Crew members work the pit as Alex Bowman comes in during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021, in Darlington, S.C. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Headaches galore: Contenders struggle in NASCAR playoffs

Kyle Larson drives at the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Michigan International Speedway, Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021, in Brooklyn, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Winless Harvick, Hamlin still have a chance at Southern 500

FILE - In this Friday, Aug. 13, 2021, file photo, Alex Palou, second from left, of Spain, talks with a crew member before a practice session for a IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis. IndyCar is on a two-week break, but the 24-year-old Palou has no plans to rest as he tries to reclaim his spot atop the championship standings. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

Palou looks ahead at reclaiming IndyCar championship lead

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Indycar driver Simon Pagenaud, from France, makes the turn onto Seaside Way from Pine Avenue during the final practice session for the Grand Prix of Long Beach auto race Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Long Beach, Calif. (Will Lester/The Orange County Register via AP)

Column: Pagenaud joins rare club of drivers to leave Penske

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Simon Pagenaud shared a quiet moment with his wife and infant son before his final ride of the season to reflect on his time with Team Penske.

NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (5) prepares for a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)

Denny Hamlin winning early, often in Cup Series playoff race

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Denny Hamlin will reach the third round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs next month having faced the make-or-break pressure of the postseason only twice.

NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney (12) makes a pit stop during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)

Hamlin holds off Elliott, takes first NASCAR win in Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Turns out 21 was Denny Hamlin's lucky number in Vegas.

NTT IndyCar Series winner Alex Palou, center, celebrates with a team member after taking 4th place in an IndyCar auto race at Grand Prix of Long Beach, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Long Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Palou becomes first Spaniard to win IndyCar championship

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Alex Palou raised the Spanish flag over his head and hugged every teammate he could find.