The Latest: Injured RPM tire-changer returns to Vegas track

3/4/2018 2:05:28 PM

LAS VEGAS (AP) The Latest on NASCAR"s Vegas race (all times EST):

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4:59 p.m.

Josh Frankos, the tire-changer on Darrell Wallace Jr."s Richard Petty Motorsports team, injured his hand while preparing for the Vegas race and was sent to a hospital on Sunday morning. Michael Hubert filled in for him on pit road.

The injury couldn"t keep Frankos down, however: He returned to the track for the race.

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4:30 p.m.

Kevin Harvick has easily won the first stage of the NASCAR race in Las Vegas.

Harvick won in style last week in Atlanta, and the veteran needed all of two laps to get ahead of pole-sitter Ryan Blaney in Vegas. Harvick, who started on the front row, pressed his advantage throughout the opening stage and swiftly lapped Jimmie Johnson and several other cars.

Defending Vegas champion Martin Truex Jr. is in second place. In third is Kyle Larson, who won the Xfinity Series race on Saturday.

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3:45 p.m.

Jimmie Johnson was sent to the back of the field for the start of Sunday"s NASCAR race at Las Vegas because his car needed four trips through inspection to be approved for participation.

NASCAR ejected Johnson car chief Jesse Saunders because the car failed inspection three times. The Chevrolet passed on its fourth inspection. Saunders is responsible for setting up the Camaro.

Johnson is a seven-time NASCAR champion and the winningest active driver on the Vegas track, but he is off to a slow start this season. He crashed in all three races at Daytona International Speedway and was 27th last week at Atlanta. He"s 35th in the Cup standings.

Ryan Blaney started from the pole in Vegas.

Ross Chastain"s car also failed inspection three times, and he also lost his car chief.

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