NASCAR announces 20 nominees for 2016 Hall of Fame Class

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A driver whose dogged determination led to a championship, a crew chief who revolutionized the sport, and a competitor whose career was measured as much by his impact on the track as by his trips to Victory Lane, are among the new nominees for the 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame Class.

The 20 nominees were announced Friday night on NASCAR AMERICA on NBCSN. Hall of Fame voters will select the next five-member class May 20.

There are five first-time nominees – Alan Kulwicki, Ray Evernham, Mark Martin, Harry Hyde and Hershel McGriff.

The other 15 nominees have been eligible for the Hall of Fame previously. They are: Buddy Baker, Red Byron, Richard Childress, Jerry Cook, Ray Fox, Rick Hendrick, Bobby Isaac, Terry Labonte, Raymond Parks, Benny Parsons, Larry Phillips, Bruton Smith, Mike Stefanik, Curtis Turner and Robert Yates.

Kulwicki, selected as one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers, nipped Bill Elliott for the 1992 championship by 10 points, completing a dramatic late-season rally for the title. Kulwicki died less than five months after winning the championship in a plane crash en route to a race at Bristol. He finished with five wins and 24 poles in 207 Cup starts.

Martin, whose driving etiquette influenced many competitors, won 40 Sprint Cup races and 49 Xfinity races. His Xfinity victories rank second all time in the series. He ranks 17th in career Cup victories. Martin also finished as the Sprint Cup championship runner-up five times.

Hyde, a crew chief who won the 1970 championship with Isaac, was the inspiration for the Harry Hogge character in the 1990 movie “Days of Thunder.’’ He helped Isaac to 28 wins in 1969-70. Among the drivers Hyde was paired with was Tim Richmond. They won seven races in 1986.

Evernham won three championships as Jeff Gordon’s crew chief in the 1990s for Hendrick Motorsports. Evernham revolutionized the sport with the advent of a dedicated pit crew and the calls he made during races.

McGriff, who was selected as one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers, raced in the sport’s top series in four different decades. The 87-year-old last competed in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race in 2012.

Also revealed were the five nominees for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contribution to NASCAR: Harold Brasington, H. Clay Earles, Raymond Parks, Ralph Seagraves, and Ken Squier.

NASCAR Power Rankings: Kevin Harvick still No. 1 after quiet Vegas

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Kevin Harvick didn’t have a flashy night Sunday in Las Vegas, but it didn’t keep him from retaining the No. 1 spot in this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings.

After winning the Bristol night race, Harvick finished in the top 10 in the first two stages in Vegas before placing 10th at race’s end.

Kurt Busch’s win at his home track vaulted him into the top 10 as 12 drivers received votes.

More: Playoff standings after Las Vegas

Here is this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings:

1. Kevin Harvick (Last week No. 1): In the last eight races he’s won three times and finished outside the top 10 only twice.

2. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week No. 5): Placed fourth for his 11th top-five finish in the last 14 races.

3. Alex Bowman (Last week unranked): Finished fifth for his second top five and fifth top-10 finish in the last six races.

4. Denny Hamlin (Last week unranked): Left Vegas with a third-place finish to snap a three-race streak of finishing outside the top 10.

5. Kurt Busch (Last week unranked): Snapped a 46-race winless streak with his victory and advanced to the Round of 8.

6. Kyle Busch (Last week No. 3): Finished sixth after a “dismal” night. He has four consecutive top 10s.

7. Brad Keselowski (Last week No. 5): Finished 13th to give him two finishes outside the top 10 since he won at Richmond.

8. Chase Briscoe (Last week unranked): Opened the Xfinity playoffs with his second consecutive win.

8. Chase Elliott (Last week No. 2): Led 73 laps, but had to settle for a 22nd-place finish in Vegas.

8. Joey Logano (Last week No. 3): Finished 14th for his second straight finish outside the top 10.

Also receiving votes: Erik Jones and Chris Buescher.

NASCAR announces changes to Kansas playoff weekend

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Citing “programming changes,” NASCAR announced shifts in the race dates and start times for its visit next month to Kansas Speedway.

The Xfinity, ARCA and Truck Series races have been shifted, while the Cup race remains at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 18.

The biggest move is the Truck Series race shifting from Friday night to Saturday afternoon.

Here are the changes.

Friday, Oct. 16, 8:30 p.m. ETARCA Menards Series on FS1 or FS2; network TBD at a later date (previously at 10 p.m. ET)

Saturday, Oct. 17, 4 p.m. ETTruck Series on FOX (previously Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. ET on FS1)

Saturday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m. ET Xfinity on NBCSN (previously 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN)

 

Xfinity Series playoff standings after Las Vegas

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Chase Briscoe opened the Xfinity Series playoffs by earning his second consecutive win.

His victory Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway gives him 57 playoff points and an automatic spot in the Round of 8.

Harrison Burton holds the final transfer spot. He has a two-point advantage over Ross Chastain.

Behind Chastain below the cutline are Michael Annett (-10 points), Riley Herbst (-14) and Brandon Brown (-20).

Below is the full Xfinity Series playoff standings going into Saturday’s race at Talladega (4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Drivers in red are below the cutline to advance. Drivers in yellow are in the remaining playoff spots.

Xfinity Series playoff standings

Cup playoff standings after Las Vegas

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Kurt Busch flipped the script on the Cup playoff standings with his win Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

He entered the Round of 12 as the last driver in the playoff standings, but is the first driver to clinch a spot in the Round of 8.

Replacing Busch in the bottom spot of the playoff standings is Austin Dillon. He is 32 points behind Alex Bowman, who holds the final cutoff spot.

Behind Bowman is Kyle Busch (-9 points), Clint Bowyer (-20), Aric Almirola (-27) and Dillon.

“Obviously, the 1 car (Kurt Busch) was not a car that we needed to win a race,” Clint Bowyer said after Sunday’s race. “It’s been a hell of a battle back there with cars that are kind of in the same wheelhouse as far as points-wise. (Kurt Busch) winning changes that landscape quite a bit, but we’re only 20 points out.”

Here is the full playoff standings entering Sunday’s playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET on NBC).

Drivers in red are below the cutline to advance to the Round of 8. Drivers in yellow hold the remaining available playoff spots.

Cup playoff standings