Larson's playoff hopes hit by early Kansas exit
Kyle Larson is staring at elimination from the NASCAR playoffs after an engine failure ended his race Sunday after just 73 laps at Kansas Speedway.
Kyle Larson is out of the Kansas race after just 73 laps because of an engine issue. He entered the race 29 points ahead of the current cutoff, and he will need other drivers to have trouble or poor performances if he wants to advance to the semifinal round. Larson: "Things happen. … It's disappointing. There's still a long race left to go. Maybe we can get lucky."
Kyle Larson is in the garage with an engine issue 75 laps into the race at Kansas. He is in danger of elimination from the playoffs as it appears his day is done.
Matt Kenseth, who doesn't have a ride next year, needs to rally to avoid elimination from the playoffs today at Kansas. Kenseth, 10th in the standings and eight points out of the current cutoff as the field will go from 12 drivers to eight, knows this could be his last chance. Kenseth: "If we don't run good Sunday, then we don't deserve to be in the next round."
Kyle Busch has won five poles and four races in the last 12, but after finishes of 29th at Charlotte and 27th at Talladega, he enters the elimination race Sunday at Kansas on the outside looking in. Kansas used to be one of his worst tracks but he has five consecutive top-5 finishes at Kansas.
Four out of the 12 playoff drivers will be eliminated from championship contention after the race today at Kansas. Barring accidents, it appears four drivers are vying for the last two spots. Ryan Blaney enters seventh in the standings with a nine-point cushion and is battling three past Cup champions – Jimmie Johnson is seven points ahead of the cutoff, Kyle Busch is seven behind and Matt Kenseth is eight behind.
Goodyear has conducted two tire tests for 2018 but NASCAR has not announced a contract extension for the tire supplier, whose contract runs out after 2017. Goodyear worldwide racing GM Stu Grant: "We have not finalized the agreement yet, that's true. We're getting very close to a contract extension. … We are testing for 2018, we're getting ready to build tires for the Daytona 500, so we're operating like we're going to be here in 2018."
Paul Menard is at Kansas Speedway and expected to race today. Richard Childress Racing has Daniel Hemric on standby in case Menard has to leave for the birth of his baby.
Jim Watson, a road-crew fabricator for Furniture Row Racing, died Saturday night after suffering a heart attack. He was 55.
Failed inspection puts Blaney at back of field
After qualifying third for Sunday's NASCAR Cup elimination race at Kansas Speedway, Ryan Blaney thought he had the best position among drivers on the playoff bubble. But a failed post-qualifying inspection now has him starting last in the 40-car field.
Christopher Bell grabs first NASCAR Xfinity win
Christopher Bell -- a regular in the Truck Series who is not eligible for the series playoffs -- secured his first NASCAR Xfinity Series win on Saturday at Kansas Speedway.
Dale Jr.'s final ride: Kansas
Dale Earnhardt Jr. likes Kansas Speedway, and not just for the great barbecue nearby. He's run well there at times and sees the potential to do it again Sunday.
U.S. Olympic speedskater Brian Hansen chats with Modern Family actor Eric Stonestreet, a Kansas City native, prior to the Xfinity Series race at Kansas Speedway.
Ryan Blaney, who has to start from the rear Sunday after failing postqualifying tech, was the fastest in final practice Saturday at Kansas.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who announced Monday that his wife Amy is pregnant, said he is trying to soak up all the experiences of being an expectant father.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. talks about hearing the news of his wife being pregnant and the heartbeat. His wife, Amy, is due to give birth to their first child May 2.
Playoff intensity ratchets up for Matt Kenseth, other former champions
For former champion Matt Kenseth, a good season has not been a winning one. He may have to get to Victory Lane at Kansas on Sunday to advance to the semifinals of the playoffs. But he's not alone as the intensity rises with just five races left.
Ryan Blaney, who was third in NASCAR Cup qualifying Friday at Kansas, had his qualifying time disallowed after his car failed postqualifying tech. He will start last in the 40-car field Sunday. Blaney sits seventh in the standing, nine points ahead of the current cutoff heading into the playoff elimination race Sunday.
Martin Truex Jr. on his pole-winning lap at Kansas Speedway: "The commitment level was high."
Truex takes pole for elimination race at Kansas
Martin Truex Jr. continued his winning ways at Kansas Speedway on Friday night by capturing the pole for this weekend's NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series playoff elimination race.
Kevin Harvick will start beside polesitter Martin Truex Jr. on Sunday at Kansas. Harvick has a 22-point edge on the current playoff cutoff and feels he has done everything so far at Kansas to put him in position to keep from being among the four drivers eliminated Sunday.
Martin Truex Jr. has won the pole for the race Sunday at Kansas Speedway. It is huge for the race next week at Martinsville as he will get the first selection of pit stall for that race, too, because both qualifying and the race are the same day. The first pit stall at Martinsville is a bigger advantage there than at most tracks.
Clint Bowyer has cooled off since Talladega blowup
Clint Bowyer wasn't happy with his crew chief, Mike Bugarewicz, after a wreck late in last Sunday's race at Talladega, and he let him know it right on pit road. Both say it's behind them now, but changes may be on the horizon for Stewart-Haas Racing.
Kyle Busch will wear this helmet the next two weeks and will raffle it off through his foundation website. The helmet, created by noted helmet designer Jason Beam, actually glows in the dark.
Clint Bowyer says the frustration he displayed at Talladega includes the safety concerns of racing there. Bowyer, who got out of his car on pit road and yelled at his crew chief, said he didn't think the car could continue and his race was over.
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