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The second 2020 race of the NASCAR playoffs arrives Saturday afternoon with five drivers within 10 points of each other around the postseason elimination line.
Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch are seven and four points above the cutoff, respectively, while Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer are tied for the final of 12 positions that will advance when the field trims down from 16 after next weekend. Cole Custer trails Almirola and Bowyer by just three points.
Competition at Richmond on Saturday should be heated, then, with drivers knowing they’re a single mistake from tumbling out of contention.
Here’s what the playoff picture looks like heading into Richmond:
|Rank||Driver||Points to cutoff|
|6||Martin Truex Jr.||+16|
Sporting News is tracking live updates and lap-by-lap highlights from Saturday’s NASCAR race at Richmond. Follow below for complete results from the Federated Auto Parts 400.
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NASCAR at Richmond live race updates, highlights from Federated Auto Parts 400
8:54 p.m.: Austin Dillon’s team is in one of the best moods they’ve ever been in given his strong start and recovery from penalty to begin Stage 2.
“Oh my god, he’s hauling ass.”
That’s been the general sentiment throughout the night on the 3 team’s second channel.
Austin Dillon cracked the top-10 before green flag stops started.
He’s asked what he needs.
Austin says no changes.
“10-4,” is the emphatic response.
— Matt Weaver (@MattWeaverAW) September 13, 2020
8:51 p.m.: William Byron has gotten worse as the race has progressed and is down to 22nd place. Blaney, who was forced into a frustrating double pit in Stage 1, has rebounded somewhat to 18th place.
8:44 p.m.: Brad Keselowski passes Logano for first place.
8:42 p.m.: Austin Dillon is already back in the top 15.
8:33 p.m.: Joey Logano is the new leader after the penalties on Hamlin and Austin Dillon.
8:28 p.m.: Well this is a huge shift in the competition. The top two cars are forced to the back.
PENALTIES: Denny Hamlin AND Austin Dillon, speeding. To the rear.
So much for their early success…
— Davey Segal (@DaveyCenter) September 13, 2020
Austin Dillon told he was 0.1 mph over the limit.
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) September 13, 2020
8:22 p.m.: Hamlin wins Stage 1. Austin Dillon finishes a close second.
Playoff drivers outside the top 10:
— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) September 13, 2020
.@dennyhamlin wins Stage 1, his 8th stage W this season (series high).@austindillon3 (P2) with nine stage points. HUGE development as Custer, Ku. Busch, Ky. Busch, Almirola, Byron, DiBenedetto and Blaney ALL failed to grab any points.
— Davey Segal (@DaveyCenter) September 13, 2020
8:13 p.m. Kyle Busch has moved his way to 15th, an impressive placement after starting last due to two inspection failures. There are 22 laps remaining in Stage 1.
8:07 p.m.: Denny Hamlin passes Austin Dillon for first place.
8:05 p.m.: Ryan Blaney is in serious trouble having entered Saturday tied for the lowest points total among playoff drivers.
7:59 p.m.: Austin Dillon’s crew tells him he has the fastest car on the track right now. He’s surprising some people here after performing well last weekend.
7:56 p.m.: Austin Dillon is now in first place.
Statement run by Austin Dillon, Justin Alexander and company
— Matt Weaver (@MattWeaverAW) September 12, 2020
NEW LEADER: Austin Dillon. What!? Holy cow, you guys.
— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) September 12, 2020
7:54 p.m.: Kevin Harvick, who started at the top of the field, has remained in first place through 15 laps. Austin Dillon is up to second.
7:47 p.m.: We’re green and the second playoff race of the 2020 campaign is underway.
7:40 p.m.: Engines are fired and the green flag should come within the next 10 minutes.
7:20 p.m.: Expected green flag time has been pushed back slightly.
Green 7:48pm ET. NBCSN. Stages 80-155-165 (400 laps). To the rear: KyBusch (failed tech 2x), Bell (unapproved adjustments). Competition caution Lap 30. 9 sets tires. Fuel run 125-132 laps. #nascar
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) September 12, 2020
NASCAR race start time today
The green flag for Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond will wave shortly after 7:30 p.m. ET, assuming there are no rain delays as there have been so often since NASCAR returned to live racing in May.
The 7:30 p.m. ET start time will make mid-race adjustments key for race teams, even at a short track (0.75 miles) like Richmond. The track will be hot and slick at the beginning of the race and get cooler and faster as the night progresses. And Richmond Raceway is notoriously tough on tires and brakes.
Richmond Raceway obviously has lights, so a weather delay could push the race into the late hours of Saturday and early hours of Sunday. The race is scheduled for 400 laps (300 miles) and needs to reach the halfway point to be considered official in the event of weather issues.
NASCAR starting lineup at Richmond
Here is the complete starting lineup for Saturday night’s NASCAR race at Richmond:
|1||Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|2||Joey Logano||22||Team Penske|
|3||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing|
|4||Alex Bowman||88||Hendrick Motorsports|
|5||William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports|
|6||Kyle Busch||18||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|7||Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|8||Kurt Busch||1||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|9||Brad Keselowski||2||Team Penske|
|10||Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|11||Clint Bowyer||14||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|12||Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports|
|13||Cole Custer||41||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|14||Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|15||Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske|
|16||Matt DiBenedetto||21||Wood Brothers Racing|
|17||Erik Jones||20||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|18||Jimmie Johnson||48||Hendrick Motorsports|
|19||Matt Kenseth||42||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|20||Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports|
|21||Ryan Newman||6||Roush Fenway Racing|
|22||Tyler Reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing|
|23||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|24||Ryan Preece||37||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|25||Chris Buescher||17||Roush Fenway Racing|
|26||Christopher Bell||95||Leavine Family Racing|
|27||Ty Dillon||13||Germain Racing|
|28||Daniel Suarez||96||Gaunt Brothers Racing|
|29||Brennan Poole||15||Premium Motorsports|
|30||Bubba Wallace||43||Richard Petty Motorsports|
|31||John Hunter Nemechek||38||Front Row Motorsports|
|32||JJ Yeley||27||Rick Ware Racing|
|33||Quin Houff||00||StarCom Racing|
|34||Corey LaJoie||32||Go Fas Racing|
|35||Reed Sorenson||77||Spire Motorsports|
|36||Joey Gase||51||Petty Ware Racing|
|37||Timmy Hill||66||Motorsports Business Management|
|38||James Davison||53||Rick Ware Racing|