Martin Truex Jr. wins Bank of America 500 to open second round of playoffs

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CONCORD, North Carolina — Martin Truex Jr. won the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in an overtime finish, opening the second round of the playoffs with his sixth Cup win of the year.

It is Truex’s second Charlotte win after winning the 2016 Coke 600.

Truex beat Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Jamie McMurray to the checkered flag following a caution for Kurt Busch spinning with three laps to go. The overtime finish added three laps to the race’s scheduled 334-lap length.

“It was tough out there today,” Truex told NBC. “The car was a handful. It was really hot. … The pit crew was flawless. Got us track position and we were able to keep it.”

Truex led 91 laps. He has won both opening-round playoff races after also winning at Chicagoland.

“This time of year you want to be clicking on all cylinders and today we did,” Truex said. “We just did everything right.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kevin Harvick

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kevin Harvick

MORE: Race Results

MORE: Points Standings

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Chase Elliott earned his fourth runner-up finish of the year and his third in four races. … Kevin Harvick led a race-high 149 laps before earning his 10th top five and his second of the playoffs. He finished outside the top 15 the previous two races. … Jamie McMurray earned his third top five of the year and his first top 10 of the playoffs.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Ryan Newman finished last after a two-car crash with Clint Bowyer on Lap 44 … Erik Jones finished 17th after multiple pit stops early in the race to fix a broken shock mount …. Kyle Busch finished 29th, six laps down after causing three cautions, the last coming with nine laps to go … Danica Patrick and David Ragan were eliminated after a wreck with 69 laps to go … Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished 13th after being caught speeding during the final pit stop.

NOTABLE: Five of Truex’s six wins this season have come at 1.5-mile tracks. Truex’s average finish at 1.5-mile tracks this season is third. … Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 12th in his last Cup start at Charlotte … Daniel Suarez, who finished sixth, had one unsecured lug nut. Any fines will be announced later this week.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Obviously you hate to run second because that means you were close to first, but hopefully we’ll have our day sometime.” – Chase Elliott

WHAT’S NEXT: Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway at 2 p.m. ET on Oct. 15 on NBC

BRANDT returns for third year with JR Motorsports in Xfinity Series

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BRANDT Professional Agriculture will return as a sponsor for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series, the team announced Wednesday.

The company will be a primary sponsor of Justin Allgaier‘s No. 7 Chevrolet in 19 races and an associate sponsor of Allgaier and his three teammates the rest of the season.

Brandt has sponsored Allgaier for eight years, including the last three with JR Motorsports.

Allgaier is a native of Riverton, Illinois, which is 15 miles from Springfield, Illinois, where the company is headquartered.

JR Motorsports

Allgaier, 31, is coming off his second season that ended with him in the Championship 4. He earned two wins, 10 top five and 17 top-10 finishes. He also led a series-high 495 laps among Xfinity regulars.

He will be teammates with Elliott Sadler, Tyler Reddick and Michael Annett this year.

The Xfinity season begins Feb. 17 at Daytona International Speedway.

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NASCAR revamps Rookie of the Year points system in national series

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NASCAR has changed how it determines the Rookie of the Year in all three national series, it announced Thursday.

The new system, which will debut in a month at Daytona International Speedway, reflects the points system that decides the champion in each series, including the stage format in races.

A race win will earn a rookie candidate 40 points and five playoff points. A second-place finish will is worth 35 points and a third-place finish is 34 points, etc.

A rookie candidate who wins a stage will earn 10 points and one playoff point.

“The focus on our rising stars has never been stronger and simplifying the Sunoco Rookie of the Year system made perfect sense,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing operations in a press release. “Our fans track closely the progress of our young drivers and matching the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points structure with the championship points will help them follow this prestigious program and award more closely than ever before.”

Erik Jones was Rookie of the Year in the Cup Series last year. William Byron won the honor in the Xfinity Series and Chase Briscoe won it in the Camping World Truck Series.

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Watkins Glen, Michigan announce multi-year sponsor deals

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Watkins Glen International and Michigan International Speedway announced multi-year sponsorship deals for their Cup Series races Thursday.

WGI announced the Aug. 5 race at the road course will be sponsored by GoBowling.com. The 90-lap race will be called “Go Bowling at the Glen.”

This is not the first time the bowling brand has sponsored a Cup event. It sponsored the spring race at Kansas Speedway from 2016-17 and the August event at Pocono Raceway from 2013-14.

As part of the deal, Go Bowling will have two bowling lanes at the track for the race weekend.

Michigan has renewed its sponsorship deal with FireKeepers Casino Hotel for its June Cup race for “many years.”

The hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan, began its relationship with MIS by sponsoring pole day in 2014. It began sponsoring the June race in 2016.

TheFireKeepers Casino 400 is scheduled for June 10.

ISM Raceway (Phoenix) also announced the title sponsor for its March 11 Cup race.

The event will called the TicketGuardian 500.

TicketGuardian is a mobile ticketing insurance provider. When fans purchase tickets to events at ISM Raceway, they will be given the option to add TicketGuardian’s ticket protection coverage. This allows fans to have insurance on the tickets they’ve purchased in advance.

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Hendrick, Kelley Blue Book extend relationship through 2020

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Hendrick Motorsports and Kelley Blue Book have extended their sponsorship deal three years through 2020, the team announced Thursday.

The car pricing, research and valuation guide will be a primary sponsor on Chase Elliott‘s N0. 9 Chevrolet in two races each year.

This season it will be on the No. 9 for the Aug. 18 race at Bristol Motor Speedway and the November playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Kelley Blue Book has been partnered with Hendrick since 2014 when it had a one-race deal to sponsor Dale Earnhardt Jr.

It went to a two-race deal beginning in 2016.

MORE: Driving the No. 9 feels like going home for Chase Elliott

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