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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.

Kyle Larson fastest in final practice for Coca-Cola 600

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CONCORD, N.C. — Kyle Larson topped the final practice session for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 with a speed at 186.400 mph.

The Cup points leader, Larson will start 39th in the race because his No. 42 Chevrolet didn’t clear inspection in time to qualify.

Ryan Blaney (185.861), Matt Kenseth (185.046), Kurt Busch (184.856) and Erik Jones (184.818) rounded out the top five.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was seventh fastest at 184.433 mph. Pole-sitter Kevin Harvick was 20th fastest at 182.648 mph.

Jimmie Johnson recorded the most laps in the session with 47.

Jamie McMurray had the best 10-lap average at 180.914 mph.

The session was stopped for a caution once after Brad Keselowski spun exiting Turn 4.

Click here for the full practice report.

Justin Allgaier wins pole for Charlotte Xfinity race

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CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier won the pole for the Xfinity Series’ Hisense 4K TV 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

With a speed at 182.488 mph, Allgaier earned his fifth Xfinity pole and his first since the March 2013 race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Allgaier is joined on the front row by Austin Dillon (181.519).

The top five was completed by Ryan Blaney (181.378), Daniel Hemric (181.324) and Kevin Harvick (181.245).

Christopher Bell will start seventh in his first Xfinity race.

Brad Keselowski and Dakoda Armstrong will start from the rear after not passing inspection in time to qualify.

Click here for full qualifying results.

Ryan Blaney leads second Coke 600 practice

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CONCORD, N.C. — Ryan Blaney posted the top speed in the second practice session for the Coca-Cola 600.

Blaney’s No. 21 Ford produced a speed of 188.055 mph Saturday morning around Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The top five was filled out by Erik Jones (187.598 mph), Martin Truex Jr. (187.084), Daniel Suarez (186.838) and Trevor Bayne (186.239).

Pole-sitter Kevin Harvick was ninth fastest at 185.567 mph. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 14th quickest at 185.141 mph.

Kyle Busch recorded the most laps in the session with 48.

Click here for the full practice report.

Eight teams lose 15 minutes of Coke 600 practice for failing pre-qualifying inspection

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CONCORD, N.C. — Eight Cup teams were held 15 minutes during Coca-Cola 600 practice today for failing pre-qualifying inspection on Thursday

Drivers include Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard, David Ragan, Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, Corey LaJoie and Chris Buescher.

Buescher’s team also loses pit selection for Sunday’s race because it failed inspection three times.

Larson and LaJoie’s loss of practice time comes after neither qualified Thuraday because their cars didn’t clear inspection in time.