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NASCAR Cup: playoff second-round field of 12 set

MENCS_PLAYOFFS_4C_PRTBy AMANDA VINCENT

At the checkered flag of the Apache Warrior 400 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway on Sunday the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff field was whittled from 16 to 12 drivers with Richard Childress Racing teammates Ryan Newman and Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch failing to make the cut.

“Disappointed in the way that I drove all through this playoff run,” Busch said. “I was driving at 101 percent, trying to get every ounce of speed out of it. It just never had a flow for three races. We might have finished 10th here today. The wreck last week really put us in a hole. We needed a perfect day today and playoff stage points. We just really never did well in stage one, and I thought that it might be our Achilles heel. If we add up the numbers (that’s) probably where it was. I can’t fault anybody. We ran hard. We gave it everything we had.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. headed into the Dover race in a points tie with Dillon for 12th, but Stenhouse was considered the driver on the bubble, the last driver provisionally in, by virtue of a tie breaker. At the checkered flag Sunday, Stenhouse was officially advanced to the second round of the playoffs with a two-point margin on Newman and four on Dillon.

Stenhouse finished 19th at Dover, behind three of the four drivers who didn’t advance — Newman, Kahne and Dillon — but his playoff life was extended by stage points, courtesy of a top-five finish in the opening 120-lap stage at Dover after a well-timed caution during a cycle of green-flag pit stops.

“The feeling is lucky, really,” Stenhouse said. “We caught the caution, there, right at the right time with a perfect amount of laps left in the stage to get stage points and that was the turning point of the day. Our Fastenal Ford was, definitely, not close to what we needed, especially the last two runs. We were close before the last two runs and made some adjustments, there, and really fell off. All in all, like I said, I feel lucky that we had all the mistakes at Chicago and really not a good car at Chicago, Loudon or Dover, but we still made it in. Really, it is hats off to the guys for fighting all day and it is nice that the round starts over.”

Ahead of the Oct. 8 race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, the first race of the second round of the playoffs, the points have been reset among the 12 drivers advancing to round two. Here’s were those drivers stand, heading into round two:
1. Martin Truex Jr. — 3059 points, 59 playoff points
2. Kyle Busch — 3041 points, 41 playoff points
3. Kyle Larson — 3034 points, 34 playoff points
4. Brad Keselowski — 3020 points, 20 playoff points
5. Jimmie Johnson — 3017 points, 17 playoff points
6. Kevin Harvick — 3015 points, 15 playoff points
7. Denny Hamlin — 3013 points, 13 playoff points
8. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — 3010 points, 10 playoff points
9. Ryan Blaney — 3008 points, 8 playoff points
10. Chase Elliott — 3006 points, 6 playoff points
11. Matt Kenseth — 3005 points, 5 playoff points
12. Jamie McMurray — 3003 points, 3 playoff points

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on October 1, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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