Kyle Larson wins Cup regular-season finale at Richmond in overtime finish

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Kyle Larson won the NASCAR Cup Series regular-season finale at Richmond Raceway in an overtime finish.

Larson won after a caution came out just following the white flag. Denny Hamlin, running in third, made contact with Martin Truex Jr., who crashed into the Turn 1 wall (see video below).

Truex had been leading the race until a caution came out for Derrike Cope with four laps to go. Larson was first off pit road. Truex, the regular-season champion, led 198 laps.

“I’ve got the greatest team out here and definitely the best pit crew,” Larson told NBCSN. “That showed tonight. I can’t thank those guys enough. They were money all night long to gain spots. This win is a huge congrats to them”

The win is Larson’s fourth of the year. It’s his first Cup win at a track shorter than 2 miles.

“(Truex) was definitely the best,” Larson said. “I thought I was second-best for most of the run. Would fall off late in the run. Came down to the final restart and I got a good start. Spun my tires really bad and was a little nervous. But we cleared him into (Turn) 1.”

The top five were Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin.

Truex finished 20th.

“We both drove in really, really deep and when I got on the brakes the splitter slammed down on the ground and shot me up the track into him,” Hamlin told NBCSN. “It’s unfortunate. I didn’t want to get into him. He’s a great teammate of ours.”

Said Truex to NBCSN: “Tonight sucked, plain and simple. Just the way it ended up. You’re out there dominating like that and you know your car is not very good on restarts for a couple of laps. Caution for a guy that shouldn’t even be out there. It’s ridiculous. … It’s unfortunate the way the race ended.” On Hamlin: “We talked and I know he didn’t do it on purpose. … I gave him room and he was aggressive on the brakes. That stuff happens.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Busch

STAGE 2 WINNER: Martin Truex Jr.

MORE: The 16 drivers in the Cup playoffs

MORE: Race results

MORE: Points standings

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Kurt Busch earned his third top five in a row … Jimmie Johnson finished eighth for his best finish since winning at Dover in June. He had not finished better than 10th since … Dale Earnhardt Jr. led a season-high 13 laps and finished 13th. He failed to make the playoffs … Daniel Suarez finished seventh for his ninth top 10. He’s finished seventh six times.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Pole-sitter Matt Kenseth saw his race end on Lap 257 after running into the back of Clint Bowyer as the field came to pit road as they tried to avoid an ambulance that was at the pit entrance. He finished 38th … In addition to the pit accident, Bowyer was called for an uncontrolled tire on his last pit. He finished 24th … Landon Cassill’s night ended on Lap 33 when he lost a tire and hit the wall. He finished last.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “I’m more mad about all that than I am losing.” – Martin Truex Jr. on the late-race caution involving Derrike Cope with four laps left as Truex led.

NEXT: Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway at 3 p.m. ET on Sept. 17 on NBCSN

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.