NBC Sports Power Rankings: Denny Hamlin new No. 1

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For the second consecutive week, there was extensive upheaval in the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.

Last week saw Kyle Busch regain the top spot, while six drivers entered the top 10 after not being ranked the week before.

This week, there is a new No. 1 in the rankings with New Hampshire runner-up Denny Hamlin. Loudon winner Kevin Harvick, ranked No. 2, leads five drivers who make this week’s poll after being unranked last week. And Kyle Busch falls to No. 4 this week.

Here’s how this week’s rankings shape up:

1. Denny Hamlin (35 points): He’ll be kicking himself for months about the win getting away, but his team showed major mettle. Last week: 5th.

2. Kevin Harvick (33 points): No longer has to worry about when win No. 1 will come. The 2019 season is feeling like a repeat of ’17 when Harvick made the championship round. Last week: Unranked.

3. Erik Jones (31 points): Scores back-to-back third-place finishes and then says of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s threat to get him back: “I guess go ahead.” Becoming a sure bet for the playoffs as long as he avoids Ricky’s revenge. Last week: 4th.

4. Kyle Busch (30 points): Best car didn’t win New Hampshire but heads back to Pocono and site of his win there in June. Last week: 1st.

5. Joey Logano (24 points): Not the result the reigning champ was looking for in his return to New Hampshire but still eked out a solid top 10 finish to keep the points lead. Last week: 2nd.

6. Ryan Newman (21 points): Ability to grind out top 10s has been impressive in recent weeks. Has five top 10s in the last six races. Last week: 7th.

(tie) 7. Matt DiBenedetto (13 points): Three top 10s in the last five races is a big step forward for this team. Making a surge after a miserable start; is it enough to keep his ride? Last week: Unranked.

(tie) 7. Ryan Blaney (13 points): Scored fourth top 10 in the last six races with his fourth-place finish at New Hampshire. Shaping up as a solid darkhorse for the final 10 races. Last week: Unranked.

9. Martin Truex Jr. (8 points): A good rebound from his midrace incident with Clint Bowyer. Has four top 10s in the last six races, but only one finish better than fifth (his win at Sonoma). Last week: Unranked.

10. Christopher Bell (7 points): By earning his fifth win in the first 18 races, is making it harder for Joe Gibbs Racing to not have Bell in its Cup lineup in 2020. Last week: Unranked.

Others Receiving Votes: Kurt Busch (2 points), Brad Keselowski (2 points), Chris Buescher (1 point).

Why Joey Logano is sporting some new specs behind the wheel

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Joey Logano has a new driving aid behind the wheel.

The No. 22 Ford driver began wearing prescription glasses last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway and confirmed Friday at Kansas Speedway that he plans to wear them full time while driving the rest of the season.

“I have been wearing them during the week a lot to get used to them,” said Logano, who didn’t’ wear them during a media availability Friday. “They help me see far away, which I think is a good thing when you are driving a race car. Being able to see little things like debris on the track or your sign on pit road. That seemed to help me last week.”

Logano made the decision after recently borrowing the glasses of No. 22 PR rep Kyle Zimmerman, who uses them for distance.

“We were in the lounge (of the team’s hauler), and I was trying to read the ticker of where everyone was in Xfinity practice, and I tried on his glasses and saw that his glasses helped me,” Logano said. “I figured I should go to the eye doctor.”

It’s been an interesting personal year of growth for Logano, who also announced recently on social media that he and wife Brittany are expecting a second child and revealed last month to The Athletic his battle with Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disease that has caused hair loss.

Logano, who will turn 30 next May, joked about the toll that the years have taken on him.

“Now I have some glasses I have that to go with my awesome hairline,” he said with a laugh. “It is happening guys, it is happening.”

The Loganos have a son, Hudson, who will turn 2 in January. Joey Logano said he is “a little nervous and pretty scared” about becoming a father for the second time.

“It is quite the adjustment, I think,” he said. “Everyone says that one is one and two is 10. That is really frightening.

“We were pretty scared when we had Hudson and he is still alive and going, so that is good. I guess we will figure it out. It will be quite the adjustment. We will have to get ready for that over the offseason. We have a big project ahead of us. But we are looking forward to it. It is going to be a lot of fun, probably really hard but a lot of fun, too.”

Kurt Busch eyes racing in Cup through 2021, another IndyCar effort

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Kurt Busch said talks are progressing with Chip Ganassi Racing on a contract extension and that he also has talked with the team about possibly running another IndyCar race.

Busch, who signed a one-year contract with the Ganassi before this season, said he’s excited about the Next Gen car in Cup that will debut in 2021 and that driving that car is “part of my decision-making with trying to extend my contract with Ganassi.”

The 2004 Cup champion said talks with the team are “headed in a good direction.”

Busch also said that “some of my talks with Ganassi are about an IndyCar.”

He was the 2014 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year after finishing sixth for Andretti Autosport. Busch also noted that with talk of a possible IndyCar/NASCAR weekend in the future, he would be interested in running that IndyCar race, depending on where it would be.

Chip Ganassi Racing is scheduled to field full-time IndyCar entries in 2020 for Scott Dixon, Felix Rosenqvist and Marcus Ericsson.

Busch, 41, isn’t the only Cup driver who is interested in driving an IndyCar at some point. Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson has expressed an interest in running an IndyCar on a road course. Kyle Busch also has expressed an interest in running an IndyCar.

Today’s Xfinity race at Kansas: Start time, lineup and more

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The first race of the round that will determine the championship field of the 2019 Xfinity Series playoffs will take place today at Kansas Speedway.

The eight drivers who are vying for the Xfinity title are: Christopher Bell, Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, Justin Allgaier, Michael Annett, Noah Gragson, Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe.

Here’s the information for today’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: : Stephen Durrell, executive director of the Kansas Lottery, will give the command to start engines at 3:02 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:13 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage opens at 10 a.m. Qualifying is 12:05 p.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 1:15 p.m. Driver introductions are at 2:30 p.m. The invocation will be given by Captain Bill Petree, Whiteman Air Force Base at 2:55 p.m. The National Anthem will be performed at 2:56 p.m. by Joshua Morgan.

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

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

TV/RADIO: NBC will televise the race. Coverage will begin at 2:30 p.m. with Countdown to Green, with the race broadcast beginning at 3 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast will begin at 2:30 p.m. and also can be heard on mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

WATCH ONLINE: Click here for NBC’s live stream of the race.

FORECAST: Wunderground.com forecasts mostly cloudy skies with a temperature of 60 degrees and a 3% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: John Hunter Nemechek led the final 30 laps to win here a year ago.

STARTING LINEUP: Check back after the conclusion of Xfinity qualifying at 1 p.m. ET.

Saturday schedule at Kansas Speedway

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The playoff race weekend continues at Kansas Speedway today.

Cup teams will qualify for Sunday’s race (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC) today while the Xfinity Series begins its Round of 8.

wunderground.com forecasts partly sunny skies, a temperature of 64 degrees and a 20% chance of rain at the start time of the Xfinity Series race.

Here’s the day’s schedule with TV and radio info.

All times are Eastern.

Saturday, Oct. 19

9 a.m. – 3 p.m. – Cup garage open

10 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

12:05 p.m. – Xfinity qualifying; single car/one lap (NBC Sports App)

1:15 p.m. – Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting

1:35 p.m. – Cup qualifying; single car/one lap (NBCSN, Motor Racing Netowrk, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

2:30 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

3 p.m. – Kansas Lottery 300; 200 laps/300 miles (NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)