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Ty Majeski shakes off late-race contact to win Friday Night Thunder

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Ty Majeski once again showed why he’s one of the best iRacing drivers in the world, dominating from the pole en route to the win under the lights in Friday Night Thunder at a virtual Martinsville Speedway.

“I was able to control the race starting up front and was able to control all those restarts,” Majeski said on  the  eNASCAR broadcast. “Thankfully, I was just able to really stay in control the entire race, not make any mistakes and we were able to bring it home.

“Definitely, I feel like it was long overdue. I’ve always had speed but just never could put a whole race together.

“I don’t run these big cars a ton, so it took me a bit to find my rhythm with them and get the strategies right. I hurt myself so many times on strategy on the Pro Invitational races and Saturday Night Thunder races, so I just learned each and every week and we were finally able to put it all together tonight.

“It certainly helps being on a short track, which is what I primarily do on iRacing. So it was right in my wheelhouse and thankfully I was able to hold those guys off on all those restarts ad put a whole race together as well.”

Alex Labbe finished second, followed by Stefan Parsons, Donny Lia and Josh Berry.

Sixth through 10th were Chase Cabre, Derek Krause, Anthony Alfredo, Noah Gragson and Drew Herring.

Even after contact with Stephen Leicht with 14 laps to go didn’t keep Majeski from taking the checkered flag in the 125-lap race in Xfinity Series virtual cars.

Leicht had been involved in a solo incident and tried to spin his car back into traffic on the frontstretch, only to make contact with the cars of both Majeski and Lia.

Leicht was parked by race officials after turning into Majeski and Lia on Lap 111. The cars of both Majeski and Lia suffered only minor damage.

Majeski, a native of Seymour, Wisconsin, becomes the fifth and final different winner of the Friday or Saturday Night Thunder series.

Friday night’s race was a prelude to the final scheduled NASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series even, which takes place at 3 p.m. ET Saturday at a virtual North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Results

Feature

1. Ty Majeski
2. Alex Labbe
3. Stefan Parsons
4. Donny Lia
5. Josh Berry
6. Chase Cabre
7. Derek Kraus
8. Anthony Alfredo
9. Noah Gragson
10. Drew Herring
11. Ty Gibbs
12. Myatt Snider
13. Bayley Currey
14. Grant Enfinger
15. Christian Eckes
16. Ryan Ellis
17. Josh Bilicki
18. Landon Huffman
19. Kaz Grala
20. Ryan Truex
21. Brett Moffitt
22. Justin Allgaier
23. Kyle Weatherman
24. Harrison Burton
25. Jesse Iwuji
26. Logan Seavey
27. Jeb Burton
28. Todd Gilliland
29. Stephen Leicht
30. Drew Dollar

Heat 1 (10 laps – top 6 drivers advance to main event)

1. Ty Majeski
2.
Chase Cabre
3. Todd Gilliland
4. Brett Moffitt
5. Drew Dollar
6. Ryan Truex
7. Grant Enfinger
8. Ryan Truex
9. Chase Briscoe
10. Ty Gibbs

Heat 2 (10 laps – top 6 drivers advance to main event)

1. Anthony Alfredo
2. Stephen Leicht
3. Harrison Burton
4. Josh Bilicki
5. Landon Huffman
6. Myatt Snider
7. Drew Herring
8. CJ McLaughlin
9. Ryan Vargas
10. Ruben Garcia Jr.

Heat 3 (10 laps – top 6 drivers advance to main event)

1. Donny Lia
2. Josh Berry
3. Justin Allgaier
4. Derek Kraus
5. Kyle Weatherman
6. Kaz Grala
7. Brandon Brown
8. Jeffrey Earnhardt
9. Spencer Boyd
10. Scott Stenzel

Heat 4 (10 laps – top 6 drivers advance to main event)

1. Alex Labbe
2. Stefan Parsons
3. Bayley Currey
4. Logan Seavey
5. Noah Gragson
6. Christian Eckes
7. Ryan Ellis
8. Austin Cindric
9. Will Rodgers
10. Matt Mills

Last Chance qualifying race (15 laps – top six drivers advance to main event)

1. Grant Enfinger
2. Drew Herring
3. Jesse Iwuji
4. Ryan Ellis
5. Ty Gibbs
6. Jeb Burton
7. Scott Stenzel
8. Jeffrey Earnhardt
9. Chase Briscoe
10. Austin Cindric
11. Ruben Garcia Jr.
12. Will Rodgers
13. CJ McLaughlin
14. Brandon Brown
15. Ryan Vargas
16. Spencer Boyd
17. Matt Mills

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Kurt Busch seeks first Las Vegas win, but without hometown fans

Kurt Busch
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A win by Kurt Busch in tonight’s Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7 p.m. ET on NBCSN) couldn’t come under more bittersweet circumstances for the Chip Ganassi Racing driver.

Should Busch claim the victory on the 1.5-mile track, he’d go from being the last driver on the playoff grid (3,001 points entering the race) to the first driver to advance to the Round of 8.

While it would be his first victory of the year, it would also be his first NASCAR win at his home track in 23 starts across the Cup and Xfinity Series.

More: Stage points critical at Vegas

“The Vegas track has definitely been one of the tough ones for me over the years with results and finishes not where I would have expected them to be,” Busch said this week. “And the teams that I’ve raced for just have never quite found that right magic set-up or combination. And then for me, it’s a track that I just have that trouble with.

“There are a few tracks like Indianapolis and Martinsville; those are a few places where I struggle. And so with Vegas, I always put that little extra hometown pressure on myself and I would love to win there.”

The 42-year-old Las Vegas-native rolls off ninth on the 1.5-mile track. It’s his fourth while driving for Ganassi.

In his 21 Cup starts in Las Vegas, Busch’s best result is third in 2005 when he competed for Roush Fenway Racing. He has just one other top five. That came in last year’s spring race when he drove a throwback paint scheme to his 1999 NASCAR Southwest Series championship.

That day he led 23 laps. It was only the seventh time he’d led laps there and just the third time he’d totaled more than six laps led.

In February, Busch finished 25th.

If Busch were to finally make it to Vegas’ Victory Lane, the celebration would be somewhat muted.

It was announced last weekend that fans would not be allowed to attend the races at Las Vegas due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would love to win through the spirit of the camera and everything on NBC Sports; and I know the fans there, local, will be watching and cheering on the Busch brothers,” Busch said. “So, that’s where I would connect. And hopefully do it through the TV side of it. We’ll get fans back one day and we’ll come back and race.”

Busch enters the Round of 12 having earned just one top 10 in the first round, an eighth-place finish at Darlington. He finished 13th at Richmond and 15th at Bristol.

“What I like is we have had better lap times at all three races so far compared to maybe the five or six races leading into the playoffs,” Busch said. “We know that our cushion is gone. We ended Bristol with 33 points to the good. And now we start Vegas minus four (points behind Austin Dillon in the cutoff spot). So that’s just part of the system and now we have to be perfect. We have to get every point possible that we’re able to get on our own at Vegas, Talladega, and the Roval. And, that should help us advance.”

Carolina Blue: Brad Daugherty and Michael Jordan bonded by NASCAR

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Brad Daugherty and Michael Jordan were teammates from 1982-84 at the University of North Carolina and Eastern Conference rivals throughout the 1980s and ’90s in the NBA.

But their friendship was about more than just hoops. While growing up on opposite ends of the Tar Heel State, Daugherty and Jordan both developed a passion for following NASCAR.

Tobacco Road meant fast cars and hard-driving heroes for these two North Carolina natives.

LIFELONG FAN: Michael Jordan explains why he’s partnering with Denny Hamlin

In a NASCAR on NBC feature, Daugherty recalls how NASCAR impacted his life and Jordan’s and led both into team ownership. Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin announced they will form a team to field cars for Bubba Wallace next season.

Daughterty notes in the feature that Wallace “has led a dynamic transformation as NASCAR banned Confederate flags and recommitted to inclusion amidst times of great unrest. This is a huge moment for NASCAR, a cultural momentum shift. This is people of all colors coming together to create an all-American race team already with championship lineage.

“With proper funding, equipment and crewmembers, this will be the best chance ever for a Black driver to win – and while driving for a Black owner. An opportunity to shock the world like Muhammad Ali once did.”

Watch the feature above on Brad Daugherty and Michael Jordan or by clicking this link.

Las Vegas Xfinity results, driver points

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Chase Briscoe‘s victory Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway sends him into the next round of the Xfinity playoffs.

Noah Gragson led a 2-3-4 finish for JR Motorsports. Gragson was second and followed by Daniel Hemric and Justin Allgaier. Ryan Sieg finished fifth.

Briscoe dominated the race, leading 164 of the 200 laps.

Click here for Xfinity race results

POINTS

Ross Chastain finished 16th, last among the playoff drivers, and fell out of a transfer spot to the second round. He’s two points behind Harrison Burton for the final transfer spot. Michael Annett is 10 points behind Burton. Riley Herbst is 14 points behind Burton. Brandon Brown is 20 points behind Burton.

Click here for driver points report

Chase Briscoe scores 8th Xfinity win of year with Las Vegas triumph

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Chase Briscoe met a preseason goal of winning eight races with his victory in Saturday night’s Xfinity playoff opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Briscoe, who also won at Las Vegas in February, advances to the second round.

Briscoe dominated, winning both stages on the way to his second consecutive victory and eighth of the year. He led 164 of 200 laps.

“Awesome car,” Briscoe said on the radio of the car that also won at this 1.5-mile speedway earlier this year. “Can’t say enough, awesome car.”

Gragson said of Briscoe’s car on NBCSN: “Lot of race cars out here and one space shuttle.”

Las Vegas native Noah Gragson finished second and was followed by JR Motorsports teammates Daniel Hemric and Justin Allgaier. Ryan Sieg placed fifth.

Austin Cindric placed sixth and was followed by Michael Annett, Anthony Alfredo, Harrison Burton and Justin Haley.

Briscoe’s eight wins through 27 races ties him with Jack Ingram and Sam Ard for the most wins by non-Cup drivers through 27 races in a season. Ard and Ingram both did it in 1984. Briscoe’s eight wins ties him with Carl Edwards for most wins by a Ford driver in a season in the Xfinity Series. Edwards accomplished the feat in 2011.

“I knew this team was fully capable of achieving that and even more,” Briscoe told NBCSN of winning eight races this year. “I just can’t say thank you enough to Gene Haas and Tony Stewart and everyone that lets me drive these race cars. It has been an unbelievable season and we still have a lot, six more wins that we can try to get and a championship. That is what we are going to try to do. I am so happy to start the playoffs like this. After the last couple weeks we had, to go to Bristol and win and now here is a pretty good way to start our playoffs.”

The 25-year-old Briscoe does not know where he’ll run next season. He has a year left on his contract with Ford.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Chase Briscoe

STAGE 2 WINNER: Chase Briscoe

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Ryan Sieg’s fifth-place finish is his fifth top five of the season, the most he’s had in a season. … Runner-up Noah Gragson has finished in the top six in all four of his Xfinity Las Vegas starts. He did it by overcoming a bloody nose during the race. At one point, he put roll bar padding up his nose to clog it. … Daniel Hemric had finished 24th or worse in four of his last five starts before Saturday’s race. He finished third at Las Vegas.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Ross Chastain finished 16th, last among the playoff drivers. It’s his first finish outside the top 10 at a 1.5-mile speedway this season.

NEXT: The series races Oct. 3 at Talladega Superspeedway (4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) in the middle race of the opening round of the playoffs.