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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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NASCAR America 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN: Dale Earnhardt Jr. live from NASCAR Hall

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN from the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Our special guest for the entire hour is two-time Daytona 500 winner and 14-time Most Popular Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Marty Snider hosts and will be joined by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett and Jeff Burton.

Among the topics on today’s show:

  • We’ll talk with Dale Jr. about his last Cup race at Talladega, the emotions he went through, starting from the pole for the first time there and ultimately finishing seventh.
  • How is Earnhardt approaching the final five races of his Cup career before retiring at season’s end, the JR Nation Appreci88ion campaign, his role with NBC Sports Group next season, as well as his Hall of Fame father, Dale Earnhardt and the Earnhardt legacy. Also, what does the future hold for him?
  • Speaking of the future, we’ll also congratulate the 26-time Cup race winner on soon becoming a father for the first time with wife Amy. What kind of father does Junior expect to be?
  • You can also send in your own questions for Dale Jr, who will answer them during the show! Just send them on social media with the hashtag #AskDaleJr

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, you can also watch it via the online stream at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

William Byron tops Xfinity playoff grid to start second round

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The second round of the Xfinity Series playoffs begins this weekend when the series heads to Kansas Speedway for the Kansas Lottery 300.

Following an elimination race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the series and the eight remaining playoff drivers are coming off an off week for the first time in months.

Those eight drivers are led by JR Motorsports’ William Byron, Justin Allgaier and Elliott Sadler. The three drivers have been at the top of the standings since the second race of the first round.

There was a minor adjustment after the Charlotte race. Matt Tifft was penalized 10 driver points for his car failing post-race inspection. But due to the reset in points, it had no bearing on his placement in the playoffs.

Tifft is eighth in the standings and trails Ryan Reed by one point. The bottom four drivers – Cole Custer, Brennan Poole, Reed and Tifft – are each separated by one point.

Here’s the full playoff grid.

Carl Edwards to receive Stan Musial Award for sportsmanship

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Former NASCAR Cup driver Carl Edwards is among one of more than a dozen individuals that will receive the prestigious 2017 Musial Award.

The annual ceremony will be held Nov. 18 at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis.

The Musial Awards – named after late St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Stan Musial – “honor this year’s greatest moments of sportsmanship and the biggest names in sports for their class and character,” according to a media release.

Edwards will be honored for his actions in last year’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Here’s how the awards committee described what Edwards did that day:

Last November at Homestead—Miami Speedway, Edwards was among four drivers in contention for NASCAR’s Cup Series championship. He led the season finale race with 10 laps to go. But as he tried to block competitor Joey Logano from passing him on a restart, the two drivers crashed, ending Edwards’ shot for his first Cup Series title.

“Instead of losing his cool, as other athletes might have done, Edwards took the high road and showed pure class. He walked over to Logano’s pit crew, shook hands with crew chief Todd Gordon, and wished the team good luck. It was a gesture of extraordinary sportsmanship that was lauded throughout NASCAR.

“Based on the character he has shown throughout his career, it was not a surprise Edwards would take such a gracious approach. Winner of NASCAR’s Busch Series in 2011 and holder of 28 Cup Series wins, the Columbia, Mo., native’s success on the track is equaled by the class, respect and humility he has personified over time.”

Also, renowned track star Jackie Joyner-Kersee – considered by some as the greatest female athlete ever – will receive the Musial Lifetime Achievement Award, joining previous lifetime award winners Joe Torre (2014), Arnold Palmer (2015) and Cal Ripken Jr. (2016).

Other honorees include Arizona Cardinals (NFL) president Michael Bidwell, female boxer Aliyah Charbonier and LSU head baseball coach Paul Mainieri.

Preliminary entry lists for Kansas Speedway

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NASCAR’s top two series will be in action this weekend at Kansas Speedway as they hold two different stages of their playoff races.

The Cup Series has its second round elimination race with the Hollywood Casino 400. The Xfinity Series begins its second round with the Kansas Lottery 300 after an off week.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for both races:

Cup – Hollywood Casino 400

There are 41 cars entered into the race.

StarCom Racing is set to make its debut with Derrike Cope driving the No. 00 Chevrolet. Tony Furr will serve as Cope’s crew chief.

There are four cars without drivers attached to them yet: BK Racing’s No. 23 and No. 83 Toyotas, Premium Motorsports’ No. 15 Chevrolet and Rick Ware Racing’s No. 51 Chevrolet.

Gray Gaulding will driving Premium Motorsports’ No. 55 Chevrolet.

Martin Truex Jr. won the last visit to Kansas Speedway in May. He beat Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick after passing Ryan Blaney with 19 laps to go.

Harvick is the defending winner of the playoff race.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Kansas Lottery 300

There are 41 cars entered into the race.

Cup drivers entered into the race include Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney.

Christopher Bell will driver the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Kyle Busch is the defending winner of this race. He has won the last three Xfinity races at the track.

Click here for the entry list.