Race Team Alliance partners with Draft Kings in marketing deal

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The Race Team Alliance, the group of 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup teams that initially formed in 2014 in an effort to help lower costs, has announced its first marketing deal.

The RTA has announced the organization has entered a multi-year marketing deal with Draft Kings Inc., a daily fantasy sports company. According to a press release, along with NASCAR, “the teams will support and promote the free NASCAR game on DraftKings.com with team marks, social and digital media initiatives, and other activation programs.”

The partnership begins Sunday with the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, which will air on NBC.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with DraftKings, an innovative and fast growing company,” said Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing and Chairman of the RTA in a press release. “We believe this partnership will be appealing to our existing fan base as well as potentially attracting new ones. The teams look forward to helping promote the new free online fantasy game, and supporting DraftKings as it makes a strong entrance into the sport.”

The RTA consists of every Sprint Cup team except for Furniture Row Racing, which fields the No. 78 of Martin Truex Jr.

A recent ESPN report said team owners and NASCAR have been in discussions regarding the “long-term value” of race teams.

Kauffman appeared on SiriusXm NASCAR Thursday afteroon to further discuss the RTA -Draft Kings deal.

“I think it’s primarily intended to be a commercial space to help facilitate people like Draft Kings or others to get into the sport and grow the sport,” Kauffman said. “I don’t think there’s any intention to, at this stage, for the RTA to be part of the conversation.

Kauffman said RTA is meant to be a low-key part of what makes NASCAR function.

“This business stuff, I’ve used an example, it’s like the plumbing in the walls. As long as it works, it’s good,” Kauffman explained. “My job is to try and make sure we have hot and cold running water and lights come on and off and as long as it works, everything is good. That’s how we try to operate.

“We when we do something publicly, that’s actually done, maybe it’s my background in finance, you don’t really talk about what you’re gonna to do, you talk about what you did.”

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