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Chase Elliott named Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year

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After the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Chase Elliott was named the Sunoco Rookie of the Year.

Elliott, in his first season driving the No. 24 for Hendrick Motorsports, was given the honor out of a class that included Chris Buescher, Brian Scott, Ryan Blaney and Jeffrey Earnhardt.

The son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott finished the season 10th in the standings. Chase Elliott went winless, but finished his first campaign with two poles (Daytona 500, Talladega I), 10 top fives and 17 top 10s. He qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup but was eliminated after the second round.

In his brief appearance in the media center, Elliott said he wasn’t deserving of the attention while his teammate Jimmie Johnson celebrated his seventh Sprint Cup title.

“I don’t need to be sitting up here right now, seven championships versus Rookie of the Year. You guys need to be watching him,” Elliott told the media. “But I’m proud of our season for sure. I’m definitely proud to earn the Rookie of the Year honors. It’s been a long season, a lot of ups and downs, but we’re happy to be here and definitely enjoyed racing against those guys for the Rookie of the Year this season. Felt like it was a fun group, and we’re excited to get on to season two.”

In 36 races, Elliott led 358 laps spread out over 14 races. His season-high of 107 laps led came in the fall race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The native of Dawsonville, Georgia, also recorded two DNFs.

After 41 Sprint Cup starts, Elliott says he feels “far from” being a veteran. The 2017 Daytona 500 will be his first race without the yellow rookie stripes on his rear bumper.

“Good news is I don’t have to go to any more rookie meetings, which is nice,” Elliott said. “I think you learn things as you go, but I can’t see the back bumper, so I don’t know what’s there or not. I think you just kind of learn from experiences and things you encounter along the way, not so much whether it’s your first year or first race or whatever it is. I think it’s more of an experience-based kind of feel, whether you have that comfort moving forward.”

Elliott is still seeking his first Cup win. The only rookie to win in 2016 was Buescher, who won at Pocono in a race shortened by fog.

Elliott’s predecessor in the No. 24, Jeff Gordon, was Rookie of the Year in 1993 and didn’t earn his first win until his 42nd start. Elliott’s 42nd start will come in the 2017 Daytona 500.

Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer tied at top of Xfinity playoff standings

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Justin Allgaier and Cole Custer are tied for the top spot in the Xfinity playoff standings after the playoff opener at Kentucky Speedway.

Each driver has 2,057 points.

Allgaier finished third after bouncing back from losing a tire on Lap 19 and going two laps down. He was two laps down for 27 laps and one lap down for 30 before getting back on the lead lap.

Custer, who finished fifth, won the first two stages of the race, earning two playoff points in the process.

The top five in points are Allgaier, Custer, Elliott Sadler (-2), Daniel Hemric (-5) and William Byron (-6).

Click here for the points standings.

Results from Xfinity race at Kentucky Speedway

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images
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Tyler Reddick scored his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win, leading a 1-2 finish for Chip Ganassi Racing on Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.

Reddick beat teammate Brennan Poole by 14.5 seconds in the playoff opener.

Reddick is the seventh different winner in the last seven series races. He led twice for 66 laps. Reddick had not led any laps until Saturday night.

Playoff contender Justin Allgaier rallied from two laps down after a right front tire went down early in the 200-lap race to finish third. Ryan Preece placed fourth. Rookie Cole Custer, who won both stages, finished fifth.

Click here for race results

Tyler Reddick wins playoff opener at Kentucky for first career Xfinity victory

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Tyler Reddick, a part-time driver for Chip Ganassi Racing, led 66 laps to win the Xfinity Series playoff opener at Kentucky Speedway.

In his rookie year in the series, Reddick earned the win in his 15th start in the No. 42 Chevrolet.

The 21-year-old driver beat teammate Brennan Poole, Justin Allgaier, Ryan Preece and Cole Custer.

“I don’t know if it was necessarily me making a statement, it’s just Chip Ganassi Racing making a statement,” Reddick told NBCSN. “(Crew chief) Mike Shiplett has brought me from ground zero all the way to here. All the guys at Ganassi have gone above and beyond in helping me become a better driver. To be here today is surreal.”

Reddick, who had not led a lap before Saturday night, took the lead for the first time on Lap 126 of the 200-lap race.

Reddick is the fourth Xfinity driver to get his first win this season.

Saturday’s win comes after it was announced on Sept. 14 that Reddick would join JR Motorsports full-time in 2018.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Cole Custer

STAGE 2 WINNER: Cole Custer

MORE: Race results

MORE: Points standings

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Justin Allgaier bounced back from losing a tire and going two laps down to finish third. He leaves Kentucky tied with Cole Custer at the top of the playoff standings. … Brennan Poole’s runner-up finish is a career-best result in 77 starts … Ryan Preece has finished in the top four in all three of his starts for Joe Gibbs Racing. … Ryan Reed finished 10th, ending an eight-race streak without a top 10.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Sam Hornish Jr. finished 31st, nine laps down after contact with Brandon Jones on Lap 53 caused him to hit the wall at the exit of Turn 2, forcing him to pit for repairs. … William Byron finished 18th, two laps down after he was forced to pit on Lap 101 for a loose wheel.

NOTABLE: The No. 2 of Ben Kennedy failed rear heights in post-race inspection. … Reddick is the seventh different driver to win in the last seven races this season. … Reddick is the seventh different winner in the last eight races at Kentucky.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “I was about the color of my car (red) there for a little bit.” – Justin Allgaier after finishing third following a rebound from going two laps down early in the race.

NEXT: Drive Sober 200 at Dover International Speedway at 3 p.m. ET on Sept. 30 on NBCSN.

Social Roundup: Sights from first Martinsville night race

Marty Snider
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The wait is over.

Night racing at Martinsville Speedway is now a reality.

After tests and practice sessions, the half-mile track in Virginia hosted the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 and its qualifying races Saturday night for the NASCAR Late Model Series, which was won by Timothy Peters.

In attendance at the race were Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Daniel Suarez, as well as NBCSN’s Marty Snider, who watched his son Myatt compete in the race.

Here’s a look at some of the sights and sounds from the historic night for NASCAR’s oldest track.