NASCAR America: Dale Jarrett sits down with Championship 4 drivers

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Five days before the Cup Series’ championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, NASCAR America’s Dale Jarrett sat down with all four championship drivers.

The NASCAR Hall of Famer spoke with Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick about various topics, including how difficult it is to make it to the championship race in the current format and what they would consider crossing the line in trying to win the title on Sunday.

Here’s how Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick responded to the latter question.

Busch: “I’ll just answer like this. I think in my personal taste and my opinion, I don’t try to go out there and dirty race anybody or wreck somebody in order to go for a win. This is a rare circumstance, and we got to do what we need to do for our team in all instances. That track is pretty wide, so there should be opportunity to race each other with class and like champions.”

Harvick: “You look at the last two weeks (with Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott), that took those guys totally out of championship contention. That’s where you don’t want to be right now. You don’t want to have somebody that’s just looking for you on the race track and you don’t want to have the circumstance that (Hamlin) and (Elliott) were in. You want to go out and race hard and earn it the right way.”

Among the four drivers, Truex is the only one who doesn’t have a Cup title. He came close in 2015 when he finished fourth.

Jarrett asked Truex how that serves as motivation for the Furniture Row Racing driver.

“I feel like we left there (Miami in 2015) and it was just a lost opportunity,” Truex said. “Ever since that day we’ve been working to get back there, to get another chance. I think we’re ready for it. I think we have the right mindset. I think for us honestly, we just really need to do what we’ve done all year. We’ve literally gone to every race this year and said, ‘we need to win this race. This is like Homestead.'”

Keselowski said a championship under the current elimination format would mean more to him, simply because it’s in a different format.

“Championships are about legacies,” Keselowski said. “The three of us here (Busch and Harvick) have a chance to join that club, 15, that have won multiple championships in NASCAR (Cup Series). … That’s quite a club to be in. Of course Martin has a chance to add to his own legacy and be one of the (31) champions that there are in the sport. I think it’s an interesting position to be in and it’s one we all want to make the most of.”

Watch the above video for the full interview.

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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