WATCH LIVE: NASCAR America at 7 pm ET — Chase race recap, RPM’s heartbreak, Ganassi’s drivers

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We kick off this week’s editions of NASCAR America at 7 pm ET for a full hour on Monday with a full recap on Sunday’s opening race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Dave Briggs and Frank Stoddard man the anchor desk in our Charlotte studios, with Jeff Burton coming from “Burton’s Garage.”

Here’s what’s on Monday’s show:

* Brad Keselowski’s win at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday clinched his spot into the next round of the Chase. It marked the first time in Keselowski’s career that he has won back-to-back races, having also won the final Chase qualifying event at Richmond two weeks ago. Based on this recent form, is he the clear favorite to win this year’s Championship?

* Highlights, results and analysis from Sunday’s Chase opener at Chicago. Dave, Frank and Jeff break down the performances of each team in this year’s Chase and discuss who can improve the most and how.

* Of all the Chase teams, Team Penske had the best overall day with Keselowski’s win and Joey Logano’s fourth-place finish. Our Kelli Stavast traveled to the Penske Racing shop in Mooresville, N.C., to report on the team’s strong performance and goals for the remaining two races of the Challenger round.

* It was a tough weekend for Richard Petty Motorsports as Chase driver Aric Almirola suffered a blown engine while running sixth with just 36 laps remaining. Unfortunately, Almirola finished a devastating 41st. Also, Marcos Ambrose announced that he will not return to RPM next season, leaving the team without a driver for the No. 9 Sprint Cup car for next season. How does RPM replace Ambrose, and with who?

* While neither of the Chip Ganassi Sprint Cup drivers made this year’s Chase, both Kyle Larson (3rd) and Jamie McMurray (9th) had strong runs at Chicago. Marty Snider spent time Monday at the Ganassi race shop in Concord, N.C., to discuss what is motivating the team to strong finishes for the rest of the season.

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Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.