Kyle Larson wins Cup regular-season finale at Richmond in overtime finish

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Kyle Larson won the NASCAR Cup Series regular-season finale at Richmond Raceway in an overtime finish.

Larson won after a caution came out just following the white flag. Denny Hamlin, running in third, made contact with Martin Truex Jr., who crashed into the Turn 1 wall (see video below).

Truex had been leading the race until a caution came out for Derrike Cope with four laps to go. Larson was first off pit road. Truex, the regular-season champion, led 198 laps.

“I’ve got the greatest team out here and definitely the best pit crew,” Larson told NBCSN. “That showed tonight. I can’t thank those guys enough. They were money all night long to gain spots. This win is a huge congrats to them”

The win is Larson’s fourth of the year. It’s his first Cup win at a track shorter than 2 miles.

“(Truex) was definitely the best,” Larson said. “I thought I was second-best for most of the run. Would fall off late in the run. Came down to the final restart and I got a good start. Spun my tires really bad and was a little nervous. But we cleared him into (Turn) 1.”

The top five were Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin.

Truex finished 20th.

“We both drove in really, really deep and when I got on the brakes the splitter slammed down on the ground and shot me up the track into him,” Hamlin told NBCSN. “It’s unfortunate. I didn’t want to get into him. He’s a great teammate of ours.”

Said Truex to NBCSN: “Tonight sucked, plain and simple. Just the way it ended up. You’re out there dominating like that and you know your car is not very good on restarts for a couple of laps. Caution for a guy that shouldn’t even be out there. It’s ridiculous. … It’s unfortunate the way the race ended.” On Hamlin: “We talked and I know he didn’t do it on purpose. … I gave him room and he was aggressive on the brakes. That stuff happens.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Busch

STAGE 2 WINNER: Martin Truex Jr.

MORE: The 16 drivers in the Cup playoffs

MORE: Race results

MORE: Points standings

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Kurt Busch earned his third top five in a row … Jimmie Johnson finished eighth for his best finish since winning at Dover in June. He had not finished better than 10th since … Dale Earnhardt Jr. led a season-high 13 laps and finished 13th. He failed to make the playoffs … Daniel Suarez finished seventh for his ninth top 10. He’s finished seventh six times.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Pole-sitter Matt Kenseth saw his race end on Lap 257 after running into the back of Clint Bowyer as the field came to pit road as they tried to avoid an ambulance that was at the pit entrance. He finished 38th … In addition to the pit accident, Bowyer was called for an uncontrolled tire on his last pit. He finished 24th … Landon Cassill’s night ended on Lap 33 when he lost a tire and hit the wall. He finished last.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “I’m more mad about all that than I am losing.” – Martin Truex Jr. on the late-race caution involving Derrike Cope with four laps left as Truex led.

NEXT: Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway at 3 p.m. ET on Sept. 17 on NBCSN

Truck practice report at Atlanta

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Justin Haley was the fastest in the first of two practices Friday for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He had a top lap of 178.029 mph.

Daytona winner Johnny Sauter was second with a lap of 177.040 mph. He was followed by Myatt Snider (177.040 mph), Stewart Friesen (176.995) and Noah Gragson (176.589).

There were no incidents in the session.

Final Truck practice will be from 4:05 – 4:50 p.m. ET.

Click here for Truck 1 practice

Police investigating vandalism, theft at North Wilkesboro Speedway

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The Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a report of vandalism and theft at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the track, which last hosted a NASCAR Cup race in 1996, suffered damage of about $10,000 when several trespassers were on the grounds last weekend. No arrests have been made.

The report states that several windows were broken and other damage was done to the structures. Also, large amounts of electrical wire and circuit breakers were reported missing.

The investigation continues.

North Wilkesboro Speedway hosted NASCAR Cup races from 1949-96. Winners included Fireball Roberts, Buck Baker, Junior Johnson, Lee Petty, Richard Petty, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Terry Labonte, Rusty Wallace and Jeff Gordon, who won the final race there.

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Others’ predictions motivating Austin Dillon after Daytona 500 win: ‘I guess they don’t believe it yet’

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HAMPTON, Ga. – Fresh off the greatest victory of his NASCAR career, Austin Dillon already has motivation to win the next.

The Richard Childress Racing driver heard others predict this week that the Daytona 500 would be his only victory this season.

“I think on Race Hub, Brad (Keselowski) and Chad (Knaus, crew chief for Jimmie Johnson) saying that we weren’t going to win again,” Dillon said Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “So, that was good to hear. That was something to get me fired up a little bit more and our team, get those competitive juices flowing again. So, we will just keep rocking it however we can. We still have a lot to work on.”

Prior to Daytona, Dillon’s lone win in four seasons as a full-time Cup driver came in the 2017 Coca-Cola 600. His No. 3 Chevrolet qualified for the playoffs the past two seasons, but his top 10s (13 to four) and average finish (15.9 to 18.6) slipped demonstrably from 2016 to ’17.

“So yesterday in my group text with my buddies they watched Chad Knaus and Brad Keselowski, and it was like, ‘All right, it’s time to keep knocking them down, I guess they don’t believe it yet,’” Dillon said. “We’ve got to step up though at RCR. We’ve still got a lot to prove. It’s a speedway race, even though it’s the biggest race in our deal, it’s a speedway race.  We’ve got a lot more to prove.

“(Competition executive) Andy Petree and all the guys are RCR are working hard. I think coming down to a two-car team move is big for us. We’ve got to take advantage of that. I’m not going to lie, I’m tired right now, but we are going to kick butt this weekend and get back regrouped and get in the groove and try and gain as many bonus points as we can.”

But qualifying for the playoffs by winning the season opener should be a morale booster that avoids any letdown.

“The one thing they don’t have right now that we have is a win,” Dillon said. “So, we are on top right now, and no matter what they can’t take that away, and we are going to keep working.  I don’t expect us to lay down at all. I feel like now more than ever we need to go head on and go after it.”

Xfinity practice report from Atlanta

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Christopher Bell posted the fastest lap in the first of two Xfinity practice sessions Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Bell posted a lap of 178.447 mph. He was followed by Joey Logano (177.323 mph), Cole Custer (175.933), Ryan Reed (175.688) and Kevin Harvick (175.487). Daytona winner Tyler Reddick (175.388) was sixth on the speed chart.

There were no incidents in the session.

Final Xfinity practice will be from 3:05 – 3:55 p.m. ET

Click here for practice 1 report