NASCAR to decide soon if it will limit green-white-checkereds at Talladega

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NASCAR could decide as early as Tuesday if it will reduce the number of attempts at a green-white-checkered finish for the Oct. 25 Talladega race, a NASCAR executive said Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

NASCAR has hinted at changing how restrictor-plate races end since Austin Dillon’s crash at Daytona International Speedway in July.

Five fans were injured when Dillon’s car flew into the catch fence just after that race. It marked the third time since Feb. 2012 that fans had been injured at Daytona because of vehicles climbing into the fencing. In all three cases, the accidents happened during or just after a green-white-checkered finish.

“We’re still having conversations with the drivers and the track,’’ Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We have had dialogue surrounding the green-white-checkered procedure and hope to make a decision at the latest by Tuesday and that will be in collaboration with the track and the race teams.’’

NASCAR permits a maximum of three attempts at finishing any race under green-flag conditions. Drivers have said they’d prefer to limit the number of attempts at a green-flag finish at restrictor-plate tracks. Last year’s Chase race at Talladega needed two green-white-checkered attempts before finishing.

“We’re going to have to have green‑white‑checkers,’’ Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “We can’t get rid of them altogether because the fans want to see the race end under green. They want to see at least one attempt to get the race under green, and that’s deserving for them to have that. I would like to take the green‑white‑checkers out of it, but that’s not the best thing for the fans or the product.’’

Green-white-checkered restarts were instituted in July 2004. The move came after a series of races ended under caution, including the spring Talladega event. Jeff Gordon and Earnhardt raced for the lead that day when the caution waved in the final laps. Gordon led when a late caution came out and the race finished under yellow, allowing him to win. Fans responded to the race not resuming under green by littering the track with debris.

Brad Keselowski, who won last year’s Talladega Chase race, said he’s fine with one attempt at a green-flag finish.

“We go there and say we’re going to run 500 miles and you run 500 miles and it ends under yellow it kind of feels a little uncomfortable,’’ he said. “You give another crack at it and see if you can’t finish it off for the fans and if it doesn’t come together, well, we tried. I would feel pretty good about that if I was a fan, and as a team owner I would feel pretty good about that too.”

Denny Hamlin, though, would prefer that NASCAR institute a single-file restart late in the race. He said the notion has been discussed with series officials.

“I think double-file restarts really play into whoever is leading’s advantage,’’ he said. “If you put us all single-file, it forces the people third, fourth, fifth to make a move to get the lead. Right now the leader has such the advantage – he’s able to block both lanes — that I think single-file restarts at the end that would cause more exciting finishes than what we’ve seen there in the past and think they would be safer.

“I think initially the fans won’t like it, but I think they’d like the outcome they see from it. I think it is more likely that we have less green-white-checkers than it is us going to single-file restarts – both are a definite option.”

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