Column: Larson finishes 2nd again, takes over points lead

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Kyle Larson finished second at Phoenix International Raceway and then headed to the beach for a brief family vacation. There was no lamenting his third consecutive runner-up finish because Larson is the current points leader of NASCAR's top series. His positioning atop the standings is almost as good as a trip to victory lane.

Allgaier holds on to win Xfinity, his 1st victory in 5 years

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Justin Allgaier held on to the lead in a restart with four laps to go and won the NASCAR Xfinity race in scorching heat, his first victory in five years. Allgaier, who took four tires on his Kelley-Earnhardt-Miller Chevrolet in one of the late cautions, held off Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones.

Fresh generation of drivers emerging on NASCAR circuit

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- The NASCAR kids keep coming on strong. Five of the highest-starting eight drivers in NASCAR's lineup for its Monster Energy Series race on Sunday are 26 or younger. Ryan Blaney, starting next to pole-sitter and teammate Joey Logano on the front row, is 23. Kyle Larson starts in the second row, and he's all of 24.

Logano uses fast late lap to claim pole in Phoenix

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Joey Logano capped a day in the spotlight with a fast late lap Friday to claim the pole for the NASCAR Camping World 500. With the temperature in the low 90s and the sun beginning to set, Ryan Blaney qualified second to give Ford the top two spots to start Sunday's race. Logano and Blaney bumped Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Martin Truex Jr. wins at Vegas, Kyle Busch bloodied in brawl

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Martin Truex Jr. finished speaking to reporters after winning the NASCAR Cup race Sunday and retreated into a corner of the media center where a tablet awaited with the video cued up. Truex had to see the Kyle Busch-Joey Logano brawl, too. "I'm sure NASCAR is going to love that one," Truex said.

Column: Hype, new format didn't equal must-watch Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- The Daytona 500 was sold out, the grid packed with celebrities, the fan area full of activities including a motorcycle "Ball of Death." Owen "Lightning McQueen" Wilson was on hand, and so was Waka Flocka Flame , Gronk and nearly two dozen women decked out in scantily-clad Monster Energy outfits.

Party time! Outlaw, Smoke, Gronk turn Daytona 500 into bash

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- The Outlaw, Smoke and Gronk turned the Daytona 500 into party central. The good times were just getting started in victory lane Sunday night. Flanked by sexy models, the triumphant trio chugged drinks and gave NASCAR the buzz it craved in the season opener. Might as well go wild for their first celebration on NASCAR's grandest stage.

The Latest: Kurt Busch wins Daytona 500 for Stewart-Haas

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- The Latest on the Daytona 500 (all times local): 6:25 p.m. Kurt Busch has won the Daytona 500, surviving a crash-filled season opener to win the race for the first time in 16 tries. Busch passed Kyle Larson final lap before cruising to the victory. Larson ran out gas shortly after passing Chase Elliott, who also came up short on fuel.

NASCAR seeks boost to steep decline with strong Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- The good news for NASCAR is that all signs indicate Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a legitimate shot to win the Daytona 500. A victory for NASCAR's most popular driver, in his return to racing after a concussion sidelined him the second half of last season, would be a massive boost for the sagging series.