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Xfinity Series Spotlight: Playoff drivers share who they want to win title for

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After being awarded the Xfinity Series regular-season championship, Elliott Sadler reminded everyone who he wanted to win his first NASCAR championship for.

“I want to hand my trophy to my parents,” Sadler said last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. “That’s what I want to do. You don’t realize until you get older how much your parents sacrificed when you were a kid to make sure you were in good equipment, whether it was in go-karts or late models or maybe investing money in your career when you first started Xfinity racing or Busch racing back then.”

With the start of the Xfinity playoffs Saturday at Kentucky Speedway (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN), NBC Sports asked the other 11 playoff drivers who they wanted to win a championship for.

Here are the best responses.

Brennan Poole (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

Brennan Poole – Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42 Chevrolet

“You do it for yourself because it’s what you love to do. I fight for it because I want that. But my parents sacrificed a lot to get me to this point. My dad spent a lot of time with me on the road and mom missed a lot those moments with me because I was traveling so much racing. I lived here (in Charlotte) on my own when I was 17, I lived on a guy’s sofa for a year until I turned 18 and got an apartment. But my parents were still in Texas. They didn’t move here until just last year. There’s five or six years of us apart while I was trying to go after this.

“I’ve been very blessed and very fortunate to have an amazing family like I had. I think it would be awesome to stand there and win that championship just for all those moments that they went through to get me there. But also, my parents weren’t a racing family. My dad wanted me to play golf. I’ve been very fortunate I’ve always had the right people come along in my life at the right time through quarter midgets and legends cars and dirt modifieds and late models and ARCA and now Xfinity. To help me get to that next level. To teach me the things I needed to get to the next step. It will be a huge payment to everybody that believed in me to get me to this point.”

Ryan Reed – Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 16 Ford

“I think your family is always really important to every race car driver. They’ve had a lot of help to get here. No one did it on their own. A lot of times it’s their family. But for me, after being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, obviously my partner Lilly Diabetes, who stuck with me essentially from the beginning. But then also for every person living with Diabetes. I would venture to guess 90 percent of them have been told they can’t do something because of diabetes. Winning a championship would absolutely be dedicated to all of them.”

Justin Allgaier (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Justin Allgaier – JR Motorsports’ No. 7 Chevrolet

“I think my dad. When I won the ARCA championship, my dad was somebody that was hugely instrumental in that. That would be huge to be able to surmount that. We’ve had a lot of loss at JR Motorsports this year. Adam Wright for us was somebody that was a huge part in making sure this four-car team succeeded. Obviously, that’s something we’re thinking about. We’d love to win a championship for him. … I think anytime you have that it makes these emotions of when things go well that much better.”

William Byron – JR Motorsports’ No. 5 Chevrolet

“I think about people that helped me in my in legend cars, my crew chief there, Dennis (Lambert), Rudy (Fugle) last year ( in the Camping World Truck Series) helped me. I saw how those guys hated to see how it unfolded last year. All those people that helped me get to this point. My parents obviously. Liberty (University), everyone. Hopefully everyone can be excited about it and when can go out and win it and be able to show those people all the support they’ve given me, be able to give back to them.”

Matt Tifft – Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 19 Toyota

“Definitely my mom and dad for sticking with me through this whole progression of my career. They’ve stood behind me. My dad’s been to every race since I started racing when I was 12. Obviously they’ve helped me a lot and encouraged me to go after my dreams and do what I love to do with this. At the same I think it’s well known my story and I’d love to be able and go do that to be a champion for all those who have gone through things similar to me with the brain surgery world and the brain tumor world I should say. I’d like to be able and go out and prove myself for that reason.”

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Daniel Hemric – Richard Childress Racing’s No. 21 Chevrolet

“The first thing my mind goes to is for the hard-nosed short-track racer that will not ever get an opportunity like this. I’m one of the few that’s been fortunate to be given this seat to sit in and be able to have the opportunity to run for a championship. I think if I could hoist that trophy at Homestead it would be kind of one of those, ‘Hey, it can still be done the old fashioned way’ kind of things.”

Brendan Gaughan – Richard Childress Racing’s No. 62 Chevrolet

“Me … me … me. I’ve had a lot of people get me through this. This would be for everybody, but listen, anybody that says, ‘Oh, it’s going to be…’, no. You want to win championships for your sponsor, for yourself or your owner, yes, all that’s great. I’ve been doing this 20 years. I would love to get another championship, especially at this point in my career. That’s what we do it for and I would love to be able to catch it now.

Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson top list of drivers docked practice

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HAMPTON, Georgia — Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson both will be held during the final Cup Series practice Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Because his No. 78 Toyota failed to clear prequalifying inspection three times Friday, Truex will miss the final 30 minutes of the 80-minute session that will begin at noon ET. Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet will be out for the last 15 minutes because it failed the new Optical Scanning Station twice.

Harrison Rhodes also will miss 15 minutes for failing inspection twice. Jeffrey Earnhardt, Gray Gaulding Jr., Michael McDowell and Cole Whitt each will miss 15 minutes because they were late to qualifying inspection.

NASCAR changed its policy on how practice holds will be conducted this season. Instead of serving the penalty in the pits at the start of the session, drivers will park their cars for the length of the penalty up until the end of the session.

Today’s Xfinity race at Atlanta: Start time, lineup and more

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A week after Tyler Reddick‘s victory over Elliott Sadler by 0.0004 seconds to win at Daytona, the Xfinity Series is back in action at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Today’s race is the first in a doubleheader. The Camping World Truck Series will race after the Xfinity Series event.

Here are the details for today’s Xfinity race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: Larry “The Cable Guy” will give the command to start engines at 2:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 2:16 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 163 laps (251 miles) around the 1.54-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 40. Stage 2 ends on Lap 80.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 7 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 11:45 a.m. Driver introductions are at 1:35 p.m.

TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race beginning at 1:30 p.m. Race coverage begins at 2 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 1:30 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for mostly cloudy skies with a high of 77 degrees and a 15 chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Kyle Busch led the final 19 laps to win this race last year. Brad Keselowski was second. Kyle Larson placed third.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying is at 9:10 a.m. ET

Atlanta team rosters: Who is working the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500

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HAMPTON, Georgia — NASCAR has released the weekend team rosters for the 36 teams competing in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Under a new initiative to limit at-track personnel in 2018, NASCAR is providing a list of team rosters before each race this season. In addition to the crew chief, Cup teams will be permitted 12 road crew members each weekend and a five-member pit crew (which is down a person from last year and also under new regulations).

Click here for the Cup team rosters provided by NASCAR at Atlanta.

Teams fielding one to two cars also are allowed three management-style spots (competition vice president, technical director, IT support). Teams fielding three to four cars get those spots plus a fourth staff member for IT.

NASCAR will monitor the rosters by scanning identification chips. It also will use rosters in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck series.

Cup teams presented the idea of having a defined number of team members to NASCAR, which helped formalize the structure.

Saturday’s schedule at Atlanta: Cup practice; Xfinity, Trucks qualifying and races

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As the late Chicago Cubs great Ernie Banks used to say, “Let’s play two today.”

And that’s what will at Atlanta Motor Speedway: Both the Xfinity and Camping World Truck series race today.

Here’s how today’s schedule plays out:

(Times Eastern)

7 a.m. – Xfinity/Truck Series garages open

9:10 a.m. – Xfinity qualifying; multi-car/three rounds (Fox Sports 1)

10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Cup garage open

10:35 a.m. – Truck Series qualifying; single truck/two rounds (FS1)

11:45 a.m. – Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting

Noon – 1:20 p.m. – Final Cup practice (FS1)

1:15 p.m. – Truck driver-crew chief meeting

1:30 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

2 p.m. – Rinnai 250; 163 miles/251.02 miles (FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

4 p.m. – Truck Series driver introductions

4:30 p.m. ET – Active Pest Control 200; 130 laps; 200.2 miles (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)