Daniel McFadin

When it comes to promoting NASCAR, Ryan Blaney isn’t afraid of saying yes

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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Ryan Blaney took exception to comments made by Kyle Busch on Tuesday criticizing NASCAR marketing and publicity campaigns that focus more on young Cup drivers over veterans like Busch.

Busch described the strategies as “stupid” and “bothersome,” saying veteran drivers and their sponsors have paid their dues.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver also said young drivers “are bullied into doing more things than the older guys are because we say no a lot more because we’ve been there, done that and have families.”

Blaney said the comments “kind of made me upset how he bashed that part of it.”

The 24-year-old Team Penske driver is entering his third full-time Cup season after two years with Wood Brothers Racing.

Blaney made clear he’s never been bullied into doing something to promote the sport.

“I’ve been really fortunate to get a lot of great chances from NASCAR to go do things outside of motorsports,” Blaney said Wednesday during the NASCAR Media Tour. “NBC and NASCAR were a big thing in getting me to do “Taken,” the Cars (3) voice and Logan Lucky. That was all really from NASCAR. I’ve always been very open to do a lot of the things they want. It’s not always been stuff like that. You go do some markets where maybe you don’t think it’s going to be a very good market, but you do it anyway because it helps the sport and it helps yourself. It’s win-win for everybody.

“Maybe (Busch) doesn’t like doing it. I feel like if some drivers were more willing to do these things they’d get asked more to do it. The reason I get asked to do it a lot is because I say yes a lot. Because I think it’s good for the sport and myself. I can tell you personally he doesn’t like to do a lot of stuff so that’s why they don’t ask him to do a lot of stuff.”

Blaney was among many current and former Cup drivers who appeared in Logan Lucky in cameo roles, including Busch. They joined Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Carl Edwards and Joey Logano.

Blaney stressed the importance of all drivers, not just those in his age bracket, making the effort to push NASCAR toward “new demographics of the world.”

“Whether it’s from younger fans to new fans who don’t pay attention to it who aren’t young,” Blaney said. “It’s not just young drivers who are gonna make people appeal to the sport, it’s the whole lot.

“I think everybody should be little bit more open to helping the sport out because that’s how it’s going to survive. I’m trying to the best that I can at it and a lot of other drivers are helping to. It’s just trying to get more and more every day.”

Ty Dillon, 25, “laughed a little bit” at Busch’s comments.

“Kyle’s got a good reach himself,” said Dillon, driver of Germain Racing’s No. 13 Chevrolet. “The fact that he’s such a good driver and winner, I don’t know if he realizes how much a following and push that he gets as well. I think it’s good that NASCAR is pushing the younger demographic, we need the younger fans. We need to keep getting those fans. But you shouldn’t have to rely on NASCAR to go all your social and your reach out for you. We have such great platforms to be able to do things like that with. If he feels that way, that he’s frustrated, he should use his platforms to go after that fan base himself.”

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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