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Jamie McMurray is of a different ‘state’ of mind than Carl Edwards

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Missouri is known as the “Show Me State,” but Jamie McMurray says that only extends so far.

As in Carl Edward’s recent sudden retirement.

Both McMurray and Edwards are Missouri natives, Jamie Mac from Joplin and Cousin Carl from Columbia, about 235 miles away to the northeast.

During Tuesday’s NASCAR Media Day, McMurray was asked if would ever follow his fellow statesman’s lead and abruptly walk away from the sport.

“Um, I don’t know if the state you’re born in really has anything to do with the retirement factor – seems like a pretty big stretch,” McMurray said with a big laugh. “I’m going to try to link those, but I don’t think I can.”

But like pretty much everyone else in the sport, McMurray admitted he “was completely taken aback” by his fellow Missourian’s decision. “Maybe there is someone in here that knew, but I was blindsided by that.

“Honestly, I hope that more comes of that story. I didn’t actually watch the press conference. I read some quotes from it just because I was curious, right? I don’t really know Carl enough to call him and ask him outright. My gut tells me that maybe we’ll hear more later on. But, yeah, I was pretty taken back by that.”

One thing McMurray was not taken back by was Monday’s announcement of the enhancements to the points system in NASCAR’s three premier race series.

“Not completely surprised,” McMurray said. “Over the past two or three years we’ve made a lot of changes to the cars and we’ve kind of worn that dial out.

“This, to me, was just the next step. From what I understand and from what I have been told, I think all of the teams that were involved with NASCAR in making the decisions; everyone was kind of pulling the rope in the same direction.

“So, I’m not completely shocked by that because I think you had a large group of grown-ups in a room that all were trying to get the same thing accomplished.”

The driver of the No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS is looking forward to the new points format.

“I like the strategy that’s going to come from the format,” McMurray said. “And the best way to describe that is if we go to a track that it rains a lot and they have to have a competition caution, it’s great when the caution happens to fall 10 laps before that because you get some strategy.

“You get people that put tires on. Sometimes the leaders don’t. If it’s a track where the tires are really important, it creates a little bit of excitement, right? You have a lot of passing going on. Then the caution comes out 10 laps later and you get to see if those guys all pit. Did they make up enough ground?  So, I like the fact that we’re going to have that every week.

“I also like the fact that at the plate races (where) I have been on the side of riding in the back. It might be one of the most boring things in your life to ride seven seconds behind a pack at Daytona or Talladega, just to get in a wreck at the end. Even though you’ve done all the right things, you still get caught up in the wreck.

“I like that the Duels (at Daytona) and the races are going to pay for the segments. I also like the fact that at any track that we go to, if you run really well all day long, you’re rewarded for that. And if for some reason your engine does blow up or you get caught-up in a wreck at the end, if you ran well all day long you’re going to get something out of that. I can’t find any negative side to it.”

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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