Kyle Busch wins Quaker State 400 for second victory in three weeks

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Kyle Busch needed to score and in the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway, he did in every way he could.

“We led the most laps and we won the race. That’s all you can score,” Busch told NBCSN after winning his second Sprint Cup race in three weeks.

WATCH: Full replay of Quaker State 400

Busch started ninth and led four times for 163 laps and did what he couldn’t in Friday night’s Xfinity Series, where he led the most laps but finished third.

Busch dueled with Joey Logano beginning with 23 to go, as the two exchanged the lead once before Busch finally took over for good with 20 laps left. Busch attributed his ability to get to the front to his team’s performance on pit road and the rules package that made its debut at the 1.5-mile track.

“It just seemed like you weren’t stuck,” Busch said. “Logano moved up and blocked my lane and with the old package you would just kind of get stalled out and get stuck behind them. This one here, I could move around. I went back to the bottom, made a move on him and passed him low.”

The win gives Busch two at Kentucky after he won the inaugural Sprint Cup race there in 2011.

“It’s pretty cool to come into Kentucky, one of my best places and score a win,” Busch said. “You gotta be able to score that win.”

Busch needs average a 17th-place finish in the next eight races to reach the projected total to be 30th in points. Then he would be eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

MORE: Sprint Cup points standings

MORE: Quaker State 400 results, stats

How Kyle Busch won: Busch started ninth, but quickly moved up through the field and was able to take and retain the lead through multiple times through pit stops. Busch took the lead for the final time from Joey Logano with 20 laps remaining and won by 1.5 seconds.

Who had a good day: Brad Keselowski had the other car to beat, leading twice for 62 laps. Errors on pit road buried him far enough in the field to keep him from making one last rally. … Kurt Busch, who started 13th, brought out the fourth caution of the night when spun out of Turn 4 and into the grass on Lap 98. Cautions helped him get back on the lead lap and finish 10th. … Joe Gibbs Racing. All four cars finished in the top five even after Denny Hamlin was penalized for speeding on pit road on Lap 72. Thanks to well-timed cautions, Hamlin was back on the lead lap and found himself in third at night’s end.

Who had a bad day: Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a rough day thanks to brake issues which  culminated with a meeting with the outside wall on Lap 137. Break issues resurfaced on Lap 208 when Earnhardt hit Danica Patrick’s rear bumper, sending here into the Turn 3 wall. Earnhardt finished 21st on the lead lap  … Tony Stewart’s nightmare season continued when he was involved in a four-car accident on Lap 144. He would finish 33rd, two laps down … Pole-sitter Kyle Larson suffered damage to his rear bumper during a mid-race restart, forcing the No. 42 to pit with 51 laps left. Larson’s new left-rear tire was instantly cut down when he returned to the track, bringing out a caution. Larson finished 35th, two laps down.

Notable: Saturday’s race, the fifth Sprint Cup event at Kentucky, broke the race record for cautions with 11 … In his final race at Kentucky, Jeff Gordon finished seventh … Joe Gibbs Racing put all four of its drivers in the top five for the first time in team history.

Quote of the night: “I know I won, but so far, so good. I like the new aero package, obviously.” – Kyle Busch after winning the first Sprint Cup race with a new rules package.

What’s next: New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, July 19 at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Carson Hocevar to run full Truck schedule in 2021

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Niece Motorsports has signed Carson Hocevar to run the full NASCAR Truck schedule in 2021, the team announced Thursday.

Hocevar, who turns 18 in January, has run five races for the team this season. His best finish this year is 12th at Dover. He’s scheduled to run at Martinsville on Oct. 30.

“I’m so excited to get the opportunity to race fulltime next year with the Niece Motorsports group,” said Hocevar in a statement. “We’ve had some really strong runs in the few starts that we’ve had this season and I am grateful for the chance to continue that next year. I’ve learned so much already this year and know that we will keep improving next year too.”

“Carson has really impressed us this season,” said team owner Al Niece in a statement. “He’s proven his talent – getting into the truck with no track time and really holding his own. We’re thrilled to have him with us fulltime next season and look forward to contending for wins together.”

TikTok to sponsor Ryan Vargas in six Xfinity races

TikTok
JD Motorsports
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TikTok is coming to NASCAR.

The popular video sharing app will break into the sport next month as a sponsor of Ryan Vargas in the Xfinity Series.

TikTok has partnered with JD Motorsports to sponsor the 20-year-old Vargas in the final six races of the season, beginning with the Oct. 3 race at Talladega Superspeedway.

“TikTok has provided me with an incredible outlet to reach new fans and demographics through fun and creative content, and I’ve seen the highest growth in followers on TikTok over my other social channels,” Vargas said in a press release. “The opportunity to run the No. 6 TikTok Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for the rest of the season is an absolute dream come true. Johnny Davis and the whole JD Motorsports with Gary Keller team took a chance on me last year and I’m excited to bring this amazing TikTok partnership their way. I wouldn’t want to make this partnership a reality anywhere else.”

Vargas has made three Xfinity Series starts this year. His best finish was 13th at Pocono.

The sponsor deal is part of TikTok’s Latinx Heritage Month programming.

A native of La Mirada, California, Vargas joined TikTok last year. He is a former member of NASCAR’s Drive 4 Diversity programming and a winner of the Wendell Scott Trailblazer award, which is given to a minority or female driver who displays exceptional on-track performance, sportsmanship, and community service.

The partnership and paint scheme were inspired by a concept scheme by graphic designer Ryan Pistana, a friend of Vargas’.

“Creators of all sizes and backgrounds show up to TikTok with their genuine, authentic selves,” Nick Tran, TikTok’s Head of Global Marketing, said in a press release. “Partnering with an iconic brand like NASCAR to sponsor Ryan Vargas on his racing journey is a way for us to continue to support, celebrate and elevate the diverse creators that make our TikTok community what it is today. Ryan is an incredible athlete, and we’re looking forward to cheering him on alongside the rest of the TikTok community!”

According to CNBC in August, TikTok has roughly 100 million monthly users, up nearly 800% from January 2018.

TikTok, a Chinese-owned company, has been in national headlines recently after President Donald Trump threatened to ban the app in the United States for national security reasons if it was not sold to an American company. On Sept. 19 he approved a deal for its U.S operations to be operated by Oracle and Walmart.

Las Vegas weekend schedule

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NASCAR’s postseason continues with the Las Vegas weekend schedule, as the Cup Series begins the Round of 12.

In addition to Cup, Las Vegas Motor Speedway will host the Xfinity Series’ playoff opener and the second race of the Truck Series’ opening round.

More: Kevin Harvick on pole for Cup race

Here is the Las Vegas weekend schedule:

(All times Eastern)

Friday, Sept. 25

Noon – 2 p.m. ET – Truck Series haulers enter (screening and equipment unload)

2 p.m. – Truck Series garage opens

2 – 8 p.m. – Truck Series garage access screening in progress

2:30 – 3 p.m. – Truck Series rookie meeting (electronic communication)

5 p.m. – Xfinity rookie meeting (electronic communication)

5:30 p.m.  – Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

8:50 p.m. – Truck Series drivers report to vehicles

9 p.m.- Truck Series race; 134 laps/201 miles (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

11:30 p.m. – Truck Series haulers exit

 

Saturday, Sept 26.

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Xfinity haulers enter (screening and equipment unload)

1 p.m. – Xfinity garage opens

1 – 6:30 p.m. – Xfinity garage access screening in progress

5 p.m. – Cup rookie meeting (electronic communication)

5:30 p.m. – Cup driver-crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

7:20 p.m. – Xfinity drivers report to cars

7:30 p.m. – Xfinity race; 200 laps/300 miles (NBCSN, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

9:30 p.m. – Xfinity haulers exit

10:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. – Cup haulers enter

 

Sunday, Sept. 27

Noon – Cup garage opens

Noon – 6 p.m.  – Cup garage access screening in progress

6:50 p.m. – Cup drivers report to cars

7 p.m. – Cup race; 267 laps/400.5 miles (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

11:30 p.m. – Cup haulers exit

NTSB releases final report on Dale Jr. plane crash

NTSB
Photo: Dustin Long
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Pilot error played a key role in the August 2019 crash of a plane carrying Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family, a final report by the National Transportation Safety Board stated Wednesday.

Earnhardt, wife Amy and daughter Isla were on board the plane, which crashed after a hard landing at Elizabethton (Tennessee) Municipal Airport on Aug. 15, 2019. The report stated all three suffered minor injuries. 

The NTSB listed the probable causes of the accident as: “The pilot’s continuation of an unstabilized approach despite recognizing associated cues and the flight crew’s decision not to initiate a go-around before touchdown, which resulted in a bounced landing, a loss of airplane control, a landing gear collapse, and a runway excursion. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s failure to deploy the speedbrakes during the initial touchdown, which may have prevented the runway excursion, and the pilot’s attempt to go around after deployment of the thrust reversers.”

A “go-around” occurs when a pilot pulls out of a landing and gains altitude to make another landing attempt.

The report stated that “the flight crew made several comments about the airplane flying too fast and allowed the airspeed to increase well above the reference speed for the approach.”

The report stated that “the pilot did not extend the speedbrakes upon touchdown, which landing checklist required, but instead attempted to deploy the thrust reversers immediately after touchdown, which was a later item on the landing checklist.”

Earnhardt’s Cessna 680A Citation Latitude bounced twice upon landing as it traversed the 5,001-foot runaway.

After the fourth touchdown, the right main landing gear collapsed. The plane went off the road and through a 400-foot long area of grass. It went down an embankment, through a creek and a chain-link fence. It continued up an embankment. The plane came to rest about 600 feet beyond the runway at the edge of a four-lane highway.

The passengers and two pilots escaped as the plane burned.

The full report can be read here.