Matt Crafton grabs fifth win of year at Martinsville

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Starting 13th in a race that featured 12 cautions didn’t keep Matt Crafton from winning the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway for his fifth victory of the season.

Crafton held off John Hunter Nemechek, teammate Cameron Hayley and Cole Custer in the final 63 laps to secure his second career win at the short track and his 10th Truck win overall.

It’s Crafton’s first win since July at Kentucky Speedway and comes after he ran out of gas in the final laps at Las Vegas while leading and crashed multiple times at Talladega.

“It’s been a very trying last two months,” Crafton told Fox Sports 1. “We weren’t that great on the short run and like I said I never give up on these guys, they just keep fine tuning and fine tuning.”

Crafton led the most laps at both Las Vegas and Talladega but couldn’t win. The two-time defending champion believes his truck wasn’t as good as the one that also started 13th in the spring race at Martinsville and led 100 laps before finishing second.

“I have no idea (how many) laps we led today but we led enough and led the right one,” Crafton said. “Finally we got to finish off what we started the last two weeks.”

Crafton trails Erik Jones by 10 points in the championship standings.

More: Race results

More: Point standings

HOW MATT CRAFTON WON: Crafton battled his way to the front after starting 13th and led the final 63 laps.

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Cole Custer started from the pole and led 96 laps before being called for speeding on pit road. The JR Motorsports drivers fought his way from the back of the pack to finish third … John Hunter Nemechek started third and led twice for 32 laps before finishing second for his sixth top five of the season.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: It started early for Timothy Peters. The Talladega winner spun on his own in Turn 4 on Lap 8. On Lap 85, Peters fell off the pace on the frontstretch after accidentally hitting his kill switch and was spun by Dalton Sargeant in Turn 1. Sargeant again spun Peters on Lap 155 in Turn 4. Peters finished sixth … The second caution of the day came when Gray Gaulding spun Paige Decker in Turn 3 on Lap 61 … Lap 73 saw Erik Jones spin teammate Daniel Suarez in Turn 4 while running in seventh. Suarez would finish 16th … JJ Haley lost the brakes on his truck on Lap 121 and slammed into the Turn 1 wall. Haley finished last … On Lap 132, John Wes Townley lost his left-rear tire exiting Turn 2. The Las Vegas winner didn’t have any notable damage but finished 11th… Ray Black Jr. brought out the ninth caution with 29 laps left when he spun into the outside wall out of Turn 2 … Austin Cindric’s Truck debut ended in the wall with seven laps to go after he got stuck between two trucks, including points leader Erik Jones. Cindric finished 25th, the last driver on the lead lap.

NOTABLE: 12 cautions over 69 laps means more than 1/4th of the race was run under caution.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I knew I had to pace myself and save enough tires there at the end of the race so I could have some green-white-checkered speed there at the end, because we know that’s what it’s going to be about here.” Matt Crafton after leading the final 63 laps to win at Martinsville.

WHAT’S NEXT: WinStar World Casino 350k at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 6 at 8:30 pm ET on Fox Sports 1.

 

Xfinity race results, point standings after Bristol

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Chase Briscoe led the final six laps and won Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Bristol for his seventh win of the season.

Briscoe beat Ross Chastain for the win. The top five was completed by Austin Cindric, Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier.

Click here for the race results.

Playoff standings

The 12-driver field for the playoffs has been set with Briscoe’s win in the regular-season finale.

Brandon Brown placed 12th and clinched the 12th and final spot.

Here are the re-seeded point standings entering the playoffs.

Chase Briscoe – 2,050 points

Austin Cindric – 2,050

Justin Allgaier – 2,033

Noah Gragson – 2,025

Brandon Jones – 2,020

Justin Haley – 2,018

Harrison Burton – 2,014

Ross Chastain – 2,010

Ryan Sieg – 2,002

Michael Annett – 2,002

Riley Herbst – 2,001

Brandon Brown – 2,000

Click here for the re-seeded standings.

Click here for the normal point standings.

Chase Briscoe wins Xfinity race at Bristol Motor Speedway

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Chase Briscoe took the lead with six laps to go and won Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, which marked the end of the regular season.

Briscoe passed Austin Cindric to assume the lead and went unchallenged to the checkered flag. The victory is his series-leading seventh of the season.

“I was so mad after last week (at Richmond),” Briscoe told NBCSN. “I told all the guys there ain’t no way we’re getting beat today. I was so mad after how we ran last week and I get on the internet all the time and see guys count us out after one bad race and I know what this team is capable. … I finished second here the last two races and I wanted to win here so bad and it’s awesome that I can actually celebrate it with all these race fans.”

The top five was completed by Ross Chastain, Cindric, Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier.

More: Race results, playoff standings

Allgaier dominated the early portion of the race, leading 126 laps and winning the first two stages. But he lost the lead for good in the pits during the Stage 2 break.

Brandon Brown finished 12th and clinched the 12th and final playoff spot.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Ross Chastain led three times for 117 laps, but had to settle for his fifth runner-up finish of the season without a win … Austin Cindric earned his 13th top-10 finish in the last 14 races … Harrison Burton earned his 13th top five of the season.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Brett Moffitt finished 27th after he had to pit three times in the opening laps and was penalized for taking fuel before the competition caution … BJ McLeod finished 34th after he was eliminated in a multi-car wreck that began when he made contact with teammate Jeffrey EarnhardtMichael Annett finished 31st and Joe Graf Jr. placed 27th after they were involved in an incident on Lap 120.

QUOTE OF THE RACE: “I hit pit road and I wanted to cry.” – Ross Chastain after he finished second for the fifth time this year. He is winless entering the playoffs.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Xfinity playoffs open at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 26 on NBCSN.

 

Fans not allowed at Las Vegas races

Fans not allowed
Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Spectators will be not be allowed for any of the NASCAR playoff races next weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the track announced Friday night.

A press release said only essential personnel will be allowed to attend the Cup, Xfinity and Truck playoff races there.

“To say we’re disappointed that we will conduct the South Point 400 playoff weekend without fans would be a gross understatement,” said Las Vegas Motor Speedway President Chris Powell. “Our staff has been working – many of them remotely – since the February Pennzoil 400 to prepare the speedway for our playoff tripleheader.

“But we must adhere to Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s directive that limits gatherings due to COVID-19.  While we disagree with this policy, we have no choice but to oblige.  We certainly regret this situation for the thousands of race fans who won’t be able to attend our NASCAR-weekend events.”

Nevada’s re-opening plan does not permit fans at sporting events, concerts. Groups are limited to 50 or fewer people.

The Las Vegas Raiders announced last month that they would not have fans at any of the team’s home games in its inaugural season there.

The Truck playoff race will be at 9 p.m. ET Sept. 25 on FS1. The Xfinity playoff opener will be at  7:30 p.m. ET Sept. 26 on NBCSN. The Cup playoff race will be 7 p.m. ET Sept. 27 on NBCSN.

Fans holding tickets for those events will be contacted by the speedway ticket services department to discuss credits for future races or refunds.

Pit crew change for Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson teams

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Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman and Jimmie Johnson each will have a pit crew change for Saturday night’s playoff race at Bristol.

The change is the result of an injury to one pit crew member.

Dustin Lineback, jackman for Bowman’s team is out with an injury, the team stated. Kyle Tudor, who has been Johnson’s jackman, moves over to that role for Bowman’s team. Eric Ludwig, a backup for Hendrick Motorsports, moves up to be the jackman for Johnson.

MORE: Saturday Cup race at Bristol: Start time, forecast, lineup

Bowman enters the elimination race 27 points ahead of teammate William Byron, the first driver outside a transfer spot to the second round. Bowman opened the playoffs by finishing sixth in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. He followed that by placing ninth at Richmond. Bowman was collected in a crash and finished 37th in the May Bristol race.

Johnson, who is in his final full-time Cup season, seeks his first victory of the season. He finished third at Bristol in May.