NASCAR on NBC podcast, Episode VIII: Roundtable hosted by Dave Briggs

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NBCSN host Dave Briggs makes his debut on the NASCAR on NBC podcast, leading a dissection of the 2016 season heading into Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

In our eighth episode, Briggs, Parker Kligerman and Nate Ryan hold a roundtable discussion on several major issues in NASCAR, including:

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s pledge to donate his brain for research and what it means about where drivers and the sanctioning body stand on concussion research;

–The impact of the lower downforce rules at Martinsville Speedway;

–The favorite for this race and why the balance of power could shift because of the renewed emphasis on tire management;

–The fate of Kasey Kahne;

–Evaluating the impact and message of recent penalties by NASCAR;

–The decision by defending series champion Kyle Busch to skip a postrace media session and what it means for him, the media and fans;

–NASCAR’s best- and worst-dressed;

–The emergence of Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney;

–What can be done about the dominance of Sprint Cup drivers in the Xfinity Series.

To hear those discussions and more, listen to the podcast by clicking below, or download and subscribe to it on iTunes by clicking here. The free subscription will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone. It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here.

A breakdown of this week’s episode via time cues for easy referencing:

1:00 – Dale Jr. brain donation/concussion history

2:45 – Parker on Dale Jr. being NASCAR’s most genuine in social media

4:15 – Has the conversation on concussions changed in NASCAR?

5:15 – The dichotomy of Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. on head injuries

6:15 – “A lot of drivers were scared at first about baseline testing.”

7:45 – What undergoing a concussion baseline test is like for a driver

9:45 – How NASCAR and NFL are different in concussions

10:30 – Will concussion policy be an objective for the driver council

12:00 – What ultimately drives the decisions on handling concussions

13:00 – Recapping NASCAR’s last trip to Martinsville

14:45 – Parker is ready to move on from Kenseth-Logano

16:15 – Why lower downforce will have less of an impact at Martinsville

17:45 – Could the emphasis on tire management change the game?

18:45 – The overwhelming favorite for Sunday is …

20:30 – … but there are some other candidates.

22:00 – Parker says keep an eye on the underdogs

23:00 – But is the balance of power really shifting in Sprint Cup?

25:15 – The plight of Kasey Kahne

27:15 – “This is a perplexing situation. It’s tough to watch as a driver.”

28:30 – Curse of the fourth car?

30:00 – When relationships go stale in NASCAR

32:00 – Deconstructing last week’s NASCAR penalties

33:45 – Parker on the “most ridiculous notion” in NASCAR

35:00 – Old Kyle vs. New Kyle

36:00 – The essence of Kyle Busch

37:30 – Blowing off the media comes with consequences

39:00 – NASCAR fashion and the sport’s best socks

41:00 – The 2016 starts of Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney

42:30 – “It’s been a considerable drought” for young drivers

44:15 – Another rookie to consider

45:30 – Twitter question #1 – Cup drivers in the Xfinity Series

47:30 – How a truck team budget can be the template for Xfinity

49:00 – Is it about eliminating Cup teams instead of drivers from Xfinity?

50:30 – Twitter question #2 – More feuding at Martinsville?

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.