Dale Jr., NBC analysts weigh in on rear window of Kevin Harvick’s car

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At least one team and many others on social media took notice of the rear window of Kevin Harvick’s winning car in Sunday’s Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

During the race, Chase Elliott and crew chief Alan Gustafson discussed the rear window of Harvick’s No. 4 Ford.

With about 100 laps to go, Gustafson asked Elliott if he saw the rear window of Harvick’s car and how it appeared bowed.

“The right side of the glass, yep kind of … between the orange jack screw and the black lining, it’s bowed from the right side of the jack screw over.’’

Gustafson responded and estimated that when Harvick’s car was at speed, the window pushed down 2-3 inches. Listen to the audio of their conversation in a clip below from Monday’s NASCAR America:

They weren’t the only ones talking about it. Some on social media posted pictures of the rear window and raised questions about what might be causing it.

NBC analysts Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett added their opinions during Monday’s NASCAR America.

“We heard about Chase Elliott seeing this particular instance on the 4 car, bringing it up to his crew chief,’’ Earnhardt said on his podcast, the Dale Jr. Download, which will be released Tuesday. “That’s common, too. I spent the last five years of my career telling my crew chief anything I saw on a car that I thought might help that car around me – where his track bar looked like it was, is his track bar high on the right side or low on the right side or the left side … does he look like he’s making skew somewhere? Does he have something flared?’’

Earnhardt related how he’d see cars with roof flaps open on speedways.

“You’d see cars out there running around with the roof flap about half an inch up in the air and when the car would slow down they would come back down just because they had found a way to change the pressure inside the car versus what was on the outside. At speed, it raised that flap up. This isn’t new. I think what we’re seeing out of Harvick’s car in these pictures is new in that space, which makes it so interesting to everybody who sees it.’’

Petty’s take on the matter:

“When Dale (Jarrett) and I raced … I would look at his car. If he was doing something, I’m not going to turn him in, I’m not going to put it on social media, I’m going to do it to my car so I can go out there and try to run as good as Dale Jarrett runs.

“It’s a different time now with so many cameras, with so many people out there. Having said that, if anybody watching NASCAR America or in NASCAR believes that Rodney Childers is that big of an idiot to do something that he can’t get back, that he’s going to go out and just blatantly throw it out there in front of people, that’s not Rodney Childers. Rodney Childers is above board, a great guy, has integrity. The way he looks at it, he wants to go outrun you heads up.’’

Petty said he didn’t believe there was any intent to what happened to the rear window of Harvick’s car.

Jarrett also had his opinion:

“You would have to think that there’s no reason for them to go this far, to be this noticeable. Probably an area they worked in starting last year to find something that they could lean on because that’s what they complained of with the Fords last year, was that they just couldn’t go through the corners and carry the speed that they wanted to.

“When something is this noticeable, as Kyle was just saying, probably something went wrong with what they were doing there that made it this noticeable. I don’t think they’re going to put themselves out there for anything like it.’’

For more on what each said, watch the video above.

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Natalie Decker not medically cleared for Las Vegas Truck race

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NASCAR announced right before Friday night’s Truck Series race that Natalie Decker hadn’t been medically cleared to compete.

No details were provided about the issue that prevented Decker from being cleared. During the final stage of the race, NASCAR announced she had been treated and released from the infield medical center.

The Niece Motorsports driver would have started 23rd. Due to her No. 44 truck having cleared inspection and having been placed on the starting grid she was credited with a last-place finish.

Decker has made 11 starts this year. She missed the June 28 race at Pocono after she was hospitalized due to bile duct complications related to her gallbladder removal in December.

Check back for more.

Brandon Brown hopes to shed underdog role in Xfinity playoffs

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Brandon Brown knows the odds are against him advancing beyond the first round of the Xfinity playoffs.

“If I went out and we did a survey and we asked 1,000 NASCAR fans to create a playoff bracket, I guarantee that 90 to 99 percent of them have me getting eliminated in the first round,” he told NBC Sports.

But that’s not stopping him.

Brown is in the Xfinity playoffs for the first time, earning the final spot last weekend with his family-run team. He enters Saturday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) last in the 12-driver field. Brown has 2,000 points and is 10 points behind Ross Chastain, who holds the final transfer spot, entering the first round.

MORE: Saturday’s Xfinity race start time, lineup, forecast

Regardless where he is in the standings, Brown still met the team’s preseason goal of making the playoffs.

“It’s hard to put it into words,” the 27-year-old said of making the playoffs. “It’s so exciting and so thrilling. We’re just happy. Life is good. We’re seeing the fruits of our labor.”

Much of the Xfinity playoff focus will be on Chase Briscoe, who enters with a series-high seven wins. Or Austin Cindric, who won the regular-season title. Or Justin Allgaier, who has won three of the last seven races and could be the favorite if he makes it to the championship race at Phoenix Raceway.

Brown, who is in his second full season in the series, has four consecutive top-20 finishes going into this weekend. He knows the challenge he faces.

He said a key for this weekend is to have no mistakes, be running at the end and try to take advantage of any mistakes other playoff drivers have.

Then, he’ll look to Talladega. He’ll have an upgraded Earnhardt Childress Racing engine for that race, the team spending the extra money for the engine upgrade.

“I go into that track with confidence,” he said. “I need to go out there and make it happen, go win and make an name and go ahead and punch my ticket.”

While Brown knows most look at him as the underdog of these playoffs, he hopes to drop that title someday.

“The goal will be to get rid of that underdog title and to build that program that is going to be looked on as a powerhouse of the NASCAR Xfinity Series,” he said. “I enjoy the ride (as underdog), but now I’m ready to advance past it.”

Points entering Xfinity playoffs 

2,050 – Chase Briscoe

2,050 – Austin Cindric

2,033 – Justin Allgaier

2,025 – Noah Gragson

2,020 – Brandon Jones

2,018 – Justin Haley

2,014 – Harrison Burton

2,010 – Ross Chastain

2,002 – Ryan Sieg

2,002 – Michael Annett

2,001 – Riley Herbst

2,000 – Brandon Brown

First Round races

Sept. 26 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN)

Oct. 3 – Talladega Superspeedway (4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN)

Oct. 10 – Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC)

Saturday Las Vegas Xfinity race: Start time, TV channel

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The NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs get underway with the Saturday Xfinity race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The race is the first of seven to determine the champion.

Chase Briscoe is on the pole after his win last weekend at Bristol

Here is all the info for the Saturday Las Vegas Xfinity race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 7:38 p.m by Cup driver Bubba Wallace. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 7:47 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage access health screening begins at 1 p.m. Drivers report to their cars at 7:20 p.m. The invocation will be given at 7:30 p.m. by Motor Racing Outreach Chaplain, Billy Mauldin. The national anthem will be performed by Mackenzie Mackey at 7:31 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 200 laps (300 miles) around the 1.5-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 45. Stage 2 ends on Lap 90.

TV/RADIO: Coverage begins on NBCSN with Countdown to Green at 7 p.m. Race broadcast begins at 7:30 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s radio coverage will begin at 7 p.m.. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the broadcast.

STREAMING: Watch the race on the NBC Sports App. Click here for the link.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for clear skies with a high of 95 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST RACE: Chase Briscoe beat Ross Chastain and Austin Cindric at Bristol.

LAST RACE AT LAS VEGAS: Chase Briscoe beat Austin Cindric and Ryan Sieg for the win.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for Xfinity starting lineup

General Motors announces leadership for technical center

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General Motors has announced the leadership for its new performance and racing technical center in Concord, North Carolina.

GM has tapped Dr. Eric Warren of Richard Childress Racing to be the director of NASCAR operations at the facility, which was unveiled in January.

Warren will be responsible for competition duties for NASCAR programs, “as well as expanding the involvement of GM’s product development resources in the technical strategy for the Chevrolet race teams,” GM said in a statement.

GM’s 75,000-square-foot facility will feature Driver-in-the-Loop simulators, vehicle simulation, aero development and other practices designed to advance racing and production capabilities.

Warren had been RCR’s Chief Technology Officer since 2017 and part of the team since 2012.

GM also named Mark Stielow to its new Director of Motorsports Competition Engineering position. Stielow will be responsible for overall engineering and technical direction for the NHRA, IndyCar, IMSA and Motorsports Operations. He will have a direct link to GM’s vehicle integration organization.