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Chase Elliott scores Truck victory at Martinsville

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MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Chase Elliott held off GMS Racing teammate Johnny Sauter late to win Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway.

Sauter finished second and was followed by Christopher Bell, rookie Noah Gragson and Ty Dillon.

Bell led with 17 laps left but made contact with Austin Cindric, who was trying to stay on the lead lap. The contact allowed Elliott and Sauter to get by.

MORE: Click here for Truck race results

More: Click here for Truck points report

Asked what he might want to tell Cindric, Bell said: “It’s 20 laps to go in the race, you’re going a lap down. If it’s not your day, it’s not your day. I don’t expect him to just wave me by. I do expect him to continue to run the line he was running, and the chicane down the front straightaway was not the line he had been running.”

On the restart with 12 laps to go, Elliott blocked Sauter and stayed ahead the rest of the way to earn his second career Truck series win – his other Truck win came in 2013 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

“He’s doing what he’s got to do to win the race,” Sauter said of Elliott’s block late. “I’d do the same thing.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Chase Elliott

STAGE 2 WINNER: Johnny Sauter

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: After finishing 26th and 14th in the first two races of the season, Noah Gragson finished a career-high fourth. … Brett Moffitt started 15th and finished sixth, scoring his first top 10 of the season. … Ross Chastain recovered from a punctured tire early and a spin to finish seventh.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: John Hunter Nemechek‘s truck lost power and caused a caution on Lap 119. He later returned several laps down and finished 28th. … Austin Cindric finished 21st and the contact with Christopher Bell, who was leading at the time, will be what some will recall most about Cindric’s race after Bell failed to win.

NOTABLE: Chase Elliott is the sixth different winner in the last six Truck races at Martinsville. Previous winners: Darrell Wallace Jr., Joey Logano, Matt Crafton, Kyle Busch and Johnny Sauter.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Johnny (Sauter) and I raced really hard here in the fall, and I think that was a little different ballgame than what you had today. I think you can get a little more aggressive in today’s race and not have as quite as big an outcome if something were to go wrong” – race winner Chase Elliott.

NEXT: The series is off until racing May 12 at Kansas Speedway.

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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.