A month ago, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was given an unexpected gift.
Fourteen years after the fact, a stranger presented Earnhardt with the firesuit his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., wore in the last race he ever completed.
The firesuit was from the 2001 IROC (International Race of Champions) race at Daytona International Speedway, held on Feb. 16, two days before his death on the final lap of the Daytona 500.
Earnhardt Sr., who won 11 times in 59 IROC races, started from the pole and finished seventh in that race.
On Sunday, Dale Jr. slipped into the white firesuit before he put it away for safe keeping
Dale Jr. himself competed in eight IROC races from 1999 to 2000 and counts the 1999 race at Michigan International Speedway
as a favorite of his entire career. That day saw his father pass him on the final lap to take the win in a photo finish.
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.
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. : Placed fourth for his 11th top-five finish in the last 14 races. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week No. 5)
3. : Finished fifth for his second top five and fifth top-10 finish in the last six races. Alex Bowman (Last week unranked)
4. : Left Vegas with a third-place finish to snap a three-race streak of finishing outside the top 10. Denny Hamlin (Last week unranked)
5. : Snapped a 46-race winless streak with his victory and advanced to the Round of 8. Kurt Busch (Last week unranked)
6. : Finished sixth Kyle Busch (Last week No. 3) after a “dismal” night. He has four consecutive top 10s.
7. Finished 13th to give him two finishes outside the top 10 since he won at Richmond. Brad Keselowski (Last week No. 5):
8. : Opened the Xfinity playoffs with his second consecutive win. Chase Briscoe (Last week unranked)
8. : Led 73 laps, but had to settle for a 22nd-place finish in Vegas. Chase Elliott (Last week No. 2)
8. : Finished 14th for his second straight finish outside the top 10. Joey Logano (Last week No. 3)
Also receiving votes: Erik Jones and Chris Buescher.
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. ET – ARCA Menards Series on FS1 or FS2; network TBD at a later date (previously at 10 p.m. ET)
Saturday, Oct. 17, 4 p.m. ET – Truck 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)
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.
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.