Upon Further Review: Kansas

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Ryan Blaney’s fifth-place finish Saturday night at Kansas Speedway marked the fourth time in the last five races that a rookie has placed in the top five.

The streak started at Texas with Chase Elliott finishing fifth. Elliott was fourth at Bristol. No rookie was in the top five at Richmond (Elliott was the top rookie, placing 12th). Elliott placed fifth at Talladega, while Blaney was ninth. And then Kansas.

“When you can run with the best guys, you learn a lot,’’ Blaney said. “That was a great learning experience.”

Elliott has seven top-10 finishes to lead all Hendrick Motorsports drivers. He also has three top-five finishes. Blaney has one top-five and four top-10 finishes for the Wood Brothers this season.

Kyle Busch’s victory not only was his series-high third win of the year but also tied him with Tony Stewart for career victories at Joe Gibbs Racing with 33.

That ranks sixth among current teams in most wins with the same organization. Jeff Gordon is first with all 93 of his Sprint Cup victories at Hendrick Motorsports.

Stewart is the only driver who either has or is tied for the most wins at more than one organization. He also has the most wins at Stewart-Haas Racing with 15.

Here’s a look at the current Sprint Cup teams and the driver with the most wins at that organization.

Chip Ganassi Racing — Jamie McMurray … 5 wins

Front Row Motorsports — David Ragan … 1 win

Furniture Row Racing — Regan Smith and Martin Truex Jr. … 1 win

Hendrick Motorsports — Jeff Gordon … 93 wins

Joe Gibbs Racing — Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch … 33 wins

JTG Daugherty — A.J. Allmendinger … 1 win

Richard Childress Racing — Dale Earnhardt … 67 wins

Richard Petty Motorsports — Marcos Ambrose and Kasey Kahne … 2 wins

Roush Fenway Racing — Mark Martin … 35 wins

Stewart-Haas Racing — Tony Stewart … 15 wins

Team Penske — Rusty Wallace … 37 wins

Wood Brothers Racing — David Pearson … 43 wins

Denny Hamlin nearly has equaled the number of speeding penalties he had last year with 25 races remaining in the Sprint Cup season.

Hamlin’s two speeding penalties Saturday at Kansas give him six for the season. He had seven last year.

While Brad Keselowski rallied from a speeding penalty to win at Las Vegas, 15.2 percent of drivers assessed a speeding penalty came back to finish in the top 10 this season. Only 6.1 percent of those assessed a speeding penalty this year scored a top-five finish. Keselowski has done it twice with his Vegas win and a fifth-place finish at Martinsville.

Drivers with the most speeding penalties this year:

6 – Denny Hamlin

5 – Kyle Larson

4 – Greg Biffle

4 – Austin Dillon

3 – Brad Keselowski

3 – Casey Mears

3 – David Ragan

3 – Brian Scott

3 – Regan Smith

3 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

— Only three drivers have scored top-10 finishes in each of the four races on 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Kansas winner Kyle Busch also won at Texas, the most recent 1.5-mile race before Kansas, and was third at Atlanta and fourth at Las Vegas. His average finish at 1.5-mile tracks this season is 2.3.

Kevin Harvick, who finished second at Kansas, placed sixth at Atlanta, seventh at Las Vegas and 10th at Texas for an average finish of 6.3 at those tracks.

Kurt Busch, who finished third at Kansas, was fourth at Atlanta, ninth at Las Vegas and ninth at Texas. His average finish at those tracks is 6.3.

— There have been six different winners in the first 11 races of the season. That’s the fewest number of different winners at this point in a season since 2007 when there also were six winners.

In 2007, Jimmie Johnson (four wins), Kevin Harvick (one) and Kyle Busch (one) combined for six of those 11 wins. In 2016, Johnson (two), Harvick (one) and Busch (three) also combined for six wins.

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.