Martin Truex Jr. dominates at Dover for his fourth win of the season

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Martin Truex Jr. further established himself as championship favorite by dominating the Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover International Speedway.

Already locked into the Round of 12 following a victory in the Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway, Truex picked up his second win of in the first round after leading 187 of 400 laps Sunday afternoon. The victory is the second at Dover for Truex, a New Jersey native, who earned his first career win at his home track in June of 2007.

It is also his seventh career win and fourth of the season. Truex finished first, seventh, and first in the Chase’s first three races while leading a total of 360 laps.

“We’re not messing around, I guess,” Truex told NBC Sports of his first round performance. “I don’t know. What else can you say? We are here to get it done and golly, the best bunch of guys you could ever ask for and just amazing to drive their racecars and do what we’re able to do. I’m just ecstatic.”

MORE: Results and statistics from the Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover

MORE: Martin Truex Jr. takes point lead after Dover win

Truex took control of the race after Jimmie Johnson, who led 90 laps, was penalized for having too many crew members over the wall during a round of green flag pit stops on Lap 280. Johnson had been leading at the time but would finish seventh, the first car one lap down.

The No. 78 of Truex then took the lead for the final time on Lap 374 after the race’s final round of pit stops. His margin of victory was seven seconds over Toyota teammate, Kyle Busch.

The top five were Truex, Busch, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, and Matt Kenseth. The first four drivers eliminated from the Chase were Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray, and Chris Buescher.

HOW TRUEX WON: Truex cycled to the race lead by seven seconds with 26 laps to go following the final round of pit stops.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Chase Elliott earned his second top-five finish in the Chase with a third-place run … Team Penske put both cars in the top-10 with pole-sitter Brad Keselowski finishing fourth and Joey Logano finishing sixth … Jimmie Johnson recovered from a pit road penalty to finish seventh … Jeff Gordon earned his first top-10 finish in the No. 88 car with a 10th-place effort.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Kyle Larson finished 25th, six laps down after losing power in his Chevrolet, being issued a pit road penalty, and hitting the wall … Kevin Harvick broke a track bar mount and finished 37th … Ryan Blaney blew a tire and finished 38th … Jamie McMurray blew an engine and finished last, 40th.

NOTABLE: With his fourth win at Dover, Truex is now tied with Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch for the most in the series. Dover is also the first track where Truex has scored multiple race wins. Truex has also now led more laps in the last six races (588) than each of his prior seasons entering 2016.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It feels good. Now it’s time to knock some more of these guys out because we’ve got this opportunity and I’m going to say we’re going to be the underdog in this next round, so let’s go do it.” — Austin Dillon on advancing to the Round of 12 in the Chase.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Round of 12 begins at Charlotte Motor Speedway with the Bank of America 500 on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. ET on NBC.

Follow @KellyCrandall

Sunday Cup race at Las Vegas: Start time, TV channel

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The second round of the Cup playoffs begins with the Sunday Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The 1.5-mile track kicks off the Round of 12. Winning the race and stage points are a premium for playoff drivers before the races at Talladega and the Charlotte Roval.

Kevin Harvick, who won at Bristol, starts from the pole.

Here is all the info for the Sunday Cup race at Las Vegas:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given by Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis at 7:07 p.m. The green flag waves at 7:17 p.m.

PRERACE: Cup garage opens at Noon. Drivers report to their cars at 6:50 p.m. The invocation will be given at 7 p.m. by Motor Racing Outreach Chaplain, Billy Mauldin. The national anthem will be performed by Sierra Black at 7:01 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 267 laps (400.5 miles) around the 1.5-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 80. Stage 2 ends on Lap 160

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will televise the race. Coverage begins at 6 p.m with NASCAR America, followed by Countdown to Green at 6:30 p.m. Race coverage begins at 7 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s radio coverage will begin at 6 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the broadcast.

STREAMING: Watch the race on the NBC Sports App

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for sunny skies with a high of 96 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST RACE: Kevin Harvick beat Kyle Busch to win at Bristol and claim his ninth win of the season.

LAST POINTS RACE AT LAS VEGAS: Joey Logano beat Matt DiBenedetto and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in February.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the lineup.

CATCH UP ON NBC SPORTS’ COVERAGE:

Kurt Busch seeks first Las Vegas win but without hometown fans

Michael Jordan excited for NASCAR future with Denny Hamlin

Carolina Blue: Brad Daugherty and Michael Jordan bonded by NASCAR

Germain Racing sells charter, will exit sport at end of season

Charlotte Roval to host limited number of fans

Friday 5: Team’s departure adds to ‘extremely stressful’ time

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Kurt Busch seeks first Las Vegas win, but without hometown fans

Kurt Busch
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A win by Kurt Busch in tonight’s Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7 p.m. ET on NBCSN) couldn’t come under more bittersweet circumstances for the Chip Ganassi Racing driver.

Should Busch claim the victory on the 1.5-mile track, he’d go from being the last driver on the playoff grid (3,001 points entering the race) to the first driver to advance to the Round of 8.

While it would be his first victory of the year, it would also be his first NASCAR win at his home track in 23 starts across the Cup and Xfinity Series.

More: Stage points critical at Vegas

“The Vegas track has definitely been one of the tough ones for me over the years with results and finishes not where I would have expected them to be,” Busch said this week. “And the teams that I’ve raced for just have never quite found that right magic set-up or combination. And then for me, it’s a track that I just have that trouble with.

“There are a few tracks like Indianapolis and Martinsville; those are a few places where I struggle. And so with Vegas, I always put that little extra hometown pressure on myself and I would love to win there.”

The 42-year-old Las Vegas-native rolls off ninth on the 1.5-mile track. It’s his fourth while driving for Ganassi.

In his 21 Cup starts in Las Vegas, Busch’s best result is third in 2005 when he competed for Roush Fenway Racing. He has just one other top five. That came in last year’s spring race when he drove a throwback paint scheme to his 1999 NASCAR Southwest Series championship.

That day he led 23 laps. It was only the seventh time he’d led laps there and just the third time he’d totaled more than six laps led.

In February, Busch finished 25th.

If Busch were to finally make it to Vegas’ Victory Lane, the celebration would be somewhat muted.

It was announced last weekend that fans would not be allowed to attend the races at Las Vegas due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would love to win through the spirit of the camera and everything on NBC Sports; and I know the fans there, local, will be watching and cheering on the Busch brothers,” Busch said. “So, that’s where I would connect. And hopefully do it through the TV side of it. We’ll get fans back one day and we’ll come back and race.”

Busch enters the Round of 12 having earned just one top 10 in the first round, an eighth-place finish at Darlington. He finished 13th at Richmond and 15th at Bristol.

“What I like is we have had better lap times at all three races so far compared to maybe the five or six races leading into the playoffs,” Busch said. “We know that our cushion is gone. We ended Bristol with 33 points to the good. And now we start Vegas minus four (points behind Austin Dillon in the cutoff spot). So that’s just part of the system and now we have to be perfect. We have to get every point possible that we’re able to get on our own at Vegas, Talladega, and the Roval. And, that should help us advance.”

Carolina Blue: Brad Daugherty and Michael Jordan bonded by NASCAR

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Brad Daugherty and Michael Jordan were teammates from 1982-84 at the University of North Carolina and Eastern Conference rivals throughout the 1980s and ’90s in the NBA.

But their friendship was about more than just hoops. While growing up on opposite ends of the Tar Heel State, Daugherty and Jordan both developed a passion for following NASCAR.

Tobacco Road meant fast cars and hard-driving heroes for these two North Carolina natives.

LIFELONG FAN: Michael Jordan explains why he’s partnering with Denny Hamlin

In a NASCAR on NBC feature, Daugherty recalls how NASCAR impacted his life and Jordan’s and led both into team ownership. Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin announced they will form a team to field cars for Bubba Wallace next season.

Daughterty notes in the feature that Wallace “has led a dynamic transformation as NASCAR banned Confederate flags and recommitted to inclusion amidst times of great unrest. This is a huge moment for NASCAR, a cultural momentum shift. This is people of all colors coming together to create an all-American race team already with championship lineage.

“With proper funding, equipment and crewmembers, this will be the best chance ever for a Black driver to win – and while driving for a Black owner. An opportunity to shock the world like Muhammad Ali once did.”

Watch the feature above on Brad Daugherty and Michael Jordan or by clicking this link.

Las Vegas Xfinity results, driver points

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Chase Briscoe‘s victory Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway sends him into the next round of the Xfinity playoffs.

Noah Gragson led a 2-3-4 finish for JR Motorsports. Gragson was second and followed by Daniel Hemric and Justin Allgaier. Ryan Sieg finished fifth.

Briscoe dominated the race, leading 164 of the 200 laps.

Click here for Xfinity race results

POINTS

Ross Chastain finished 16th, last among the playoff drivers, and fell out of a transfer spot to the second round. He’s two points behind Harrison Burton for the final transfer spot. Michael Annett is 10 points behind Burton. Riley Herbst is 14 points behind Burton. Brandon Brown is 20 points behind Burton.

Click here for driver points report