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Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon meet to discuss Gordon’s broadcast comments

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Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon met Friday at Michigan International Speedway for the first time since Keselowski questioned Gordon’s comments of Keselowski’s team Monday.

“There were no hugs I can confirm,’’ Keselowski said of the session with Gordon, which was filmed by FS1. “There were handshakes. We talked at length. There’s certainly some differing opinions. I don’t necessarily know if that is going to change. It’s nice to be able to have those conversations in a one-on-one format, of course there was a camera there.

Keselowski raised issues Monday about Gordon, a part owner in Jimmie Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports team, after Gordon’s comments about a penalty incurred by Keselowski’s team at Pocono Raceway.

Keselowski stated after the race that the sport needed to have people in the TV booth who do not own teams or have a commercial interest in the sport. Keselowski said during Nate Ryan’s NBC Sports Podcast this week that he felt the comments were a “direct attack on myself and my team.’’

Keselowski discussed the topic more on Friday at Michigan International Speedway.

“My big thing is I don’t want somebody who is invested in another team talking about my race car in a derogatory form or even if it’s a perceived derogatory form,’’ Keselowski said. “I don’t think that’s right, and I’m going to defend my team in those situations no matter who it is.

“Beyond that, I think (Gordon) has a position that requires his insight, but there’s some limitations to what insight I think is fair play for that position when you’re still invested in the sport. I feel that was over the line and not just that particular example but a number of other examples on other broadcasts. I just want to make sure if anyone wants to criticize me and how I drive the race car, that’s one thing, not my team and not things that could be perceived as self-serving.’’

Of course, Keselowski has served as an analyst in the TV booth for Xfinity broadcasts before.

“I feel like if you’re in the booth or a position such as that, not just the booth it could be anything, and you’re invested in the sport, I think you just should probably bow out of some conversations that are, of course, a conflict of interest,’’ Keselowski said.

“It’s OK to be out there in the booth if you can respect the limitations that you almost self imply to being a journalist. People have asked me what is it like being in the booth for the Xfinity races because I have a relationship obviously with Team Penske and they compete in that series even when I’m not driving.

“I would say that in those situations where something comes up about that team or car or whoever it might, that it’s my belief don’t say anything. There’s a lot more than one person in the booth and on the production teams and that’s kind of how I’ve treated that situation. I feel like that’s probably a more reasonable guiding light to go forward or request. It’s not my right to enforce by any means, but that’s what I think is fair.’’

NASCAR Power Rankings: Kevin Harvick still No. 1 after quiet Vegas

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Kevin Harvick didn’t have a flashy night Sunday in Las Vegas, but it didn’t keep him from retaining the No. 1 spot in this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings.

After winning the Bristol night race, Harvick finished in the top 10 in the first two stages in Vegas before placing 10th at race’s end.

Kurt Busch’s win at his home track vaulted him into the top 10 as 12 drivers received votes.

More: Playoff standings after Las Vegas

Here is this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings:

1. Kevin Harvick (Last week No. 1): In the last eight races he’s won three times and finished outside the top 10 only twice.

2. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week No. 5): Placed fourth for his 11th top-five finish in the last 14 races.

3. Alex Bowman (Last week unranked): Finished fifth for his second top five and fifth top-10 finish in the last six races.

4. Denny Hamlin (Last week unranked): Left Vegas with a third-place finish to snap a three-race streak of finishing outside the top 10.

5. Kurt Busch (Last week unranked): Snapped a 46-race winless streak with his victory and advanced to the Round of 8.

6. Kyle Busch (Last week No. 3): Finished sixth after a “dismal” night. He has four consecutive top 10s.

7. Brad Keselowski (Last week No. 5): Finished 13th to give him two finishes outside the top 10 since he won at Richmond.

8. Chase Briscoe (Last week unranked): Opened the Xfinity playoffs with his second consecutive win.

8. Chase Elliott (Last week No. 2): Led 73 laps, but had to settle for a 22nd-place finish in Vegas.

8. Joey Logano (Last week No. 3): Finished 14th for his second straight finish outside the top 10.

Also receiving votes: Erik Jones and Chris Buescher.

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