Carl Edwards gives Kyle Busch ‘a little nudge’ on last lap to win at Richmond

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Carl Edwards “nudged” Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch out of the lead on the final turn of the last lap to capture Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

It was Edwards’ second consecutive win, having also reached Victory Lane last week at Bristol Motor Speedway.

When asked if there was any question he’d do what he did by pushing Busch out of the way, Edwards quipped, “Well, yeah, it was a huge question.”

“Kyle’s an amazing teammate, and he just got real slow at the end, something happened on that last lap,” Edwards told Fox Sports. “I was doing everything I could. … If Dave (crew chief Dave Rogers) hadn’t screamed on the radio to just go get him on the last lap, I don’t know if I would have dove in there that hard. It was a real team effort and was a big win for us.”

It was the first last-lap pass to win a Sprint Cup race in Richmond history (120 races).

“It’s racing. I guess,” Busch told Fox Sports afterward. “We had a really great car. It was really good today. We were fast, maybe not as good as Carl was on the long runs, but we did everything right and did what we were supposed to do and put ourselves in the right position.”

Edwards led 151 laps in the 400-lap event, while Busch led 78 laps.

Busch took the lead on Lap 364, 36 laps from the finish and did a masterful job of holding off Edwards until the last lap.

Jimmie Johnson finished third, followed by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne and pole-sitter Kevin Harvick.

Tony Stewart, making his first start of the season, finished 19th.

When asked what is going to stand out most about Sunday’s race, Stewart replied, “How much fun I had in it. This place is so cool anyway. It’s always been my favorite racetrack. … The drivers got to dictate it today. You weren’t stuck in one line and had the ability to move around and change lines.”

Joe Gibbs Racing continued its dominance this season, placing all four of is drivers in the top seven with Edwards, Busch, Denny Hamlin (sixth) and Matt Kenseth (seventh).

MORE: Results and statistics for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond

MORE: Carl Edwards assumes Sprint Cup points lead after second win in a row

HOW EDWARDS WON: It was a classic bump-and-run outcome as Edwards stayed glued to Busch’s bumper on the final lap and gave it one final shot heading into Turn 4. Edwards was able to push his teammate out of the way and motored on to victory.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Even though he wasn’t happy with the runner-up finish (the fifth time he had lost the lead on the last lap of a Cup race), Busch ran a strong race. He might not have had as strong of a car as Edwards, but he paced himself, grabbed the lead on the final restart and if the race had ended one turn shorter, he likely would be standing in victory lane.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Sprint Cup rookie Chris Buescher continues to struggle in his first season in NASCAR’s top level, finishing 34th. Also continuing to struggle this season is Clint Bowyer (33rd), who is slated to replace Tony Stewart in 2017 in the No. 14 Chevy. … Ryan Blaney, who has been one of the top rookies this season along with Chase Elliott, was a disappointing 28th, one lap behind the leaders.

NOTABLE: This was only the fourth race in the last 23 1/2 years at Richmond that there wasn’t a caution in the first 100 laps. As it turned out, there wound up being eight cautions for 49 laps in the race. … Kasey Kahne’s fourth-place finish was his first top-5 of the season.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I gave him a little nudge. Man, I didn’t think we had anything for him.” — Race winner Carl Edwards on pushing Kyle Busch out of the way on the final lap.

WHAT’S NEXT: May 1, Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, 1 p.m. ET.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

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.”