NASCAR America: Brad Keselowski a finalist for Comcast Community Champion Award for service to military

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Brad Keselowski is thankful every day for the opportunities and success he’s had in life. He’s also very astute of those who have struggles in life, particularly military veterans who have been permanently injured while protecting our country.

That’s why Keselowski is so involved in not only honoring military men and women, but also is a staunch supporter of helping them financially and emotionally. That’s one of the main reasons Keselowski created his Checkered Flag Foundation several years ago to honor, support and help the recovery of military veterans through various efforts around the country.

Keselowski, along with Jimmie Johnson and Chip Ganassi Racing pit crew members, are the three finalists for the Comcast Community Champion Award, which honors members of the NASCAR community and their charitable service.

On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, we not only heard from Brad why his work with veterans is so important for him, we also saw one of the groups — Rockville, Maryland-based Fisher House, which helps injured veterans rebuild their lives physically and emotionally  — that Keselowski’s foundation continues to help.

Keselowski’s connection with the military goes back more than a decade. One of his first sponsors when he raced in the Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports was the U.S. Navy.

One of the latest efforts of Keselowski’s foundation is to help Fisher House build a new center in Keselowski’s home state of Michigan to help that state’s injured vets.

“Fisher House is one of those foundations that I’m proud to be associated with because they leave a real mark with every dollar they spend,” Keselowski said. “When I heard the Fisher House was looking to build a house in Michigan, I wanted to know what I could do to help. So we’ve created a number of fundraisers and we’ll continue to do so until that house is built.”

Keselowski, who is a private person off-track, revealed a part of him not well known in our NASCAR America interview.

“I did consider joining the armed forces,” he said. “It was always a thought in the back of my mind that if I didn’t make it as a race car driver, I couldn’t never have a normal job. I certainly look at the military and the men and women that serve as extraordinary.”

“I believe in the mission these people have to serve others. To see somebody who’s willing to put their life on the line to save you despite your own flaws and others despite of their own flaws, I think that’s an amazing quality to have. When somebody with that quality is facing such a traumatic and difficult time in their life, it stinks.

“The race wins and championships are great, but I don’t know if that’s a fair measurement of success. Part of the responsibility for being who I am and having the privileges I do have is to give back, so I think a foundation is an opportunity to show you care and instill hope.”

Check out the very touching story of Keselowski and his special bond with military veterans  in the video above.

Watch: Championship 4 drivers share thoughts on Miami outcome

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After 200 laps Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, William Byron claimed the Xfinity Series championship in his rookie year by finishing third in the Ford EcoBoost 300.

He finished ahead of his JR Motorsports teammates, Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier, and Richard Childress Racing’s Daniel Hemric.

Watch the above video for Byron’s first interview as a NASCAR champion.

Below are interviews with the remaining Championship 4 drivers.

Elliott Sadler

Sadler placed eighth in the race after contact with Ryan Preece with less than 10 laps to go cut a tire on his No. 1 Chevrolet. It Sadler’s fourth runner-up result in the points in his Xfinity career.

Justin Allgaier

Allgaier finished 12th in the race after struggling for most 300-mile event. He was competing without his primary crew chief, who had been suspended for the race. Chad Knaus, the seven-time champion crew chief in the Cup Series with Jimmie Johnson, helped out on the pit box for the No. 7 Chevrolet.

Daniel Hemric

Hemric finished last among the Championship 4 drivers in 34th after his No. 21 Chevrolet experienced battery problems early in Stage 2. Hemric spent 12 laps on pit road before returning to the race.

JR Motorsports sweeps top three in final Xfinity Series standings

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William Byron finished third in Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 to give JR Motorsports its second Xfinity title.

The team, co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., swept the top-three spots in the final standings with Elliott Sadler placing second and Justin Allgaier in third.

Daniel Hemric placed fourth after finishing last among the Championship 4 drivers in the race.

Race-winner Cole Custer ends the season in fifth.

Click here for the points results.

Results, stats for Xfinity season finale at Miami

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Cole Custer led 182 laps to win the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It’s his first Xfinity win and the first series win for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Custer swept all three stages of the race and beat Sam Hornish Jr., William Byron, Tyler Reddick and Ryan Preece.

Byron clinched the Xfinity title with his third-place finish.

Click here for results.

Cole Custer wins first Xfinity race; William Byron claims series championship


Cole Custer dominated to win Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, earning his first Xfinity Series victory, as William Byron finished third to clinch his first Xfinity championship.

Byron, 19, clinched the championship and the Rookie of the Year award by finishing ahead of teammates Elliott Sadler (eighth) and Justin Allgaier (12th).

Byron passed Sadler for good with six laps to go after the drivers battled closely for the top spot among the Championship 4 contenders for much of the last 50 laps.

“I don’t think I breathed for the last 20 laps, that was incredible,” Byron told NBCSN. “(Sadler) raced me clean. We raced hard for it. I can’t believe this. I just got to thank God for giving me this platform to perform. I can’t believe this. I’m tired.”

Sadler’s chances of getting back by his teammate were ruined when he made contact with the left rear of Ryan Preece soon after he had been passed by Byron. The contact got Preece sideways and caused Sadler to get into the wall.

Damage from the impact cut a tire on Sadler’s No. 1 Chevrolet. After the race, Sadler got into a confrontation with the Joe Gibbs Racing driver on pit road. Sadler finished runner-up in the championship standings for the fourth time in his career.

Byron’s title is the first championship for JR Motorsports since Chase Elliott‘s in 2014.

Daniel Hemric‘s chances at a title disappeared on Lap 61 when he visited pit road for a battery problem. The Richard Childress Racing driver returned to the track 12 laps later. Until he was passed by Byron on Lap 54, he was the highest running championship driver. Hemric finished 34th.

Custer’s victory comes in his 38th series start. The win is also the first Xfinity victory for Stewart-Haas Racing.

The 19-year-old driver led 182 of the 200 laps, a series-high at the track.

“I haven’t done that in a while,” Custer told NBCSN in Victory Lane. “We definitely had something to prove this weekend. We were so close to making (the Championship 4) last weekend. … Our Haas Automation Ford was unreal. We really wanted to have a good showing on Ford Championship weekend, even though we weren’t in it.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Cole Custer

STAGE 2 WINNER: Cole Custer

MORE: Race results

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Sam Hornish Jr. finished second for his third top five in six starts this season … Pole-sitter Tyler Reddick finished fourth in his last start with Chip Ganassi Racing … Ryan Preece finished fifth in his fourth start of the year. He placed in the top five in all four races … Ty Majeski finished 10th in his third start of the year for Roush Fenway Racing. It’s his first top 10.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: A day after winning the Truck Series title, Christopher Bell finished 36th after losing his engine on Lap 78 … Ryan Reed finished 20th after being issued a penalty on the initial start of the race.

NOTABLE: Sam Hornish Jr.’s runner-up finish helped Team Penske clinch the owner’s championship … William Byron finished his rookie season tied with Erik Jones (2016) for the second most wins by a rookie with four.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “To be honest with you, if there’s a person you don’t want to cost a championship to it’s Elliott Sadler.” – Ryan Preece