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Larson holds off late rally by Logano to win Xfinity race at Fontana

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Kyle Larson held off a late surge by Joey Logano to win Saturday’s Service King 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

Logano and Larson jousted for the lead over the last 20 laps, but it wasn’t until a final restart with four laps to go that allowed Larson to gain an advantage and remain ahead of Logano the rest of the way to the checkered flag.

Larson won by 0.127 seconds over Logano to earn his sixth career triumph in the Xfinity Series, including the second at Fontana in his home state.

“The racing there at the end with Joey was awesome,” Larson said on Fox Sports 1. “We just had a couple lap fresher tires than he did and was able to chase him down. I was trying to be patient.

“… It was a heck of a race. I honestly didn’t think we’d be here yesterday. I was struggling bad in practice, fought the balance a lot throughout the race, and then finally the last two runs we hit it.”

Kyle Busch finished third, followed by Erik Jones and William Byron.

Sixth through 10th were Darrell Wallace Jr., Elliott Sadler, Brennan Poole, Justin Allgaier and Ty Dillon.

MORE: Race results of Service King 300 Xfinity Series race at Fontana

MORE: NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings after Service King 300 at Fontana

Despite finishing second, Logano was exceptional and overcame several bits of adversity, including a pit road speeding penalty.

Then on Lap 96 Logano was leading and suffered a major pit malfunction. A jack broke before crew members were able to put left-side tires on, leaving the car on the ground.

NASCAR officials allowed Logano’s team to use a second jack, helping the team finally lift the left side of the car. Logano returned to the track in 26th but quickly worked his way back to the lead with 32 laps left.

Unofficially, Logano gained more than 60 positions on the racetrack from start to finish.

Larson now goes for a second consecutive win, starting from the pole in the weekend’s main event: Sunday’s Auto Club 400 NASCAR Cup race at the 2-mile oval about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

“I’m happy, this is our second win here in California, and I hope we can do it again tomorrow,” Logano told FS1.

Winner of first stage (laps 1-35): Kyle Busch

Winner of second stage (laps 36-70): Kyle Busch

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Six-time Fontana Xfinity winner Kyle Busch struggled at times, but like Logano, kept finding – and fighting – his way back to the front, finishing third. … Rookie William Byron finished fifth, giving him back-to-back top-five Xfinity finishes (he was fourth at Phoenix last week).

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Paul Menard was running fourth on Lap 94 when he was pushed into the wall by Erik Jones. Menard’s car caught fire, but he escaped unharmed. Menard finished 36th. … A small fire also started when Cole Custer wrecked on Lap 106. He was OK and finished 35th.

NOTABLE: Logano led the most laps (70) in the 150-lap event. Kyle Busch led 55 laps and Larson 21. … The No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford was ruled to have an improperly installed lug nut during post-race inspection. Also, the cars of Larson, Logano and Kyle Busch were taken back to the NASCAR R&D Center for routine inspection.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We’ll start from the pole and hopefully be right here tomorrow.” – Race winner Kyle Larson, who has four runner-up finishes in his past five Cup starts (dating to last season), including the past three races.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Xfinity Series is off next weekend (the Camping World Truck Series returns from hiatus). Both the Trucks and the Cup Series will compete at Martinsville Speedway. The Xfinity Series returns with the My Bariatric Solutions 300 on April 8 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

NASCAR America’s Jarrett, Letarte, Petty recap 2017, make 2018 predictions

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The 2017 NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series seasons have only been over for a few days.

And while it’s understandable that on Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America, analysts Steve Letarte, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett and Kyle Petty reflected back on the recently completed race seasons, they also took a very bold move:

The new season is still three months away, but our analyst team is ALREADY making predictions for 2018.

We don’t want to spoil the surprise or show their hands. If you want to hear how they’re already viewing 2018, click on the video above.

Justin Hartley from NBC’s ‘This Is Us’ on Dale Jr.’s special bond with fans

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Even though Dale Earnhardt Jr. is now officially retired as a NASCAR Cup driver, the special bond between the former driver of the 88 will likely never go away.

Sure, Alex Bowman is replacing Junior in the 88, which will likely pick up some of Junior Nation to cheer for him. Others will gravitate to cheer for other drivers, perhaps youngsters William Byron, Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez and others.

But one thing is for certain: once a Dale Jr. fan and a member of Junior Nation, ALWAYS a Dale Jr. fan and a member of Junior Nation.

Justin Hartley, who plays Kevin on NBC’s top-rated “This Is Us,” is proud to call himself a card carrying member of Junior Nation. In the video above, Hartley shows what it’s like to be a Dale Jr. fan, what the third-generation driver meant to so many people for so many years, and how his legacy will continue on for decades to come.

Check out the video above to see what Junior Nation is all about, as well as thoughts from our NBC analysts, Kyle Petty, Steve Letarte and Dale Jarrett.

NASCAR America: Nate Ryan on how 78 rode roller coaster to Cup crown

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If the 2017 NASCAR Cup season was an amusement park ride, it definitely would be a roller coaster for Martin Truex Jr., crew chief Cole Pearn and the rest of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team.

Up and down the season went, from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.

There was adversity on the track and tragedy off the track, with Pearn losing his best friend to a freakish infection, and team member Jim Watson passing away in Kansas one day before the Cup race that Truex would go on to win and dedicate to his fallen teammate.

And through it all, Truex and longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex dealt with the recurrence of ovarian cancer with strength, inspiration and fortitude.

The 78 team’s dedication, sticking to the plan and rallying together as a family was the difference.

NBC Sports’ and NASCAR Talk’s Nate Ryan presented a touching pre-race tribute to Truex and his team before Sunday’s race. On Tuesday’s NASCAR America, Ryan gave an updated version of that tribute, capping it off with the best way possible: recalling how Truex and the 78 team won it all.

Check out the video above to see Nate’s touching piece.

 

Scan All: Miami — the best from the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400

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This week’s Scan All: Miami combined not only regular scanner traffic from team radios during Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400, but also studio cut-ins of Truex and crew chief Cole Pearn talking about their road to the Cup championship.

Here’s some of the best exchanges:

Martin Truex Jr. on coming into the race: “I felt good all weekend, I really did. I was relaxed and knew that no matter what happened, we had a great season and a lot to be proud of and a lot to build upon for the future.”

Truex on his team radio just before the green flag: “We’ve been working a long time to get here. I can’t say enough about how proud I am of you guys and what you’ve done. Thank you for an unbelieveable season. Let’s cap it off tonight.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. just before the green flag: “I just want to thank everybody that’s had an impact on my career. I’ve made friendships and relationships that’ll last a lifetime, and I’m just so thankful for that.”

Aric Almirola on his last start for Richard Petty Motorsports: “King, if you’re on the air, thanks for that phone call six years ago. It’s been a lot of fun driving this 43 car.”

Crew chief Darian Grubb to Kasey Kahne on his final start with Hendrick Motorsports: “I know it’s an emotional day for everybody. I’m proud to be able to call you teammate and even more proud to be able to continue to call you friend after this, bud.”

Kahne’s reply (while holding back tears): “Thank you guys for everything, man.”

Kahne’s spotter, Kevin Hamlin, to Grubb: “Man, you’ve got to make him cry before we go green?”

Cole Pearn on Kyle Larson getting a run: “The 42 is running the wall. He’s hauling ass.”

Clayton Hughes, spotter for Truex: “How about this, Martin Truex Jr., you are the champion, baby!”

Truex in studio cut-in on winning championship: “It was our time. There’s no doubt in my mind that it was our time. Sometimes, things are meant to be.”

Check out the whole Scan All segment in the video above.