Kurt Busch fastest in Sprint Cup’s first Auto Club practice session

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For the second straight week, Kurt Busch led the first Sprint Cup practice session, this time at Auto Club Speedway.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver took the spot with a speed of 186.741 mph.

He was followed by Denny Hamlin at 185.385 mph and Martin Truex Jr. at 185.385 mph.

Brett Moffitt, substituting for Brian Vickers in the No. 55 Aaron’s Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, finished 27th on the speed chart at 181.548 mph. Chris Buescher, Moffitt’s replacement driver in the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford, came in at 29th with a speed of 181.310 mph. His eight laps were the first he’s ever taken at Auto Club Speedway.

While Carl Edwards finished the session in 11th at 183.814 mph, the Joe Gibbs driver will go to a backup car after his No. 19 Toyota hit the frontstretch wall late in the session.

The red flag came out a few minutes into the session after Greg Biffle hit the outside wall coming out of Turn 4. Biffle finished the session 26th fastest at 181.892 mph.

1. Kurt Busch … 186.741 … 8 laps
2. Denny Hamlin … 185.385 … 5 laps
3. Martin Truex Jr. … 185.180 … 9 laps
4. Brad Keselowski. … 185.019 … 13 laps
5. Jimmie Johnson. … 185.000 … 7 laps
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. … 184.871 … 17 laps
7. Ryan Newman … 184.767 … 15 laps
8. David Ragan … 184.379 … 15 laps
9. Jeff Gordon … 184.280 … 22 laps
10. Danica Patrick … 184.058 … 12 laps
11. Carl Edwards … 183.814 … 9 laps
12. Kevin Harvick … 183.645 … 6 laps
13. Austin Dillon … 183.538 … 12 laps
14. Matt Kenseth … 183.486 … 9 laps
15. Kasey Kahne … 183.369 … 13 laps
16. Joey Logano … 183.253 … 12 laps
17. Jamie McMurray … 183.211 … 14 laps
18. AJ Allmendinger … 183.155 … 10 laps
19. Kyle Larson … 183.006 … 11 laps
20. Alex Bowman … 182.997 … 3 laps
21. Aric Almirola … 182.871 … 7 laps
22. Clint Bowyer … 182.857 … 10 laps
23. Tony Stewart … 182.514 … 11 laps
24. Brian Scott … 182.436 … 8 laps
25. Paul Menard … 182.380 … 12 laps
26. Greg Biffle … 181.892 … 6 laps
27. Brett Moffitt … 181.548 … 14 laps
28. Justin Allgaier … 181.420 … 12 laps
29. Chris Buescher … 181.310 … 8 laps
30. Casey Mears … 181.219 … 12 laps
31. Michael Annett … 180.800 … 14 laps
32. Sam Hornish Jr. … 180.777 … 8 laps
33. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. … 180.786 … 7 laps
34. Cole Whitt … 180.628 … 7 laps
35. Trevor Bayne … 179.847 … 7 laps
36. Jeb Burton … 179.641 … 11 laps
37. Josh Wise … 179.574 … 3 laps
38. Landon Cassill … 179.439 … 7 laps
39. Mike Bliss … 178.753 … 9 laps
40.David Gilliland … 178.713 … 8 laps
41. JJ Yeley … 178.625 … 7 laps
42. Reed Sorenson … 178.540 … 13 laps
43. Travis Kvapil … 177.940 … 9 laps

44. Matt DiBenedetto … 175.174 … 4 laps

45. Brendan Gaughan … 174.571 … 6 laps

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