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Phoenix Is Larson’s Last Chance To Qualify For NASCAR Championship 4

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Chip Ganassi Racing

AVONDALE, AZ (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – ISM Raceway outside Phoenix is Kyle Larson’s last chance to qualify for the NASCAR Championship 4.

Larson enters the race in seventh place in the points standings, 23-points out of the fourth and final playoff spot, tied with Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney.

The easiest way for Larson to qualify for the Championship 4 is to go out and win the race.  Race winners automatically advance.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. won two weeks ago at Martinsville and Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick won last week at Texas locking both of those drivers into the Championship 4, which takes place Sunday November 17th at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Should a non-playoff driver win on Sunday then both the third and fourth place positions in the points standings would earn a position in the Championship 4.

Three Rivers Karting

Six drivers: Larson, Gibbs’ Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin along with Penske’s Joey Logano and Blaney as well as Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott, will be fighting for the remaining two Championship spots on Sunday.

Busch and Logano enter the race currently above the points cutoff line, +22 and +20 respectively.  Hamlin sits 20-points behind the cutoff and Elliott sits 78-points below following mechanical issues at Martinsville and an accident at Texas.

“We all know one guy is going to move through on points and we have to do whatever we have to do in order to be that guy,” said Busch.  “We’re two points up on the 22 (Logano), so it’s going to be a race between the 18 and 22, imagine that.  We’ll look forward to the challenge and hope we have a strong run in order to make it through to Homestead.”

“It’s going to be a good battle for sure,” said Logano.  “Obviously, the No. 18 team is good and Kyle (Busch) is a good driver, but I think we are a great team and they are beatable just like everybody else. We are racing for that last spot just in case someone behind us out the of the Top-4 wins.”

Larson hopes to be that driver.  Larson’s best playoff showing is third place in 2016 and 2018.  Larson’s best finish at ISM Raceway is a runner-up finish in the Spring race of 2017.  He also finished in third place in the 2016 and 2018 playoff races.  In 11-starts at Phoenix, Larson has three top-five and five top-10 finishes, with an average finish of 13.5.  Larson has an average finish of 16.0 in the last five playoff events at the track.

Practice for the Bluegreen Vacations 500 starts Friday at 4:05 p.m. ET with the Final Practice scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.  Qualifying is scheduled to take place on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. ET with the race Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET.

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NASCAR

Hometown Boy Kurt Busch Wins In Las Vegas

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Chris Graythen/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS, NV (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch beat Matt DiBenedetto and Denny Hamlin in overtime to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The victory was Busch’s first at his hometown track in 23-starts and his first victory in 2020.

“This is what kids dream of when they go racing,” said Busch, who grew up racing on the ‘Bullring’ with his Dad and younger brother Kyle.  “You dream of winning at your hometown track and for two decades it’s kicked my butt and tonight with this Monster Energy Chevy, I’m in awe.”

Busch had to survive two late-race restarts to get the victory.  Busch got a fantastic restart with 12-laps to go and had a multi-car length lead when Christopher Bell cut a tire and slowed on the front stretch where Hendrick Motorsports William Byron crashed into Bell to bring out the caution with 7-laps to go, sending the race into overtime.

The last restart saw Busch get another great jump out front as DiBenedetto and Hamlin were battling for second place as the No. 1 Monster Energy Camaro raced to the checkered flag.

“I pulled out some drag racing skills on the restarts,” said Busch.  “I knew that was our strong suit.  I knew that was Ford’s weak suit.  We just put ourselves in position and we held them off.  Chip Ganassi was up in the suites somewhere and I could feel him breathing down my neck ‘I want to win’ and we did it.”

Three Rivers Karting

The win also automatically advances Busch to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Playoffs giving him and the No. 1 Monster Energy/GEARWRENCH team a little bit of a buffer before the Playoff field is narrowed down to the Round of 4 after races at Talladega Superspeedway and ‘The Roval’ at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” said Busch. “It’s sinking in, no Talladega worries, no Roval worries but we’re still going there to get points.  We’re still going there to add up what we need to do to win this Championship.”

DiBenedetto held on for second place followed by Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Alex Bowman.

The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs move onto Talladega Superspeedway October 4, 2020.

Las Vegas Cup Results

NASCAR Cup Series Points

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NASCAR

Chase Briscoe Wins NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco 300 at Las Vegas

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Chris Graythen/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS, NV (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chase Briscoe dominated the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff opener Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, punching his ticket to the second round.

Briscoe won all three stages and beat Noah Gragson on a late restart to win the Alsco 300.  The victory was Briscoe’s eighth of the season and 10th career win in 78 Xfinity Series starts.

“An unbelievable car,” said Briscoe, who led a race-high 164-laps. “That thing was on rails.  It was so easy to drive.  By far the best race car I’ve ever had.”

The victory gives Briscoe a 17-point lead over Austin Cindric in the Championship fight.  Cindric finished sixth.

Three Rivers Karting

Gragson, a Las Vegas native, wanted to park his JR Motorsports Chevrolet in victory lane in front of the hometown crowd.

“It’s good to get points but it’s kind of frustrating,” said Gragson.  “We were all doing everything we could.  I was kind of the best of the rest.  The 98 (Briscoe) was so fast.”

The second place finish moved Gragson up a spot in the Championship standings, 34-points behind Briscoe and 17-points behind Cindric.

Daniel Hemric finished third followed by Justin Allgaier in fourth.  Ryan Sieg rounded out the Top 5.

The Xfinity Series title fight moves to Talladega Superspeedway on October 3, 2020.

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Austin Hill Wins NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Westgate 200

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Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS, NV (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Austin Hill grabbed the lead on a restart with 39-laps remaining and powered to the victory in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Westgate 200 Friday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Hill’s Weins Canada Toyota crossed the finish line 0.546-seconds ahead of Sheldon Creed, punching Hill’s ticket to the next round of the NASCAR Playoffs.

“We didn’t start the race where we wanted to after having a bad race at Bristol,” said Hill.  “Track position was huge today.  Seemed like back in the pack it was pretty hard to pass.  I knew when we were restarting up front there we had to get aggressive, and that’s what I did.”

Creed led a race-high 89 of the 134 laps but had to settle for second place after winning both the first and second stage of the race.

“Frustrating honestly,” Creed said of the runner-up finish.  “Way faster truck than him (Hill).  I feel like the pace picked up there at the end running the top.  He’d run half a truck off the wall and I’d run against the wall.  He’d slide up and I would get really tight or really loose behind him.  Just couldn’t do anything.”

Three Rivers Karting

Creed did earn a race-high 55-points as well as 2-playoff points to help in the Championship fight.

Tanner Gray finished third followed by Stewart Friesen in fourth and Chandler Smith rounded out the Top 5.

The race featured four lead changes among four drivers.  Five caution flags for 25-laps slowed the average speed of the race to 119.861-seconds.

The next race for the Truck Series is October 3, 2020 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Las Vegas Truck Results

Truck Series Standings

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