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MENCS: Larson wins finale, Playoff field set

(MRN) Kyle Larson left race leader Martin Truex Junior and the rest of the field behind on Saturday night’s final restart, winning the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway to close the 2017 regular season. Truex had won the second stage and led a race-high 198 laps before the sixth caution led to the decisive restart in which Larson darted off to his fourth win of the year. After losing the lead, Truex’s night got even worse when contact with Denny Hamlin on the last lap sent him into the wall – leaving the regular-season champion with a twentieth-place finish. Joey Logano went into the race needing a win to qualify for the playoffs but fell one position short in second place. Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Hamlin completed the top five. Kevin Harvick made his six hundredth Cup Series start and finished fifteenth.

The sixteen-man post-season field was set and coming out of the weekend, it looks exactly like it did going into the weekend. The sixteen drivers projected to race for a championship are the same sixteen who will actually open the playoffs next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Truex and Larson each won four races during the regular season, but the fifty-three playoff bonus points piled up by Truex helped earn him the Number-1 seed. Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson will begin his quest for a record eighth title as the Number-5 seed, behind Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski.

Notable drivers who did not qualify for the playoffs include Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Junior, and rookies Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez.

NASCAR CUP SERIES

Top 10 Finishers in the Federated Auto Parts 400

DRIVER STARTING POSITION LAPS LED

1. Kyle Larson (4) 53

2. Joey Logano (12) —

3. Ryan Newman (27) 4

4. Kurt Busch (3) —

5. Denny Hamlin (2) —

6. Erik Jones (R) (10) —

7. Daniel Suarez (R) (16) —

8. Jimmie Johnson (20) —

9. Kyle Busch (7) 38

10. Chase Elliott (9) —

2017 PLAYOFFS Driver Seedings Round 1

1. Martin Truex Jr. 4 Wins

2. Kyle Larson 4 Wins

3. Kyle Busch 2 Wins

4. Brad Keselowski 2 Wins

5. Jimmie Johnson 3 Wins

6. Kevin Harvick 1 Win

7. Denny Hamlin 2 Wins

8. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 2 Wins

9. Ryan Blaney 1 Win

10. Chase Elliott 766 Points

11. Ryan Newman 1 Win

12. Kurt Busch 1 Win

13. Kasey Kahne 1 Win

14. Austin Dillon 1 Win

15. Matt Kenseth 752 Points

16. Jamie McMurray 757 Points

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH’s News & Sports Director since 2000.
In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys’ and girls’ basketball and baseball.
Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA.
Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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