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Richard Childress celebrates in Cup victory lane for first time since 2013

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As Ryan Newman took the checkered flag in the Camping World 500, Fox cameras caught Richard Childress on top of Paul Menard‘s hauler doing something he hadn’t done after a Cup race in almost four years.

Flashing a winner’s smile.

Since November 2013, Childress has gotten to show it off 13 times. On 12 occasions in the Xfinity Series and once in the Camping World Truck Series.

But until Newman’s victory Sunday, he hadn’t used in it celebration of a NASCAR Cup Series win since Kevin Harvick earned his final victory with Richard Childress Racing at Phoenix on Nov. 10, 2013.

In-between the victories were 112 races and Childress’ NASCAR Hall of Fame induction in January.

The 71-year-old won’t be back at the team’s shop this week, but Childress has every intention of expressing his gratitude to the team from across the country.

“I’m going to send them a WaxMail (an audio file program), because I still have business in California I got to do,” Childress said. “They will hear a lot from me tomorrow morning. Get on the speaker, tell everybody how proud I am.”

Since 2014, RCR cars had earned 26 top fives between its three entries of Newman, Austin Dillon and Paul Menard without a win.

Childress said after a late-January test at Phoenix, RCR still “(wasn’t) where we wanted to be.

“(We) kept cutting bodies off, working seven days a week, working all kinds of hours to get our cars back to being competitive. It’s all about track position. Once (Newman) got out there, I knew he could go.”

Newman led the final six laps after crew chief Luke Lambert told his driver to stay out during a caution caused by Joey Logano.

Newman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Martin Truex Jr. all stayed out. For the final two laps of the overtime finish, Newman had “to guard off a bunch of wolves” on fresh tires, Lambert said.

From his infield perch, Childress watched Newman power down the backstretch for the last time with Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch desperate for an opening.

“Man, if it sticks, it’s going to be good,” Childress thought as they approached Turn 3. “If it don’t, it’s going to be ugly.”

Lambert’s decision turned into Newman’s first win since he joined RCR in 2014. Newman is the eighth driver to win a Cup race for the man who has six Cup championships and as of Sunday, 106 Cup wins.

“It’s been a long, hard fight, and a battle all the way,” Childress said.  “Nobody ever gave up.  We never gave up in Ryan.  We know that he can do it.”

The win capped off a weekend where engines built by Childress’ ECR operation finished 1-2-3 in the 12 Hours of Sebring.

“It’s a great day for us,” Childress said. “When Ryan was talking about this could be one of the sweeter wins that we’ve had, it’s because it’s been so long.”

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Starting lineup for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma

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Sunday’s main event of the weekend at Sonoma Raceway, the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Cup race, will have a definite Chip Ganassi Racing flavor when the green flag drops.

Pole sitter Kyle Larson will lead the 38-car field to the starting line, while CGR teammate Jamie McMurray will be his wing man, alongside on the front row.

Larson is hoping to do the same thing Sunday that he did last Sunday at Michigan: he started from the pole and finished with the win. He and McMurray are in Chevrolets, while Toyotas make up Row 2 with Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch.

Row 3 has the Chevrolet of A.J. Allmendinger and the Ford of Danica Patrick, who will be the highest-starting driver for both Ford and Stewart-Haas Racing. It’s Patrick’s third-best career start in a Cup race, and her highest start since Charlotte in May 2014.

The defending race winner, Tony Stewart, retired at the end of last season from NASCAR Cup competition.

Click here for the full row-by-row starting lineup.

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Elliott Sadler remains No. 1 in Xfinity standings after Iowa race

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Elliott Sadler remains atop the Xfinity Series point standings following Saturday night’s American Ethanol e15 250 at Iowa Speedway.

Sadler finished eighth in what was his 800th career NASCAR start across all three major series: Cup, Xfinity and Trucks.

JR Motorsports drivers own the top three spots in the standings: Sadler holds a 25-point lead over teammate Justin Allgaier and a 57-point edge on another teammate and Saturday’s race winner, William Byron, who is third in the Xfinity standings.

Daniel Hemric is fourth, 146 points behind Sadler, while Ryan Reed is 155 points behind in fifth place.

Click here for Xfinity points report.

MORE: Race results from Saturday night’s American Ethanol e15 250 at Iowa

MORE: William Byron takes first Xfinity win at Iowa, avenges close loss at Michigan

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Race results from Saturday night’s American Ethanol e15 250 at Iowa

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William Byron bounced back from last weekend’s razor-thin loss at the finish line to Denny Hamlin at Michigan to earn his first career Xfinity Series victory Saturday night under the lights at Iowa Speedway.

Byron, who won seven Truck races last season, roared to the front late in the race after a final restart and held on to become the youngest race winner (19 years old) at the .875-mile track in Newton, Iowa.

MORE: William Byron takes first Xfinity win at Iowa, avenges close loss at Michigan

MORE: Elliott Sadler remains No. 1 in Xfinity standings after Iowa race

In a unique backstory to the race outcome, each of the top four finishers recorded Xfinity Series career-best showings, while Dakoda Armstrong tied his career-best Xfinity finish.

Click here for the full results from Saturday’s race.

 

William Byron takes first Xfinity win at Iowa, avenges close loss at Michigan

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One week after missing out on a win by .012 of a second, William Byron broke through for his first career Xfinity victory, capturing Saturday night’s American Ethanol e15 250 at Iowa Speedway.

The 19-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina native’s previous best Xfinity finish was second, when he lost out to Denny Hamlin at the start-finish line in last weekend’s race at Michigan, but Byron would not be denied Saturday night under the lights, becoming the youngest Xfinity winner on the .875-mile track in Newton, Iowa.

In earning his first win in his 14th career Xfinity start, Byron took the lead late in the race and kept a number of drivers at bay in the closing laps. He also qualified for the Xfinity Series playoffs. He also became the first first-time winner in the Xfinity Series this season.

“It feels awesome,” Byron told Fox Sports 1. “I think we had a first- or second-place car, got a little bit loose on one run and then we got back on cycle there at the end and were able to take off. It’s really cool.”

MORE: Race results from Saturday night’s American Ethanol e15 250 at Iowa

MORE: Elliott Sadler remains No. 1 in Xfinity standings after Iowa race

Ryan Sieg finished second, followed Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain and Dakoda Armstrong.

Sixth through 10th were Michael Annett, Jeremy Clements, JR Motorsports teammates Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier, and 10th-place finisher Garrett Smithley.

This was how close Byron lost to Denny Hamlin last weekend at Michigan.

HOW BYRON WON: In much the same way he won several of his seven Truck Series races last season, Byron quietly stalked the leaders through much of the race. Then, following a wreck that involved Christopher Bell, Ryan Reed and Brennan Poole with 32 laps to go, Byron worked his way to the front as the final laps ticked off and won.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Interestingly, all of the top-four finishers earned their career-best Xfinity showings: Byron (1st), Sieg (2nd), Reddick (3rd) and Chastain (4th), while Armstrong tied his career-best finish (5th).

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Sam Hornish Jr. came in as the defending winner and kicked off a multi-race deal with Team Penske with this race. He was running in the top-5 when Christopher Bell got into Hornish on Lap 80, sending him into the wall and ending his night. … Seymour, Wisconsin’s Ty Majeski had a good night going in his Xfinity Series debut until he was involved in a solo wreck on Lap 145 that also ended his night.

NOTABLE: Polesitter Christopher Bell won Stage 1, while Brendan Gaughan won Stage 2, his first stage win of the season. … Elliott Sadler made his 800th career NASCAR start across all three major series (Cup, Xfinity and Trucks).

QUOTE OF THE RACE: “We had four fresh tires and I just feel like we should have had a victory. I thought the odds were in our favor. … I feel like we gave one away here. It’s going to be a tough one to swallow.” – Third-place finisher Tyler Reddick.

WHAT’S NEXT: Firecracker 250, June 30, 7:30 p.m. ET, Daytona International Speedway.

Follow @JerryBonkowski