Kyle Larson takes high lane to Xfinity win at Texas

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Lapped traffic and then his trademark high lane were Kyle Larson‘s saving grace Saturday as he used them to beat Brad Keselowski and win the Xfinity Series’ O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway.

With a big push from Elliott Sadler in the outside lane, Larson beat Keselowski on the race’s final restart with 30 laps to go. He never allowed the No. 22 to lead another lap despite a heated duel that lasted about 10 laps.

“I love seeing Elliott Sadler behind me on restarts,” Larson told NBC Sports. “He’s really good at taking off and pushing me. He helped win Pocono earlier this year.”

Larson and Keselowski ran side-by-side multiple times before a steady stream of lapped cars kept Keselowski from getting back to Larson.

Larson used the middle to high lanes to get around lapped traffic as Keselowski stuck within half a second of his rear bumper. When he ran against the bottom line in traffic, Larson battled a “really tight” car.

“Once I got to clean air I was like, ‘Oh, man, we’re going to lose,'” Larson said. “Got to the top just in time and got rolling.”

With his second Xfinity victory of the season, Larson ensured the winless streak for Team Penske’s flagship team would last passed one calendar year. Keselowski gave the No. 22 its last win in this race last year.

After starting from the pole, Keselowski led a race- and season-high 145 laps after only leading 104 in 13 previous starts this year.

The top five was Larson, Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez.

MORE: Race Results

MORE: Point standings

HOW KYLE LARSON WON: He deftly navigated lapped traffic and the high lane late to keep Brad Keselowski at bay in the closing laps.

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: While never a factor for the lead, Kevin Harvick kept his No. 88 in the top five most of the day and finished third, his second top five in seven starts this season … Daniel Suarez overcame a broken alternator and replacing a battery to finish fifth.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Chase driver Blake Koch had to pit around Lap 40 for a tire beginning to shred. He was later caught speeding on pit road and finished 14th, his best finish at the track … Brandon Hightower caused the first and final cautions of the race and finished 35th … Matt DiBenedetto caused the fourth caution on Lap 133 when spun and hit the Turn 4 wall. He finished 36th.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We’ve had our ups and downs throughout the year – just been kind of a weird year. Some odd circumstances took some wins away from us, some mistakes I’ve made have taken some wins away from us. It’s just kind of an odd year and it’s carried over into the Chase some too.” – Erik Jones, who leads Xfinity regulars with four wins, but none since the Chase opener at Chicagoland.

NEXT: Race at Phoenix International Raceway, 7:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 12 on NBCSN.

NASCAR suspends Camping World Truck crew chief one race

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NASCAR has suspended Camping World Truck Series crew chief Kevin Bellicourt one Truck event and fined him $5,000 because Justin Haley‘s truck failed minimum height requirements after last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The L1 penalty also docked Haley 10 points and the team 10 owner points. He finished 17th in an encumbered finish.

NASCAR also announced Thursday that Joseph P. Light has been reinstated after successfully completing NASCAR’s Road to Recovery program. He was indefinitely suspended March 16.

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Stewart-Haas Racing, Nature’s Bakery reach tentative settlement

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Counsel for Stewart-Haas Racing reported to North Carolina Superior Court on Wednesday that it has executed settlement documents with Nature’s Bakery.

A status report was pushed back 21 days to June 23 in the event the that the parties have not filed a stipulation of dismissal by that date.

No details of the settlement documents were detailed to the court.

Stewart-Haas Racing filed a $31 million breach of contract lawsuit against Nature’s Bakery on Feb. 3. Nature’s Bakery had two years remaining on a three-year contract to sponsor Danica Patrick’s team when the company sent the team a notice of termination on Jan. 19 . Nature’s Bakery was to have paid $15,212,000 each season to sponsor the team.

Nature’s Bakery filed a counterclaim Feb. 25 stating it did not see the return it was led to believe in sponsoring Patrick’s team.

Click here to read court document

Thursday’s schedule for NASCAR Cup, Xfinity at Charlotte

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Charlotte Motor Speedway kicks off its weekend leading up to Sunday’s main event, the Coca-Cola 600, with today’s action.

The Xfinity Series will hold two practices, while the NASCAR Cup Series has one practice and qualifies in the evening.

Here is today’s schedule:

(All Times Eastern)

11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. – Cup garage open

1:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

2 p.m. – 3:25 p.m. – First Cup practice (Fox Sports 1)

4 p.m. – 4:55 p.m. – First Xfinity practice (FS1)

6 p.m. – 6:55 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (FS1)

7:15 p.m. – Cup qualifying (multi-vehicle, three rounds) (FS1, Performance Racing Network)

Long: Hall of Fame moment is special for father and son

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CHARLOTTE — Sleep has not come easy for Doug Yates in some time.

It has only gotten worse lately.

He can’t stop thinking of his father, Robert, who battles liver cancer. Robert has undergone chemotherapy, but at one point doctors said they weren’t sure what how to treat the 74-year-old former NASCAR team owner and engine builder who was selected to the 2018 Hall of Fame Class on Wednesday.

That helpless feeling of not solving a problem counters what Robert and Doug have done all their lives. If there was an issue with an engine, they worked harder and longer until they fixed the matter.

This they can’t.

While Robert Yates undergoes experimental treatments, Doug is there to help take care of his father. There are bad days, Doug says, wincing.

“What I see is a man who is broken down and built back up because he is watching his father,’’ said Whitney Yates, Doug’s wife. “Sometimes (Robert) is so sick he can’t do anything and Doug is there.’’

They are more than father and son. They share a treasured relationship not every boy and his dad experiences, their bonds woven early and strengthened with each day together.

Doug fondly recalls sleeping on a cot in a race shop when he was about 5 years old while his father worked on an engine through the night. They traveled to races together. Doug reminisces of a trip to Richmond where his father, tired from work, told his son, then 12, to take the wheel while he slept. Yet, when a deer ran across their path, it was Robert who asked his son if he saw that.

They often went to the race shop together. Although family, Robert was still the boss. He would be hard on his son at times, but Doug cherishes even those memories.

Robert was only teaching his son what it took to succeed. Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett won two Daytona 500s and Davey Allison won another for Robert Yates Racing. Jarrett won the 1999 Cup championship with the team. As an owner, Robert Yates won 57 Cup races and 48 poles.

Now, Doug is the boss. He oversees the “vision” his father had of the Roush Yates Engines shop, which powered Kurt Busch to a Daytona 500 win and Ford teams to four other victories in the season’s first 11 races.

“He wants to make (his dad) proud,’’ Whitney said of Doug. “He’s always trying so hard.

“Doug is always moving the bar. I think Robert is so proud of that.’’

While Doug does what he can for his father and the family business, he couldn’t control what happened at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The past three years Robert, Doug and the rest of the family came to the Hall of Fame to see if Robert would be selected. Five are chosen each year. Robert ranked sixth in votes received twice, just missing enshrinement.

Robert Yates reacts after he is announced to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Each time, Robert said the voting panel got it right.

“Selfishly, I didn’t think so, but he did,’’ Doug said. “That was a lesson for me. Everything happens for a reason.’’

As Wednesday approached, Doug Yates’ anxiety grew. It was worse Wednesday morning and throughout the day.

As Doug walked into Hall of Fame, ahead of his father, he conceded he was “nervous.’’

He also was prepared.

Doug stocked multiple tissues in the pockets of his slacks.

“If he didn’t make it, I was going to break down,’’ Doug said of his father making the Hall of Fame. “If he did, I was going to break down.’’

Robert also felt nervous.

“If I don’t get in,’’ Robert told himself before the announcement, “that’s the reason to work real hard to be here next year to get in.’’

The family didn’t have to wait long to celebrate.

Robert Yates, who received 94 percent of the vote, was announced first.

“Wow,’’ Doug said. “I’m glad that’s over.’’

His father, sitting a row in front of Doug, reached back. Doug leaned forward. They held hands. 

After that it was a matter of relishing what had happened as four other men — Red Byron, Ray Evernham, Ken Squier and Ron Hornady Jr. — were selected to join Robert Yates in the next Hall of Fame Class.

Doug stay composed throughout. He wiped his eyes once.

When the ceremony ended, Robert Yates reached his arm around wife Carolyn and embraced her.

“My family means so much to me because they allowed me to work night and day,’’ Robert Yates said. “Do I love engines? Yes, whether one cylinder, two cylinders, six or 12 or 24. I love engines.’’

That passion led him to this moment.

“I feel like I could take a jack,’’ said the former jackman.

“I don’t know if I’ll sleep tonight.’’

Doug Yates will.

His father will be in the Hall of Fame.

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