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Get a sense of what it is like to race at Talladega

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TALLADEGA, Alabama — Go inside the car and get a sense of what drivers experience in restrictor-plate racing, courtesy of 2015 Daytona winner Joey Logano, who also has won twice at Talladega Superpseedway.

Here’s how Logano explains what it is like to be in the car:

“When you’re up front you never look at where you’re going. You’re constantly looking in the mirror and where that car behind you goes is where you go. It’s kind of like I’ve heard fighter pilots say that when they fly in formation they stare at the one plane. If that plane drives into the ground, they’re all going into the ground together. It’s the same thing. If the car behind me drives into the wall, I’m probably going into the wall with him from in front of him because you’re constantly in the mirror when you’re in the lead. 

“You’re listening to the information from your spotter where runs are coming from, how fast they’re coming, and there are times you can’t stop them, but there are times you maybe don’t want to get too far in front of the pack. Are they two or three wide? How tight is the whole pack? In the mirror you can see only a certain amount. You can see a fair amount maybe if you’re in the corner and the way the banking is you can see a couple rows back, but sometimes on the straightaway when they’re tucked up right on you, you can only see that car that’s right there in your mirror. 

“You can’t see everything else that’s going on, so the spotter painting a picture is what I call it. Paint me a picture of what’s going on really helps me make the decisions on the race track as the leader and when you’re behind a car you’ve got to do both. 

“So now you’re trying to pass the guy in front of you, so you’re watching where he’s at, but you’ve also got to make the decision on what’s going on behind you and what lane you want to pick, and also understanding who that person is. 

“There are some drivers that will push and push, push, push until they get up front and then they’ll try to pass you, and then there are other drivers that will try to slip you any chance they can to put themselves in a better position to get to the lead. 

“Understanding who those people are and when they’re gonna do it and when those runs are coming are the most important things to think of while you’re doing this at 200 miles an hour. It’s not boring (laughing). There are a lot of things going on that you’re trying to process at a really quick rate.”

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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