NASCAR revised schedule announced; midweek races added

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Two midweek Cup races in July will be run after a NASCAR revised schedule (through August 2) was announced on Thursday.

The All-Star Race will be held Wednesday night, July 15 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Cup Series also will race on Thursday night, July 23 at Kansas Speedway.

NBC’s first NASCAR races will be the July 4 Xfinity event on the Indianapolis road course and the July 5 Cup race on the Indianapolis oval. NBC also will air the IndyCar race July 4 at Indy.

Fox will then broadcast the NASCAR races at Kentucky and the All-Star Race at Charlotte before NBC and NBCSN take over broadcasting Cup and Xfinity Series races the rest of the season. The Truck Series races will continue to be seen on Fox and FS1 through the end of its season.

Here is the NASCAR revised schedule through Aug. 2:

(ALL TIMES ARE EASTERN)

June 26 at Pocono: ARCA race (6 p.m., FS1)

June 27 at Pocono: Truck Series race (12:30 p.m., FS1)

June 27 at Pocono: Cup Series race (3:30 p.m., Fox)

June 28 at Pocono: Xfinity Series race (12:30 p.m., FS1)

June 28 at Pocono: Cup Series race (4 p.m., FS1)

July 4 at Indianapolis: Xfinity Series race (3 p.m., NBC)

July 5 at Indianapolis: Cup Series race (4 p.m., NBC)

July 9 at Kentucky: Xfinity Series race (8 p.m., FS1)

July 10 at Kentucky: Xfinity Series race (8 p.m., FS1)

July 11 at Kentucky: Truck Series race (1 p.m., FS1)

July 12 at Kentucky: Cup Series race (2:30 p.m., FS1)

July 15 at Charlotte: ARCA Series race (4 p.m., FS1)

July 15 at Charlotte: Cup Series All-Star Open race (7 p.m., FS1)

July 15 at Charlotte: Cup Series All-Star Race (8:30 p.m., FS1)

July 18 at Texas: Xfinity Series race (3 p.m., NBCSN)

July 18 at Texas: Truck Series race (8 p.m., FS1)

July 19 at Texas: Cup Series race (3 p.m., NBCSN)

July 23 at Kansas: Cup Series race (7:30 p.m., NBCSN)

July 24 at Kansas: Truck Series race (7 p.m., FS1)

July 24 at Kansas: ARCA Series race (10 p.m., FS1)

July 25 at Kansas: Truck Series race (1:30 p.m., FS1)

July 25 at Kansas: Xfinity Series race (5 p.m., NBCSN)

August 2 at New Hampshire: Cup Series race (3 p.m., NBCSN)

NASCAR previously announced its revised schedule through June 21.

Further national series dates will be announced at a later date. Additional details about the All-Star Race will be announced at a later date.

CAN FANS ATTEND ANY OF THESE RACES?

Pocono Raceway has announced its June races will be held without spectators.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway has announced its July races will be held without spectators.

Kentucky Speedway announced that its July races will take place without spectators.

Charlotte Motor Speedway states that for the July 15 All-Star Race “options for fan entry are being evaluated in consultation with state and local health officials, but no decisions have been finalized at this time.”

Texas Motor Speedway states that it has developed with NASCAR “a comprehensive plan and continue to work with state and local officials to determine the size and scope of the number of race fans who will be able to attend the weekend’s events.”

Kansas Speedway announced that its NASCAR revised schedule has July races that will run without spectators. But on its website, it stated: “We continue to work closely with state and local officials to determine if it may be possible to have fans attend our races in July. As the situation evolves, we will immediately share any new information with our customers

New Hampshire Motor Speedway states that “it’s unclear at this time if fans will be allowed access” for the Aug. 2 Cup race.

REALIGNED RACES

The July 9 Xfinity race at Kentucky is realigned from New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The July 24 ARCA race at Kansas Speedway is realigned from Chicagoland Speedway.

The July 25 Truck race at Kansas Speedway is moved from Chicagoland Speedway.

The July 25 Xfinity race at Kansas Speedway is moved from Iowa Speedway.

Chad Knaus to move off pit box for executive role at Hendrick

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Chad Knaus, whose success as a crew chief is nearly unparalleled in NASCAR, will step down from that role after this season and move into a leadership position at Hendrick Motorsports, the team announced Tuesday.

Knaus will become vice president of competition. He will oversee technical development for Hendrick Motorsports, including implantation of the Next Gen car in 2022. He also will be responsible for personnel for each of the four teams, including crew chiefs, pit crews, engineering, fabrication, assembly and other team-related staff.

Knaus won seven championships as Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief. Only Hall of Fame crew chief Dale Inman won more titles. Inman won eight, scoring seven with Richard Petty and one with Terry Labonte. Knaus has 82 career Cup wins. All but one came with Johnson. William Byron scored his first career Cup win in August at Daytona with Knaus as his crew chief. Byron was eliminated from the playoffs last weekend. The 49-year-old Knaus is the only crew chief to have competed in NASCAR’s postseason all 17 years.

Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus before the 2005 Coca-Cola 600. They combined to win that event four times.  (Photo by Harold Hinson/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images)

“When I started at Hendrick Motorsports (in 1993) working for Ray Evernham, my goal was to be a crew chief,” Knaus said in a statement from the team. “Starting at a young age, I wanted to win every race we entered and battle for every championship.

“Mr. (Rick) Hendrick has given me the chance to do exactly that, and I could not be more thankful to him. After all these years, my competitive desire has not changed at all, but now I have a family that deserves my attention. This new executive role will allow me to compete in a different way with all four of our teams while spending more time with my wife and two young children.

“I appreciate the company supporting my decision, and I’m truly excited about the challenge ahead of me to help us grow and win. I’m also looking forward to working closely with Jeff (Andrews), who I admire and have great respect for. I owe so much to Mr. Hendrick and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports, and I’m ready for the next chapter.”

Knaus and his wife Brooke welcomed a baby girl July 30. Vivienne Mae Knaus is the couple’s second child. Son Kipling was born in 2018.

A new crew chief for Byron will be announced at a later date.

Chad Knaus, car owner Rick Hendrick and Jimmie Johnson displaying their rings after Johnson claimed the 2013 Daytona 500. (Photo by John Harrelson/NASCAR via Getty Images)

“In life, it’s rare to witness true excellence first-hand, but that’s precisely what we’ve been treated to with Chad,” Hendrick said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is bittersweet because, in my opinion, he is the finest crew chief our sport has ever seen.

“Although we’re going to miss him atop the pit box, I’m heartened that Chad has made this decision for himself and his growing family and that he is energized about the opportunity to move us forward in a new capacity. There is no one with higher standards or a stronger passion for winning. He will continue to elevate Hendrick Motorsports and instill his championship mentality throughout the company.”

Knaus served two races as crew chief for Casey Atwood in 2000 and then did one race for Stacy Compton that season. In 2001, Knaus was paired with Compton. Knaus rejoined Hendrick Motorsports to be Johnson’s crew chief in 2002. They remained together until 2019 when Knaus moved to Byron’s team.   

Knaus will report to Andrews, 55, who has been promoted to executive vice president and general manager, effective immediately.

Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus celebrate their seventh NASCAR Cup championship after winning the 2016 season finale in Miami. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

Andrews joined Hendrick Motorsports in 1992 and most recently served as vice president of competition. He had held that role since 2017.

Previously, Andrews held a leadership position in the team’s engine department, including director of engine operations. In his expanded role, Andrews will oversee all competition-related departments, including powertrain, manufacturing and racing operations. He will continue to support the organization’s technical relationship with Chevrolet and remain its primary liaison with NASCAR’s competition group. Andrews reports to Hendrick Motorsports president Marshall Carlson.

“In my almost 29-year NASCAR career, I’ve been fortunate to work for just one organization,” Andrews said in a statement from the team. “Mr. Hendrick is a racer and a fierce competitor. His drive to win is contagious, and I’m grateful to have a team of like-minded people who share that passion. Racing is all I have ever done professionally. When I left my home and my family 33 years ago to pursue this dream, I never could have imagined the opportunities that have been provided by so many people, most importantly Mr. Hendrick.”

Said Hendrick in a statement: “As we look to the years ahead, Jeff and Chad are going to play significant roles in our success. They’re tremendous leaders who are respected within our organization and across the entire auto racing world. In addition, they each bring unique strengths and skillsets that will complement each other extremely well and benefit all of Hendrick Motorsports. We’re in the business of winning, and this combination is going to help us do just that.”

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