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The Latest: Larson takes Stage 1 at Charlotte’s ‘roval’

September 30, 2018

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on the NASCAR playoff race at Charlotte Motor Speedway (all times local):

3 p.m.

Kyle Larson has won the first stage on the new “roval” at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Larson took the lead from pole-sitter Kurt Busch seven laps into the playoff race and drove off for an easy stage victory.

Larson was married earlier this week and is hoping to cap the celebration with his first Cup victory of the season.

Busch finished second in the stage and teammate Clint Bowyer was third. Martin Truex Jr. was fourth and followed by Chase Elliott.

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2:40 p.m.

Kyle Larson has taken the early lead at the NASCAR playoff race at Charlotte Motor Speedway by passing pole sitter Kurt Busch .

Larson passed Busch on the seventh lap.

The race has been surprisingly clean as drivers are taking a conservative approach while racing against each other on the new “roval” course for the first time.

Stanton Barrett brought out the first caution when he crashed 13 laps into the race by hitting a wall.

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2:10 p.m.

The first-ever NASCAR playoff race on the “roval” — a circuit that is a hybrid of road course and oval — is underway at Charlotte Motor Speedway, with pole sitter Kurt Busch leading the way on the track.

The 400-mile race features a 17-turn, 2.28-mile course that has a 35-foot change in elevation.

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson is trying to make it to the next round of the playoffs but is on the outside looking in at the top 12 in the point standings. Twelve of 16 drivers will advance. Johnson currently is 14th in the standings.

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1:35 p.m.

Kasey Kahne tells Fox Sports’ RaceDay that he hopes to be back in the No. 95 Chevy Camaro for the final seven races of the NASCAR season after missing time because of dehydration issues.

Kahne experienced problems at Darlington Raceway on Sept. 2 when he fought nausea and had trouble seeing for the final 100 laps. He struggled to take in fluids and was sweating throughout the race.

Regan Smith has been filling in for Kahne. He will start again for Kahne in the race at the roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The 38-year-old Kahne plans to retire from full-time NASCAR competition at the end of the season.

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11:50 a.m.

NASCAR will leave a troublesome tire barrier at its new angle for Sunday’s race on the new roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The layout uses both Charlotte’s speedway and a road course through the infield. Multiple drivers had difficulties with a chicane on the backstretch and several cars were damaged when they hit the tire barrier exiting turn 12. NASCAR changed the angle of the barrier before the final Cup practice to create more room for drivers to exit the turn.

The race is the first elimination one in the opening round of NASCAR’s playoffs. The 16-driver playoff field will be cut by four drivers after the race. Among those in danger of elimination is seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, who won eight Cup races on Charlotte’s oval layout.

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