Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota) may have finished third in Sunday’s Contender Round race at Kansas Speedway, but it may have felt like a victory. Of the 12 drivers in the Chase, Busch was the only one without a top-five finish in his Sprint Cup Series career at Kansas. His average finish at the 1.5-mile track was a dismal 22.7. “I won today,” Busch said. “I just didn’t get the champagne and the trophy. To get through Kansas feels nice. It was just a solid day, solid weekend.” It was a milestone finish for Busch. With his third-place finish, Busch has now recorded a top-five result at every track on the Sprint Cup circuit over his 10-year career. Busch currently is second in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings (six points behind leader and Sunday’s race winner Joey Logano) and in a comfortable position for a transfer into the Eliminator Round. … Regan Smith (No. 7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet) put his Sprint Cup aspirations on hold and agreed to a one-year extension with JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, which will be the rebranded Xfinity Series in 2015. “I definitely want to get back to Cup,” Smith said. “I think a lot has to play out on the Cup side. Some quality race teams are trying to figure out what they’re going to be doing, but at the time it just felt like it was time to start solidifying things.” Smith currently is in second place in the championship, 38 points behind teammate and rookie leader Chase Elliott. … Richard Childress Racing announced a shift in crew chiefs for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Paul Menard. Slugger Labbe, who served as Menard’s crew chief since 2011, will move to a leadership role in research and development at RCR. Justin Alexander, the team’s race engineer, will serve as crew chief.
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