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Heads up: Kansas weekend
Here are the hot topics, trending news and key story lines to get you ready for this weekend's races at Kansas Speedway . WEATHER The good news? It doesn't appear likely that a hurricane will impact this weekend's racing at Kansas . The highest chance of precipitation is around 20 percent, according to Weather.com. Otherwise, we're looking at consistent temps hovering around 81 degrees most of Saturday and Sunday, while it will be mostly cloudy and a little cooler (70 degrees) when cars roll on Friday, according to the National Weather Service. KEY TIMES Sprint Cup Series: The Sprint Cup Series holds its first practice Fri d ay at 1 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App), with Coors Light Pole qualifying at 6:15 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App). The Hollywood Casino 400 is at 2:15 p.m. ET Sunday (NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). XFINITY Series: The XFINITY Series opens practice Friday at 2:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App) and qualifies Saturday at noon ET (CNBC/NBC Sports App). The Kansas Lottery 300 is Saturday at 3 p.m. ET (NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). CATCH DRIVERS LIVE We'll stream every driver press conference in the Kansas media center at NASCAR.com/presspass. Click here for a full schedule. Click here to tune into the live stream . LAST TIME Like last week, Joey Logano is the defending race winner. The Team Penske driver led 42 of 269 laps to secure a victory in the middle of his three-race sweep of the Round of 12 (Charlotte, Kansas and Talladega) last season. In fact, he has won this race the past two years. YOU SHOULD KNOW • Joey Logano had three times as many wins in the Round of 12 last year than he does in all of 2016 (one). In need of a stellar finish -- if not a win -- after limping to a 36th-place finish at Charlotte, Logano certainly isn't hurting for motivation this weekend and Kansas lines up well for the prospects of regaining his mojo. The Penske driver has won two of the past four races at Kansas and had a top-five streak of five races snapped in the spring race (38th). • Despite winning the race with driver Kyle Busch , the spring event at Kansas didn't favor Toyota as we've seen much of this year, placing just two drivers (Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth ) in the top 10. After the pair was the only set of Toyotas in the top 10 at Charlotte, as well, this trend could continue. But then again -- it wouldn't be a shock to see either of those drivers win and advance. • Some XFINITY Series heavy hitters were knocked out of the Round of 12 after failing to advance at Charlotte in Ty Dillon , Brennan Poole , Brandon Jones and Ryan Sieg . In the series' first Chase, it'll be interesting to observe how teams adjust after seeing firsthand (in some cases) how a subpar opening round race can put a group in a serious, unrecoverable hole -- quickly.
Kyle Busch wins at Kansas ; XFINITY Chase gets shake-up
RELATED: Race results " Standings " Chase Grid " Photos from the day SHOP: Busch gear KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Kyle Busch 's domination of Saturday's Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway was about the only predictable thing that happened in the first race of the Round of 8 in the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. In winning his fourth XFINITY race at the 1.5-mile track, his ninth of the season and the 85th of his career -- extending his own series record -- Busch led 150 of 200 laps, passing Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Daniel Suarez after a restart with 13 circuits remaining. "It was a hard-fought battle," said Busch, who had surged to a lead of 7.961 seconds before the first caution slowed the field on Lap 57. "Seemed like it was going to be easy for us. We had a super-fast car, and when we were out front, I could take it easy on those long runs and we could drive away. "The car would turn so well. A lot of things were trying to work against us at the end of the race. We were able to persevere and do the right things and have lucky restarts and be in the right grooves and not get caught up in the melee that was happening." Suarez had reason to be elated with his eventual third-place finish. An unexplained "popping" sound in his No. 19 Toyota accompanied a loss of horsepower, and Suarez settled for a hard-won result after Elliott Sadler passed him in the closing laps for the runner-up spot. Because Suarez led laps and Sadler didn't, he and Sadler leave Kansas tied for the Chase lead, but Sadler owns the tie-breaker due to higher finishes. "I'm proud of my race team," Sadler said. "We just kept working on the car and getting it better and better. I've got to do a better job trying to outrun that 18 car (Busch). He's really good, and he knows how to manipulate the air. But I've got to keep trying." Blake Koch finished ninth -- third among Chase drivers -- despite a late flat tire, the adverse effect of which was diminished by a timely caution, one of 10 during the afternoon. Koch is seven points behind the two Chase leaders. Chaos gobbled up the remaining five Chase contenders. A tap from Brandon Jones turned Chaser Justin Allgaier sideways and ignited a six-car wreck that also eliminated Darrell Wallace Jr ., who crashed out in 33rd-place. In a severely damaged car, Allgaier soldiered to a 14th-place result and left Kansas tied with Erik Jones for the final transfer spot into the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Jones ran up front through the vast majority of the race, but his No. 20 Toyota was turned into the Chevrolet of Ty Dillon when NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Kyle Larson made an aggressive move after a restart on Lap 183. Jones pitted with a cut tire and finished one position behind Allgaier, one lap down. "He (Larson) said it was his fault," Jones said after talking to Larson on pit road. "He owned up to it, got me ran over. It is what it is… He just said he got a good start and there was no hole there, nowhere to go with the run he had just got into my left rear and turned us. It's a shame, we both had fast cars." Ryan Reed salvaged a 16th-place finish despite a loose plug wire that kept him down on power until his team could troubleshoot the problem on pit road. After contact in heavy traffic on Lap 176, Brendan Gaughan took a wild spin through the infield grass and came home 31st, 18 laps down. Both Wallace and Gaughan will have yeoman work to do when the Chase resumes at Texas Motor Speedway after a two-week break for the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge (Nov. 5, 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
XFINITY contenders to apply Round of 12 lessons at Kansas
RELATED: Chase Grid KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The first round of the first Chase for NASCAR's XFINITY Series trimmed the field of championship hopefuls from 12 to eight. The three-race subset also served as a learning tool for those who advanced to the second round, which begins Saturday with the Kansas Lottery 300 (3 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) here at Kansas Speedway . "I learned that in the first race of the first round the intensity level was very high," Daniel Suarez ( Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota) said Friday. "It was definitely more high than what I was expecting." Elliott Sadler (JR Motorsports No. 1 Chevrolet) won the Chase opener held at Kentucky Speedway . Suarez was a close second, won the following week at Dover and finished third last weekend at Charlotte, unofficially taking the mantle of Chase favorite with four races remaining. "I thought everyone was going to go out there to try to be consistent and to try to make it for the next round and that wasn't the case," Suarez said. "Everyone was going for the win and everything got a little crazy in the first race in Kentucky. "But, honestly I'm very proud of everyone …. We had three races with three top-three finishes which I think is something really good for the first round. We have to do exactly the same thing for the second round and after that try to put ourselves in a good position for Homestead and pull everything we have for that last race and the most important race of the year." Sprint Cup Series regular Joey Logano won the Charlotte event, the only race not won by an XFINITY Series regular in the Round of 12. Suarez, 24, said he expects the level of intensity seen in that opening race to return here this weekend as drivers and teams try to knock out an early win and qualify for the Round of 8. "For some reason everyone – I thought everyone was going to be more relaxed in the first race but for some reason everyone was very, like I said, the intensity level was very high," he said. "And, then for the second race it was lower and everyone was more relaxed because everyone was a little bit too crazy in the first one. I wouldn't be surprised if it was the same in this second round. "I don't think that I was myself, I don't think I got super crazy in Kentucky and we ended up with a pretty good result. Actually I felt like we should've won that race, we just came up one lap short. "I felt like everything that we learned the whole year we are trying to put that in the most important part of the year in the Chase in the first round and second round in order to get to the last race at Homestead and so far it's been working out. So, hopefully we can keep it up and move forward." Justin Allgaier (JRM), Erik Jones (JGR), Brendan Gaughan ( Richard Childress Racing ), Ryan Reed ( Roush Fenway Racing ), Darrell Wallace Jr . (RFR) and Blake Koch (Kaulig Racing) complete the Round of 8 for the XFINITY Series Chase. Suarez, Sadler and Jones are the only drivers in the postseason with victories this season. Gaughan, who has 15 top 10s, including a season-best runner-up at Road America , said the first round taught his team that "organizationally, to make sure we are prepared. "Make sure … we have everything kind of set and ready. "Another thing Shane (Wilson, crew chief) and I learned was (we) still are clowns that do it our way. It works for us. We don't scream and yell. … He doesn't get down on me when I hit a wall twice at Kentucky. And I don't bark at him when I think he makes the wrong call on pit road or we unload and it doesn't handle quite the way I want. "We're going to do it the way we think it needs to be done, stay patient and stay on each other’s team. A lot of pressure comes on these guys … and a lot of people succumb to that pressure." NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have won the last three XFINITY Series races at Kansas .
Wild Kansas race gives Chase contenders motivation for Texas
RELATED: Results " Chase Grid KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- It was, Elliott Sadler noted, "like Kentucky all over again." Sadler, driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, won that one. He didn't win Saturday's caution-filled Kansas Lottery 300 -- he finished second. But he was the highest-finishing XFINITY Series regular, trailing Kyle Busch under the checkered flag. The race was the first stop in the Round of 8, a trio of races that will determine which four teams will advance to Homestead-Miami Speedway -- in the Championship 4 -- next month to battle for the series title. Kentucky opened the first round, and "when you start with an even playing field," things can get intense, Sadler said. The intensity returned for Kansas . "Everybody wants to get the edge, you want to get the advantage," he said. "That creates hard racing and protecting your real estate and that creates closer racing. When you have closer racing you have mistakes and sometimes a lot of cautions." Fellow Chase hopeful Daniel Suarez ( Joe Gibbs Racing ), Joey Logano ( Team Penske ) and Kyle Larson ( Chip Ganassi Racing ) completed the top five. There were 10 cautions and plenty of mistakes on Saturday, which surprisingly wasn't a track record for either. Not all involved were Chase contenders, but enough did to promise the next few weeks will be interesting. Three Chase drivers, Justin Allgaier , Bubba Wallace and Ryan Reed , were part of a six-car incident on Lap 165 of the 200-lap race. Reed ( Roush Fenway Racing ) had been battling troubles all day; Wallace, his teammate, had led briefly; Allgaier (JRM) had been solid. But the incident took Wallace out of the race and Allgaier out of contention. "I just got run over from behind," Allgaier said. "We were three wide so obviously there was a lot going on behind us, cars getting big runs, and I just kind of got run over." His car was mangled -- body damage and mechanical issues -- but Allgaier still managed a 15th-place finish. "I think more than anything, the fact that we rallied back and had a solid finish to what really was a catastrophic day," he said of the end result. "Yeah it's a little frustrating to not be better in points than we are but at the same time we battled through adversity today and lost as few points as we could lose. That's a big plus." Wallace, 33rd, said his No. 6 team wasn't "knocked out" of the title picture. "It is just motivation to go to Texas," he said. "We have all wrecked plenty of times in our careers, so we know how to use it as fuel. This is just a little dent. Nothing to be worried about. We just have to do our job in Texas and Phoenix and make up as much time as we can." Trouble also found pre-Chase favorite Erik Jones (JGR) and Brendan Gaughan ( Richard Childress Racing ). Jones was leading the race when contact from Kyle Larson resulted in damage and a tire issue, sending the winner of four races this year to pit road with less than 15 laps remaining. Jones, a four-time winner this season, even led for 11 circuits. Jones finished 16th, and if there's a silver lining, it's that he's been here before -- an accident at Kentucky put his No. 20 team in a hole it had to dig itself out of to advance out of the first round. "We really didn't want to be in that position again," Jones noted afterward. "We were in a good position not to be in that spot but we just got turned there on the restart. It's unfortunate. … "It's such a shame because we had such a fast car." The series is off until Nov. 5 at Texas Motor Speedway for the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Sadler will reside as the points leader at least until then, with Daniel Suarez , Blake Koch , Allgaier and Jones second through fifth, respectively. Only 12 points separate those five. Reed (-14), Gaughan (-29) and Wallace (-30) complete the top eight.
Full schedule for Kansas
RELATED: Find NBCSN in your area " Watch live online at NBCSports.com The NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series will gather for a doubleheader showing at Kansas Speedway this weekend. Check out the full schedule below. Note: All times are ET SUNDAY, OCT. 16: PRE-RACE RUN OF SHOW/ON-TRACK SCHEDULE --1:35 p.m.: NSCS Driver Introductions with NASCAR Special Awards --2:14:45 p.m.: Moment of silence for police officers --2:15:15 p.m.: Presentation of Colors by Clinton High School JROTC from Clinton MO --2:15:35 p.m.: Invocation by R.D. Fowler, Kansas City Raceway Ministries & Pastor of Bethel Baptist Church Lincoln, NE --2:16:15 p.m.: National Anthem by Samantha Dawn, from Lake of the Ozarks MO --2:17:30 p.m.: Fly-By TOT: B2 Bomber out of Whiteman AFB (Turn 4 to Turn 1) --2:22:30 p.m.: "Drivers, Start Your Engines" by Jesse Metcalfe, Actor, Model, and Star of Hallmark Channel's Chesapeake Shore’s --2:31 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 (267 laps, 400.5 miles), NBC/NBC Sports App ( Results ) PRESS PASS ( Watch live ) -- 6 p.m. (approx.): NASCAR Sprint Cup Series post-race DAILY ROUNDUP -- Harvick wins at Kansas , clinches spot in Round of 8 -- See a frame-by-frame of Keselowski's wreck -- Contact from Hamlin sends Keselowski into the grass -- Tire issues hinder Elliott at Kansas -- See the best photos from Sunday at Kansas -- Ailing Bowman earns career-best finish -- Chase bubble watch: Playoff picture analysis of Talladega -- Logano, Dillon puzzled at how to stop No. 4 team -- Edwards explains costly final restart -- Harvick's crew celebrate with 'I believe' chant FRIDAY, OCT. 14: ON TRACK -- 1-2:30 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series first practice, NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Results ) -- 2:32-3:25 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series first practice, NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Results ) -- 4:35-5:55 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Results ) -- 6:15 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Results ) GARAGECAM ( Watch live ) -- 12:30 p.m.: Sprint Cup Series -- 2 p.m.: XFINITY Series PRESS PASS ( Watch live ) -- 11:45 a.m.: Daniel Suarez -- Noon: Jimmie Johnson -- 12:15 p.m.: Martin Truex Jr . -- 12:30 p.m.: Brendan Gaughan -- 2:35 p.m.: Carl Edwards -- 3 p.m.: Clint Bowyer -- 3:15 p.m.: Greg Biffle -- 7:30 p.m. (approx.): NASCAR Sprint Cup Series post-qualifying DAILY ROUNDUP -- At-track photos: Friday at Kansas -- 2017 premier series rules package -- Foundation serves as partner in Hurricane Matthew relief efforts -- XFINITY practice results at Kansas -- Top consecutive 10-lap averages at Kansas -- Busch tops opening practice at Kansas -- Truex's 400th start a 'wow moment' for contender -- Finalists for Comcast Community Champion Award named -- Truex, No. 78 team to pass on Homestead-Miami test -- XFINITY Round of 8 preview -- Kenseth on the pole at Kansas -- Starting lineup for Sunday SATURDAY, OCT. 15: ON TRACK -- 11-11:50 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series second practice, NBC Sports App ( Results ) -- noon: NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, CNBC/NBC Sports App ( Results ) -- 1:30-2:20 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Results ) -- 3 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Kansas Lottery 300 (200 laps, 300 miles), NBC/NBC Sports App ( Results ) PRESS PASS ( Watch live ) -- 6 p.m. (approx.): NASCAR XFINITY Series post-race DAILY ROUNDUP -- Bowyer back at home, eagerly awaits his SHR move -- Kenseth, Menard top Saturday's practice sessions -- Photos from the day at Kansas -- Chase win brings sense of security -- Busch goes to backup car after big wreck during practice -- Top stories heading into Sunday's main event -- Busch dominates at Kansas to win; Chase picture gets a shakeup -- Wild Kansas race gives Chase contenders motivation for Kansas
Kyle Busch earns 75th XFINITY Series win at Kansas
RELATED: Complete results KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Overcoming obstacles in the XFINITY Series is commonplace for Kyle Busch . In Saturday's Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway , Busch brushed aside a pit road speeding penalty, a hole in the nose of his No. 54 Toyota, a pit stop that dropped him to seventh for the penultimate restart, an unwelcome green-white-checkered-flag restart and a teammate who had the fastest car for much of the afternoon. The end result was Busch's 75th XFINITY Series victory, extending his own record. Busch won for third time at Kansas and for the fifth time in 20 starts this season. The race also saw Chris Buescher add one point to his series lead over Chase Elliott . Though both drivers had issues -- Elliott a wreck during qualifying that sent him to a backup car and the back of the field; and Buescher a pit road speeding penalty -- Buescher won a drag race to the stripe to come home sixth to Elliott's seventh and leads the standings by 27 points over the defending champion. But the final 43 laps of the event were vintage Kyle Busch . Restarting seventh on Lap 157 after the seventh caution of the afternoon, Busch surged into second place in a single lap. For the next 28 circuits he harried teammate and eventual runner-up Matt Kenseth before clearing his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate through Turn 4 on Lap 185. Busch survived a green-white-checkered after Joey Gase 's engine blew and oiled the 1.5-mile track with five laps left. Picking the outside lane, Busch cleared Kenseth entering the first turn and pulled away to win by .607 seconds. "I wasn't sure we had enough for that 20 car (Kenseth) today, but there at the end of the race, the track was cooling down and certainly getting freer and it looked like Kenseth just was too loose," Busch said. "And I was able to really get the gas down and drive real hard and had a good car to stick through the corner. "This Monster Energy Camry was awesome, (crew chief) Chris Gayle and the guys did a fantastic job for me in getting me a really good piece there at the end to be able to battle with Matt, and it's cool to end up in Victory Lane any day… I wasn't sure how I was going to get the pass done, but fortunately, finally there I was able to do it." Kenseth suffered a loose handling condition late in the race and couldn't keep Busch behind him. "It's frustrating to get beat again," said Kenseth, who has finished second in each of his last four XFINITY Series starts. "We were out front in Chicago and had the better car, but second is the (next) best place to finish, I guess. "Kind of aggravating when you get beat, but we were too free at the end. I didn't give Wheels (crew chief Mike Wheeler) good enough information on the tires. I did everything I could to hold off Kyle except for wrecking. Just couldn’t do it." Joey Logano finished third, followed by fourth-place Ty Dillon and fifth-place Regan Smith . Busch would like nothing better than to duplicate his victory in Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kansas (2:15 p.m. ET on NBC). After a 20th-place finish last Sunday at Charlotte in the first race of the Chase’s Contender Round, Busch could earn a spot in the Eliminator 8 Round with the ninth XFINITY / Sprint Cup weekend sweep of his career (including his three-series sweep at Bristol in 2010).
GoBowling.com to sponsor Kansas spring race
RELATED: Buy tickets for the race KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Jan. 13, 2016) -- Kansas Speedway and GoBowling.com announced a partnership today for the May 7 GoBowling.com 400 , Kansas Speedway 's annual May NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. "We're excited to announce our partnership with GoBowling.com for our May Sprint Cup Series night race," said Kansas Speedway President Patrick Warren. "I'm thrilled to be able to work with such a family-friendly brand at Kansas Speedway because NASCAR racing appeals to fans of all ages. I know this will be a great partnership with GoBowling.com and I can't wait to see their activation not only at Kansas Speedway but at bowling centers around the country." "Bowling is the number one participation game in the U.S. and NASCAR is one of the most popular fan-based sports making this a natural partnership," said Strike Ten Entertainment President John G. Harbuck. "We have very similar demographics so the exposure we get from this sponsorship -- both in the Midwest and nationally -- will allow us to promote bowling to current and potential bowlers, especially families and young bowlers. "We will use the race as a platform to remind people what a great game bowling is for all ages and drive them to our website where they can find bowling centers near them as well as connect with us via social media," he added. As part of the agreement, GoBowling.com has naming rights to the race that will be featured on a nationally-televised broadcast and other news media. In addition, GoBowling.com will have extensive signage throughout Kansas Speedway and the rights to execute on-site and online promotional activations including regional and national consumer promotions such as bowling leagues, prize promotions and other branding initiatives. GoBowling.com is the go-to website to learn more about the great sport of bowling including information about 3,000+ bowling centers throughout the country. Fans can learn about their local bowling centers, take advantage of promotional offers, watch bowling video tips and more. RELATED: See the full 2016 schedule "Bowling proprietors across America are proud of our relationship with Kansas Speedway ," said Tom Martino, Bowling Proprietors Association of America (BPAA) President. "After race fans enjoy a great race, we look forward to having them visit their local bowling center." Kansas Speedway tickets for all events in 2016 will be on sale soon. Kansas Speedway 's May 6-7, 2016 race weekend will include the Toyota Tundra 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and the GoBowling.com 400 . In October, the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns with the Hollywood Casino 400 on Oct. 16. The Kansas Lottery 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race will take center stage on Oct. 15, while the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship race will run on Oct. 14. Parking is always free at Kansas Speedway and fans can bring in one 14x14x14-inch soft-sided cooler with their favorite food and beverages. Fans can follow Kansas Speedway on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kansasspeedway or follow us on Twitter ( @kansasspeedway ).
Post-Race Reactions: Kansas Lottery 300
The top finishers, championship contenders and Danica Patrick comment on the race in Kansas .
Busch wins in G-W-C finish at Kansas
Kyle Busch controls the restart on a green-white-checkered finish at Kansas Speedway and he goes on to win the Kansas Lottery 300 .
Kyle Busch breaks through at Kansas
Sixth series win of the year for 'Rowdy' RELATED: Complete race results " Updated series standings KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Kyle Busch won the lottery on Saturday afternoon -- the Kansas Lottery 300 , to be precise. But it must have seemed like a huge jackpot for the driver of the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, who won a NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kansas Speedway for the first time since 2007. "Whoo! We won at Kansas ," Busch radioed as he crossed the start/finish line, with as much relief as elation in his voice. It took Busch 19 laps after a restart on Lap 161 to catch and pass runner-up Kevin Harvick . On Lap 180, Busch ducked down to the apron near the start/finish line and powered past Harvick into the lead. From that point, Busch pulled away for his sixth Nationwide Series victory of the season and the 69th of his career, extending his own series record. The Kansas drought broken, Busch was already thinking about Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 , the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup's Contender Round. Never having scored a top-five in a Cup race at Kansas , Busch will start seventh Sunday. "You learn enough here -- there was a bit of moving around today and trying to run bottom and trying to run top and seeing where the different lines were in traffic and stuff like that," Busch said. "I feel like our Cup car is OK. If we can get out of here with a top-10 day tomorrow that would be pretty good. "Great effort by (crew chief) Adam (Stevens) and all the guys on this 54 car -- it was really awesome again today and should have won at Chicago just like we did here today. Missed out there, but we just keep doing things right, and you end up in Victory Lane, so you have to have it all match up for you." Harvick had winning chances because his crew chief, Ernie Cope, played a contrarian pit strategy to perfection and got some help from a timely caution. Harvick was the only lead-lap driver to bring his car to pit road under the seventh caution on Lap 91, and that put him in position to wait out a cycle of green-flag stops with roughly 60 laps left. With all other lead-lap cars pitting between Laps 136 and 141, Harvick was the only car on the lead lap when Dakoda Armstrong 's spin brought out the eighth caution. Busch, who was leading before the cycle of stops began, got the free pass as the highest scored lapped car, and the rest of the lead-lappers took wave-arounds after Harvick pitted for fuel. Harvick led the field to green on Lap 153 but couldn't keep Busch at bay on longer runs. "They gave us a good opportunity with strategy there, (but) the 54 was quite a bit better as we got going into the run," Harvick said. "We could hold him off for a short run, but in the end his car would maintain speed, and ours would slow down. "We just got beat there today, but that happens." The race dealt a crushing blow to Regan Smith 's championship hopes. Smith spun and backed into the wall during qualifying earlier in the day and was forced to start from the rear of the field in a backup car. On Lap 140, the sway bar arm on Smith's No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet broke, and lost seven laps getting it fixed. Smith finished 22nd and is now 38 points behind teammate Chase Elliott in the series standings. Ty Dillon, third in the championship battle, ran fifth Saturday and is 40 points behind Elliott, who finished 10th, with four races left in the season. "Any time you have to roll a backup car out two hours before a race, you have to expect anything to happen," said Smith, who just re-signed for another year with JR Motorsports’ Nationwide program. "My guys did a great job of getting the car ready to where we could get to the grid with it, much less be competitive for the first stage of the race. "We fought with it. It's kind of what we anticipated for the day and at this point -- obviously disappointed. It's been a long year." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule