Matt Kenseth plays spoiler, wins Phoenix playoff race

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Matt Kenseth passed Chase Elliott with 10 laps to go and held on to win the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix Raceway.

Kenseth, 45, ended a 51-race winless streak. The win came a week after Kenseth announced he did not have a ride secured for 2018 and that he would be taking a break from NASCAR racing.

It is his 39th Cup win.

“Yeah, baby!” Kenseth screamed on his radio after crossing the finish line. “I’m going to be the biggest crybaby you’ve ever seen.”

Kenseth beat Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones and Kevin Harvick.

“I don’t know what to say except for thank the Lord,” a tearful Kenseth told NBC at the start-finish line. “Had an amazing journey. I know I’m a big baby right now. Just got one race left. Everybody dreams of going out a winner. We won today. No one can take that from us. It was a heck of a race with Chase there. Golly, thanks to DeWalt, Circle K, Toyota, all our sponsors and (Joe Gibbs Racing) for a great five years. It’s been quite a journey.”

The win is Kenseth’s first since the July New Hampshire race last season. He had nine top fives this season entering Sunday.

“The way this year was going I wasn’t really expecting to win today,” Kenseth said. “This is a special one, it means a lot.”

Brad Keselowski clinched the final spot in the next week’s championship race. He joins Harvick, Kyle Busch and Truex.

MORE: Tears of joy for Matt Kenseth in Phoenix win.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Larson

STAGE 2 WINNER: Denny Hamlin

MORE: Race Results

MORE: Points Standings

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Chase Elliott led 34 laps before he was passed for the last time by Kenseth. Elliott finished second for the seventh time in his career, which ties the Cup record for runner-up finishes without a win. … Martin Truex Jr. finished in the top three in every Round of 8 race … Erik Jones earned his fifth top five of the year. … Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 10th after bouncing back from a flat tire early in the race.

WHO HAD A BAD A DAY: Denny Hamlin’s day and championship hopes ended when he hit the wall in Turn 3 after losing a tire with 38 laps to go. The blown tire was caused by damage from contact with Chase Elliott a few laps before when they were fighting for third. … Kyle Larson finished last with his fourth DNF in a row after blowing an engine on Lap 104 …. Jimmie Johnson’s chances at a record eighth Cup title ended when he lost a tire and hit the turn 3 wall on the last lap of Stage 2. He finished 39thTrevor Bayne finished 38th after a hard hit into the outside wall on the front stretch on Lap 229.

NOTABLE: The race was placed under the red flag for five minutes and three seconds on Lap 254 for two fires that broke out in the SAFER barrier from brake rotors off Chris Buescher’s car.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We probably had great speed at Martinsville, great execution at Texas and great luck today. You’d like to have all three of them on the same day.” – Brad Keselowski after clinching a spot in the championship race.

WHAT’S NEXT: The championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 19 (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC).

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.

Devastated Elliott Sadler watches another title chance go away

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HOMESTEAD, Florida — Elliott Sadler’s fourth runner-up finish for the Xfinity title in the last seven years was a pain he had not felt before.

“I’d say tonight is the most devastating and down and out I’ve ever felt in my career,’’ Sadler said after finishing second to JR Motorsports teammate William Byron for the championship.

Sadler’s anger was directed at Ryan Preece, who slowed Sadler by challenging him for position and stalling Sadler’s momentum as Sadler tried to hold off Byron for the championship in the final 10 laps.

“We were in position to win this championship,’’ Sadler said. “We were there. He raced me hard and held me down and (Byron) got a run on us and he let (Byron) go. Very frustrating.’’

Byron took advantage by diving under Sadler and passing him. Sadler tried to get by Preece but made contact that caused his right front tire to go down. Sadler finished eighth, losing the championship to Byron, who placed third.

“To be that close and not win a championship is frustrating,’’ said the 42-year-old Sadler, who has not won a title in any of NASCAR’s top three national series. “I don’t have many years left, and I wanted to try to fulfill a childhood dream. I didn’t know it was going to come down to a guy that’s not even racing for anything to hold us down like that. No respect at all.’’

Preece said he was racing for something. He was in the No. 18 for Joe Gibbs Racing to compete for the car owner’s title.

“I’m just doing what I’m doing for Joe ,’’ Preece said. “They told me to race for the owners championship.’’

Sadler didn’t buy it when told what Preece said..

“He wasn’t because (Sam Hornish Jr.) was half a lap ahead of him,’’ Sadler said, referring to the Team Penske car that won the car owners title. “He wasn’t racing anybody.’’

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