch (17th)  and Jamie McMurray (19th).

“A step in the right direction,” Johnson told NBCSN. “Starting in the seventh row is a lot better than where we’ve started here recently. If we can move forward like we typically do in the race, get in the top 10, top five, it can completely change the outcome of the race and get momentum going the right way for us. We’re digging deep. I think we’ve improved some. … It’s time for this 48 to get hot.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 20th in his last Chicagoland start.

Erik Jones did not make a lap in the second round after he spun exiting Turn 4 with about six minutes left in the round.

Kasey Kahne was the only playoff driver who failed to advance out of the first round. He will start 25th in the postseason opener.

“We were missing rear grip, we didn’t have any,” Kahne told NBCSN. “We were terrible in practice. We were terrible in qualifying. Tomorrow’s a new day and we’ll do everything we can to be much better. But today was awful.”

Ray Black Jr. qualified 39th for his Cup Series debut. He is driving the No. 51 for Rick Ware.

Click here for qualifying results.

Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer tied at top of Xfinity playoff standings

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Justin Allgaier and Cole Custer are tied for the top spot in the Xfinity playoff standings after the playoff opener at Kentucky Speedway.

Each driver has 2,057 points.

Allgaier finished third after bouncing back from losing a tire on Lap 19 and going two laps down. He was two laps down for 27 laps and one lap down for 30 before getting back on the lead lap.

Custer, who finished fifth, won the first two stages of the race, earning two playoff points in the process.

The top five in points are Allgaier, Custer, Elliott Sadler (-2), Daniel Hemric (-5) and William Byron (-6).

Click here for the points standings.

Results from Xfinity race at Kentucky Speedway

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images
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Tyler Reddick scored his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win, leading a 1-2 finish for Chip Ganassi Racing on Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.

Reddick beat teammate Brennan Poole by 14.5 seconds in the playoff opener.

Reddick is the seventh different winner in the last seven series races. He led twice for 66 laps. Reddick had not led any laps until Saturday night.

Playoff contender Justin Allgaier rallied from two laps down after a right front tire went down early in the 200-lap race to finish third. Ryan Preece placed fourth. Rookie Cole Custer, who won both stages, finished fifth.

Click here for race results

Tyler Reddick wins playoff opener at Kentucky for first career Xfinity victory

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Tyler Reddick, a part-time driver for Chip Ganassi Racing, led 66 laps to win the Xfinity Series playoff opener at Kentucky Speedway.

In his rookie year in the series, Reddick earned the win in his 15th start in the No. 42 Chevrolet.

The 21-year-old driver beat teammate Brennan Poole, Justin Allgaier, Ryan Preece and Cole Custer.

“I don’t know if it was necessarily me making a statement, it’s just Chip Ganassi Racing making a statement,” Reddick told NBCSN. “(Crew chief) Mike Shiplett has brought me from ground zero all the way to here. All the guys at Ganassi have gone above and beyond in helping me become a better driver. To be here today is surreal.”

Reddick, who had not led a lap before Saturday night, took the lead for the first time on Lap 126 of the 200-lap race.

Reddick is the fourth Xfinity driver to get his first win this season.

Saturday’s win comes after it was announced on Sept. 14 that Reddick would join JR Motorsports full-time in 2018.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Cole Custer

STAGE 2 WINNER: Cole Custer

MORE: Race results

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Justin Allgaier bounced back from losing a tire and going two laps down to finish third. He leaves Kentucky tied with Cole Custer at the top of the playoff standings. … Brennan Poole’s runner-up finish is a career-best result in 77 starts … Ryan Preece has finished in the top four in all three of his starts for Joe Gibbs Racing. … Ryan Reed finished 10th, ending an eight-race streak without a top 10.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Sam Hornish Jr. finished 31st, nine laps down after contact with Brandon Jones on Lap 53 caused him to hit the wall at the exit of Turn 2, forcing him to pit for repairs. … William Byron finished 18th, two laps down after he was forced to pit on Lap 101 for a loose wheel.

NOTABLE: Reddick is the seventh different driver to win in the last seven races this season. … Reddick is the seventh different winner in the last eight races at Kentucky.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “I was about the color of my car (red) there for a little bit.” – Justin Allgaier after finishing third following a rebound from going two laps down early in the race.

NEXT: Drive Sober 200 at Dover International Speedway at 3 p.m. ET on Sept. 30 on NBCSN.

Social Roundup: Sights from first Martinsville night race

Marty Snider
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The wait is over.

Night racing at Martinsville Speedway is now a reality.

After tests and practice sessions, the half-mile track in Virginia is hosting the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 and its qualifying races tonight for the NASCAR Late Model Series.

In attendance at the race are Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Daniel Suarez, as well as NBCSN’s Marty Snider, who is watching his son Myatt compete in the race.

Here’s a look at some of the sights and sounds from the historic night for NASCAR’s oldest track.