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Kurt Busch taking Daytona 500 trophy on tour with its first stop in Las Vegas

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Kurt Busch wants to share the biggest win of his NASCAR Cup Series career with everyone he can.

He’s doing so by taking the trophy from his Daytona 500 victory on the road. That road begins this weekend in his hometown of Las Vegas.

Busch was inspired to take the Harley J. Earl Trophy on a tour last week when he learned only two versions of the trophy are given out by Daytona International Speedway and no other replicas are produced.

“I wanted to get replicas for Ford, Monster Energy, for myself and whomever is significant enough to get a replica,” Busch said last Friday. “But they only make two. That is what is so significant and powerful about this trophy.”

One copy of the trophy was taken to Haas Automation’s headquarters in Oxnard, California. Busch’s copy sits in the Stewart-Haas Racing shop in North Carolina, but that’s only temporary.

“I am going to get the nice carrying case that goes with it, and I am going to send it out on a tour,” Busch said. “I am going to turn our Harley J. Earl trophy into the Stanley Cup.”

The Stanley Cup is awarded to the champion of the National Hockey League and during the offseason each player on the team gets to spend one day with the iconic hardware.

Busch will put the trophy in his carrying case and transport it to Las Vegas this weekend, where the NASCAR Cup Series will visit Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Kobalt 400.

On Thursday, he will present the trophy at an assembly at Durango High School, where he graduated. Also present will be a replica of the No. 97 Ford Busch won the 2004 Cup Series championship with.

“I graduated 20 years ago. That is good and bad I guess,” Busch said. “I talked to the principal there, who I actually went to school with, Nate Miller. We will have a little pep rally and it will be spirit day at Durango before race weekend at Vegas. Jeff Motley gave us race tickets to give away and Pole Position Raceway gave away 97 go-kart passes for kids to come to the go-kart track and race there.”

While at his old stomping grounds, Busch will be inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. The moment will be marked by a replica hood from his championship car being hoisted into the rafters.

On Saturday, Busch will haul the trophy to Star Nursery, which sponsored his car when he competed in the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour from 1997-99.

After that, the trophy will take up residence at Monster Energy’s headquarters Corona, California.

Busch heads to Vegas sitting second in the Cup point standings following his seventh-place finish at Atlanta. It’s the sixth time Busch has earned top 10s in the opening two races of a Cup season.

Busch will make his 16th Cup start at home track this weekend. He is still seeking his first win on the 1.5-mile track, where he has an average finish of 21.2. His only top-five finish came in 2005 when he placed third.

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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