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Chase Elliott takes Stage 2 of NASCAR Cup playoff race at Chicagoland

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JOLIET, Illinois – Chase Elliott captured Stage 2 of Sunday’s Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

It was Elliott’s third stage win of the season as he hopes to turn that into his first career NASCAR Cup win.

After 160 laps, Elliott leads Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray.

Harvick, who finished behind Kyle Busch at the end of Stage 1, took the lead away from Busch on Lap 88.

During the pit stop following Stage 1, No. 1 seed Martin Truex Jr. had to return to pit road to have his crew tighten two loose lug nuts before Stage 2 began.

Kyle Busch made an unexpected pit stop on Lap 98 for a loose wheel. To add insult to injury, he and his team were penalized for a pit crew member over the wall too early.

That led to a pass-through penalty that put Busch two laps down, being scored 30th on Lap 103.

Just before Busch came down pit road, NASCAR officials brought four tires of the No. 18 team to be examined, but officials said it was standard operating procedure.

There was no immediate word of any penalty or violation, but it was an indication of how NASCAR has been increasingly cracking down in recent weeks.

By Lap 116, Busch was back up to 26th position and had gained back one of the laps he lost, now just one lap down to the leaders.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who scraped the wall in Stage 1, was still unable to recover. By Lap 120, Stenhouse was the last of the 16 playoff drivers, scored in 28th position, still two laps down.

Elliott beat Harvick off pit road following service to both cars to take the lead on Lap 125.

Ten laps later, Truex battled his way back to fifth place.

By Lap 153, Truex had climbed back to third, Kyle Busch to 16th (one lap down) and Stenhouse had fallen to 31st (three laps down).

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