Brad Keselowski wins Xfinity race at Texas

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In what could be a trial run for Sunday, Brad Keselowski led 62 laps on the way to winning the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway.

Keselowski outpaced Kevin Harvick and Austin Dillon in the closing laps after they went three wide with 11 to go.

“It seemed like it could really fall anyway,” Keselowski said of the race that saw eight lead changes in the final 46 laps. “Certainly not a gimme race by any stretch of the imagination. We had to earn it, and we did that with a strong, consistent day.”

The No. 22 ran a clean race while Harvick, Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson all experienced issues that kept them from the win. Larson led 50 laps until a shredded tire ended his race.

Tires also plagued Darrell Wallace Jr and Chris Buescher early on. Overnight rain washed the rubber off the track, creating a challenge for drivers.

“Everyone was very concerned about tire wear during green-flag stops,” said Keselowski’s crew chief, Greg Erwin. “Brad did a good job of keeping the tires on the car and we just kind of knew we he had a little bit (more) in the tank at the end.”

Keselowski now has two wins in eight Xfinity races this year and will look to ride his momentum into the Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500. He starts on the pole for that race.

“It doesn’t really matter once the green flag drops what we did today,” Keselowski said.

The win clinched Team Penske its third straight owner’s championship.

Points leader Chris Buescher finished 11th and now leads Chase Elliott by 24 points with two races left.

MORE: Race results

MORE: Points standings

HOW BRAD KESELOWSKI WON: He passed pole-sitter Austin Dillon with 11 laps to go, then survived a three-way battle with Dillon and Kevin Harvick before settling in for the win.

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Kevin Harvick had to pit three times under caution around Lap 79 but sprinted to the front of the field to finish second after leading 24 laps early … Ty Dillon started ninth and ended the day in the fifth as the highest finishing Xfinity regular. He has 11 top-10 finishes … Erik Jones finished fourth in his second of three races this weekend. He starts sixth in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Darrell Wallace Jr. started from the rear in a backup car, but pitting early for a bad tire would relegate him to finishing three laps down … Mike Harmon brought out the first non-competition caution when he stalled on the backstretch on Lap 79 … During that caution Kyle Busch’s problems began. The No. 54’s shifter rod broke, limiting him to only fourth gear. Busch would drive to the top five, but difficulty getting up to speed after pit stops caused Busch to finish 14th … Kyle Larson had led 50 laps when he and his left-rear fender fell victim to a shredded tire. Larson, who has two career Xfinity wins, finished 33rd.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “If I waste my time focusing on what he’s doing, I’m going to be in trouble.” – Ty Dillon on if he noticed Chris Buescher was points racing.

NOTABLE: Ray Black Jr. made his series debut and finished 27th, eight laps down … Brian Scott’s finish in seventh ended a five-race stretch with results outside the top 10.

WHAT’S NEXT: DAV Honoring America’s Veterans 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 14 at 4 pm ET on NBCSN

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

 

 

Kurt Busch win capped off big racing weekend for family

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After hopping from the door of his No. 1 Chevrolet Sunday night, Kurt Busch let out a primal scream.

The source of his emotion?

“20 years of agony and defeat” at the his home track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, had been replaced by “triumph.”

After the fortunate timing of a caution and pit strategy Sunday night, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver led the final 26 laps and visited LVMS’ Victory Lane for the first time, a day after his brother Kyle Busch experienced a special win.

There was plenty more for the 42-year-old driver to celebrate. He’d entered the Round of 12 as the last driver in the playoff standings. But with his first win in 46 races, Busch became the first driver to plant in his flag in the Round of 8.

But the Las Vegas native’s focus was on the 1.5-mile track, which he’d seen evolve from a “desert gravel pit” into the site of two NASCAR race weekends each year.

“This feeling of growing up here and watching the track get built … when Speedway Motorsports came in and bought it, I’m like, ‘Man, there’s going to be a Cup race there, I hope I can make my way up through Legend cars (and race there). And just all the memories, all the memories of everybody, my mom and dad, every Saturday night, all the commitment they gave me and my little brother (Kyle Busch) to make it in racing.

“For me it was a hobby. I never knew I’d get this far. A guy named Craig Keough here locally in Las Vegas, the owner of the Star Nurseries here in Las Vegas, took a chance on me and let me run his late model a few times and we won a couple races and started working our way up.”

Busch made his first NASCAR start on the Las Vegas oval in 2001 driving for Roush Fenway Racing. Between then and Sunday, he won 31 Cup races, the 2004 championship and the 2017 Daytona 500.

But his home track eluded him until his 21st year competing on the sport’s top circuit.

Busch said Sunday’s win is “right there underneath” his Daytona win and the championship.

“Any time you win, it’s special,” Busch said. “But to do it in front of my hometown crowd and nobody was there (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and all the people that I see every time I come to Vegas and I get to say thank you and I can’t right now, that’s the hardest part. So this one is easily ramping up to being my third most favorite win ever.

“Right now it’s my favorite because it’s here, it’s Vegas, and I have so many people to thank. They know they helped me, and they know who they are, and it just all started with mom and dad taking me to the racetrack right here at the Bullring in Las Vegas.”

The Busch family got to celebrate more than one win over the weekend.

The night before Kurt’s Vegas breakthrough, a third generation racer got his first taste of victory.

Kyle and Samantha Busch’s son, Brexton, won his first karting race and celebrated with his parents in Victory Lane.

“It’s so much fun to watch him and just to see his excitement and how much he enjoys going to the race track and being with is friends,” Kyle Busch said after his sixth-place finish Sunday. “It’s three generations worth, I guess. My dad (Tom) did it, myself and Kurt and now him. It’s pretty fun to just be out there. My dad is kind of the truck driver, the team manager, the crew chief, the lead mechanic and all that stuff on his kart.

“He’s got a big task at hand in order to get it all ready to go and get us to the race track every week. It’s been fun to see (Brexton) and to see how excited he was when he was able to win and beat the other competition that was out there and to see his joy. I told him, ‘Whatever that feeling is, whatever you’re feeling, however that sits in you, that’s feasible, that’s possible a lot more often than just one time. So don’t rest on just getting one, we gotta go out there and fight for more.'”

Kurt Busch wasn’t there for his nephew’s win, but he got all the details from his sister-in-law as they flew to Las Vegas.

“It definitely felt like a generational shift was happening,” he said. “But maybe not. Maybe not. This old guy has still got it going on.”