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Kevin Harvick wins Cup pole at Richmond

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Kevin Harvick won the pole for Saturday night’s Cup race at Richmond Raceway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) with a top qualifying speed of 121.880 mph.

Harvick led 10 of the 16 playoff drivers in qualifying in the top 12.

It is Harvick’s third pole of the year.

“We ended our last race run (in practice), I was really happy with the car,” Harvick told NBCSN. “Didn’t know what we had for qualifying there. But just a huge credit to the race team for putting a qualifying setup underneath it. Obviously, Aric (Almirola) came here and tested and kind of had a baseline for where we needed to shoot for for targets.”

The top five was filled out by Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney and Daniel Suarez, a non-playoff driver.

The top 12 was completed by Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski, Erik Jones, Kyle Larson, Cole Custer and Kyle Busch

Custer, driving Rick Ware Racing’s No. 51 Ford – in a car prepped by Stewart-Haas Racing, is making his third-career start. This is his last Cup race of the season.

Where the rest of the playoff field qualified:

Joey Logano (13th), Alex Bowman (14th), Chase Elliott (19th), Jimmie Johnson (22nd), Clint Bowyer (25th) and Austin Dillon (28th).

The starting lineup will be finalized tomorrow after inspection.

Click here for results.

Friday’s NASCAR schedule at Richmond

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The NASCAR race weekend begins today at Richmond Raceway and includes Cup qualifying and the Xfinity Series playoff opener.

Here’s the day’s full schedule with TV and radio info:

(All times are Eastern)

7:30 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Cup garage opens

8:30 – 9:15 a.m. – Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

10:10 – 10:55 a.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

11:35 a.m. – 12:25 p.m. – Cup practice (NBCSN, Motor Racing Network)

1:30 – 2:20 p.m. – Final Cup practice (NBCSN, MRN)

4:35 p.m. – Xfinity qualifying; multi-car/three rounds (NBCSN)

5:40 p.m. – Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting

6:05 p.m. – Cup qualifying impound; multi-car/three rounds (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

7 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

7:30 p.m. – GoBowling 250; 250 laps/187.5 miles (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Preliminary entry lists for NASCAR at Richmond

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After a trip out west, NASCAR returns to the south this weekend for its second visit of the year to Richmond Raceway.

Cup teams will hold their second playoff race Saturday night while the Xfinity Series kicks off its postseason Friday.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for each race.

Cup – Federated Auto Parts 400 (7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday on NBCSN)

There are 40 entries for the race.

Joey Gase is entered in StarCom Racing’s No. 00 Chevrolet.

Regan Smith is entered in his third race as a substitute driver for Kasey Kahne in the No. 95 Chevrolet.

Kyle Busch won the spring race at Richmond, beating Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin in overtime. Kyle Larson won this race last year, beating Joey Logano and Ryan Newman.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – GoBowling 250 (7:30 p.m. ET on Friday on NBCSN)

There are 41 entries for the race.

Full-time Cup drivers are not permitted to compete in the playoff races.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will make his first NASCAR start since retiring from full-time Cup competition. He will drive the No. 88 Chevrolet.

Ross Chastain, who earned his first-career win last weekend, will make his last scheduled start in Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42 Chevrolet.

Katherine Legge will make her third start of the year for JD Motorsports in the No. 15 Chevrolet. It’ll be her first race on an oval.

Christopher Bell won the spring race, beating Noah Gragson and Elliott Sadler. Brad Keselowski is the defending race winner.

Click here for the entry list.

Brad Keselowski wins in overtime in Las Vegas

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Brad Keselowski won Sunday’s Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in overtime, outrunning Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. to earn his third victory in a row.

The top five was completed by Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney.

The win in the Cup playoff opener is Team Penske’s 500th in motorsports. With Logano and Blaney, it is the first time Penske has had three cars finish in the top five in Cup.

“500 wins today, huge day for the Captain (Roger Penske),” Keselowski told NBCSN. “I did it, boss! To start off the playoffs with a win, that’s really strong. … It’s really a testament to this team here. They’ve been so strong on pit road and I couldn’t have done it without them. We weren’t as fast as the 78 car (Truex), but we nailed the pit stops and restarts when it counted.”

Keselowski had never won three consecutive races before Sunday.

The overtime finish was set up by a wreck involving Kurt Busch, Michael McDowell and David Ragan coming to two laps to go in the scheduled distance. The incident resulted in a red flag before the race resumed.

That wreck caused the 12th and final caution of the race. More than half of the 16-driver playoff field ran into problems throughout the race.

Keselowski led 75 of 272 laps on his way to the win, which is the 27th of his career. The victory follows wins in the Southern 500 and Brickyard 400.

Keselowski also snaps a 13-race win streak by the “Big 3” of Truex, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick on 1.5-mile tracks.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Martin Truex Jr.

STAGE 2 WINNER: Brad Keselowski

MORE: race results

MORE: Point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: No. 1 seed Kyle Busch managed to finish seventh after he spun with 35 laps to go and slid through the front stretch grass … Kyle Larson bounced back from a flat tire in the first stage to earn his sixth runner-up finish of the year … Ryan Blaney earned his first top five in four races … Regan Smith led 10 laps (his most in a season since 2011) and finished 12th, giving Leavine Family Racing its best finish since Kasey Kahne placed fourth in the July Daytona race.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Kevin Harvick and Erik Jones wrecked out on Lap 148 after Harvick lost his right-front tire and hit the wall. Harvick placed 39th and Jones finished last … Jamie McMurray wrecked with 55 laps to go and collected Chase Elliott. McMurray finished 35th and Elliott placed 36th.  … Denny Hamlin wrecked out of Turn 4 with 21 laps to go. He placed 32nd.

NOTABLE: Brad Keselowski is the third driver to earn three consecutive wins this season (Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch). First time in NASCAR’s modern era that three drivers have achieved that feat in a season … Every driver who finished fifth through 18th finished better than their average running position.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Brad clearly found a horseshoe. Three races in a row he’s won and he has not had the best car..” – Martin Truex Jr.

WHAT’S NEXT: Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 22 on NBCSN.

Check back for more.

Erik Jones fastest in final Las Vegas Cup practice

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Pole-sitter Erik Jones was fastest in the final practice session for Sunday’s Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Jones posted a top speed of 181.251 mph around the 1.5-mile track.

Jones, who is in the playoffs, was followed by Ryan Blaney (playoffs, 181.238 mph), Alex Bowman (playoffs, 181.202), Brad Keselowski (playoffs, 181.099) and Ryan Newman (180.777).

The top 10 was completed by Kyle Busch (playoffs), Daniel Suarez, Kyle Larson, (playoffs), Chase Elliott (playoffs) and Jamie McMurray.

Jones had the best 10-lap average at 178.025 mph.

Larson and Joey Logano (playoffs) recorded the most laps in the session with 52.

Click here for final practice results.