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William Byron wins seventh race as Johnny Sauter clinches first Truck Series title

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While William Byron won his seventh Camping World Truck Series race, Johnny Sauter finished third in the Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to claim his first NASCAR title in 14 full-time seasons across all three series.

Byron led 31 laps, including the final 10, to close out his season with the rookie record for wins in the Truck series.

Sauter had to do the most work of the Championship 4 drivers, starting 19th and charging his way toward the front where he delivered GMS Racing its first NASCAR title. GMS Racing debuted in 2013 with Spencer Gallagher.

Sauter’s title comes in his eighth year of full-time competition in the series.

“We qualified terribly today and I was kind of worried about it,” Sauter told Fox Sports 1. “Just proud of these guys. Flawless execution on pit road. (Crew chief) Joe (Shear Jr.) made the right kind of adjustments to where I could just kind of hang on. I’m not really a high line guy. Just elected to keep doing my deal and actually found some real good grip around the bottom of the race track.”

That led to Sauter passing Matt Crafton, his former teammate at GMS Racing, after the final restart with 20 to go.

Filling out the top five was Tyler Reddick, Sauter, Kyle Larson and Daniel Hemric.

A week after Byron was eliminated from the Chase at Phoenix thanks to a blown engine, the 18-year-old driver helped give Kyle Busch Motorsports its fifth owners title and fourth in a row.

“Feels awesome, it’s incredible,” Byron told FS1. “This team has worked so hard all year. We just had that unfortunate situation last week that we couldn’t control. But man they brought a good truck … I just hate this team not being together next year. It’s just insane how good they are.”

Byron, who was named Rookie of the Year, moves up to the Xfinity Series next year to drive for JR Motorsports.

Among the other Chasers, Matt Crafton finished seventh, followed by Christopher Bell in eighth and Timothy Peters in ninth.

Larson led a race-high 76 laps while Crafton led 10, the only laps led by a Chase driver.

MORE: Truck Series point standing

MORE: Race Results

HOW WILLIAM BYRON WON: After a three-wide pass of Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter for second with 17 to go, Byron took the lead from Tyler Reddick with 10 laps left and won.

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Kyle Larson started third and led the most laps in the race before losing eight spots on the final pit stop. He fought back to finish fourth … In their last starts for Brad Keselowski Racing, Tyler Reddick and Daniel Hemric each finished in the top five … Cole Custer finished 10th in his last race before moving up to the Xfinity Series.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Patrick Staropoli caused cautions on Laps 43 and 84 and 111. He finished 31st, nine laps down … Ryan Truex was the only DNF of the night, finishing last after losing an engine.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “Before this race, we knew we had a lifelong bond between all of us. I mean, it’s just been an incredible season. I’ve learned so much. They didn’t know what to expect I think with a rookie driver. They were like, ‘What’s this kid going to do,’ so I just tried to prove them right all year and we just had an awesome year, so no better way to finish it off at Homestead like this.” – William Byron after winning the Ford EcoBoost 200.

Results, point standings after Truck race at Las Vegas

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Austin Hill won Friday night’s Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his second win of 2020.

He beat Sheldon Creed for the victory.

The top five was completed by Tanner Gray, Stewart Friesen and Chandler Smith.

IndyCar driver Conor Daly finished 18th and Travis Pastrana was 21st.

Click here for the race results.

Point Standings

With his win, Austin Hill is the first driver to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Todd Gilliland is last in the playoff standings with 2,050 points. He is 13 points behind Ben Rhodes.

Click here for the standings.

Austin Hill wins Las Vegas Truck race

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Austin Hill won Friday night’s Truck Series playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, leading the final 39 laps to score the victory.

Hill took the lead on a restart and held off charges from Sheldon Creed over the final 20 laps.

Creed’s progress was slowed with 11 laps to go when he got loose and scraped the wall in Turn 1. He was never able to get close enough to Hill to make a challenge.

Creed dominated the early portion of the race, leading 89 laps before he struggled to get going on the final restart and briefly fell to seventh.

The win is the second of the year for Hill. He’s the first playoff driver to win in the postseason and it come after he finished 25th at Bristol.

“We didn’t have the best truck tonight by no means,” Hill told FS1. “Pit crew did a hell of job on that last pit stop getting me into the position I needed to. I just had to go out there and get it. … Sheldon was definitely way faster than me. … I was probably looking in my mirror more than I was our front. I knew he was better than we were.”

The top five was completed by Tanner Gray, Stewart Friesen and Chandler Smith.

More: Race results and point standings

STAGE 1 WINNER: Sheldon Creed

STAGE 2 WINNER: Sheldon Creed

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Tanner Gray, Stewart Friesen and Chandler Smith all matched their best results of the season … While he was the first driver to finish one lap down, IndyCar driver Conor Daly placed 18th in his first career Truck Series start … Travis Pastrana placed 21st in his second start of the season.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Rachael Lessard finished 20th after he had to pit early in the race following contact with the wall … Ben Rhodes finished 23rd after he spun from contact with Stewart Friesen and hit the inside wall on Lap 84 … Jordan Anderson’s engine expired on the ensuing restart. He finished 32nd.

NOTABLE: Natalie Decker, who was not medically cleared to compete Friday night, was treated and released from the infield care center.

WHAT’S NEXT: Race at Talladega Superspeedway, 1 p.m. ET Oct. 3 on FS1

 

Natalie Decker not medically cleared for Las Vegas Truck race

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NASCAR announced right before Friday night’s Truck Series race that Natalie Decker hadn’t been medically cleared to compete.

No details were provided about the issue that prevented Decker from being cleared. During the final stage of the race, NASCAR announced she had been treated and released from the infield medical center.

The Niece Motorsports driver would have started 23rd. Due to her No. 44 truck having cleared inspection and having been placed on the starting grid she was credited with a last-place finish.

Decker has made 11 starts this year. She missed the June 28 race at Pocono after she was hospitalized due to bile duct complications related to her gallbladder removal in December.

Brandon Brown hopes to shed underdog role in Xfinity playoffs

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Brandon Brown knows the odds are against him advancing beyond the first round of the Xfinity playoffs.

“If I went out and we did a survey and we asked 1,000 NASCAR fans to create a playoff bracket, I guarantee that 90 to 99 percent of them have me getting eliminated in the first round,” he told NBC Sports.

But that’s not stopping him.

Brown is in the Xfinity playoffs for the first time, earning the final spot last weekend with his family-run team. He enters Saturday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) last in the 12-driver field. Brown has 2,000 points and is 10 points behind Ross Chastain, who holds the final transfer spot, entering the first round.

MORE: Saturday’s Xfinity race start time, lineup, forecast

Regardless where he is in the standings, Brown still met the team’s preseason goal of making the playoffs.

“It’s hard to put it into words,” the 27-year-old said of making the playoffs. “It’s so exciting and so thrilling. We’re just happy. Life is good. We’re seeing the fruits of our labor.”

Much of the Xfinity playoff focus will be on Chase Briscoe, who enters with a series-high seven wins. Or Austin Cindric, who won the regular-season title. Or Justin Allgaier, who has won three of the last seven races and could be the favorite if he makes it to the championship race at Phoenix Raceway.

Brown, who is in his second full season in the series, has four consecutive top-20 finishes going into this weekend. He knows the challenge he faces.

He said a key for this weekend is to have no mistakes, be running at the end and try to take advantage of any mistakes other playoff drivers have.

Then, he’ll look to Talladega. He’ll have an upgraded Earnhardt Childress Racing engine for that race, the team spending the extra money for the engine upgrade.

“I go into that track with confidence,” he said. “I need to go out there and make it happen, go win and make an name and go ahead and punch my ticket.”

While Brown knows most look at him as the underdog of these playoffs, he hopes to drop that title someday.

“The goal will be to get rid of that underdog title and to build that program that is going to be looked on as a powerhouse of the NASCAR Xfinity Series,” he said. “I enjoy the ride (as underdog), but now I’m ready to advance past it.”

Points entering Xfinity playoffs 

2,050 – Chase Briscoe

2,050 – Austin Cindric

2,033 – Justin Allgaier

2,025 – Noah Gragson

2,020 – Brandon Jones

2,018 – Justin Haley

2,014 – Harrison Burton

2,010 – Ross Chastain

2,002 – Ryan Sieg

2,002 – Michael Annett

2,001 – Riley Herbst

2,000 – Brandon Brown

First Round races

Sept. 26 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN)

Oct. 3 – Talladega Superspeedway (4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN)

Oct. 10 – Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC)