Kyle Larson wins Xfinity race at Daytona in overtime

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Kyle Larson won the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 in a narrow finish over Elliott Sadler in overtime.

Larson was declared the winner after Justin Haley made a three-wide pass of Larson and Sadler coming to the line and beat them to the checkered flag. But Haley crossed the yellow line at the bottom of the track in the attempt, which is illegal.

Larson swept all three stages of the race and led 39 laps.

“I honestly didn’t even think I had a shot to win that until I pulled over here to the lug nut check and I could see (on) the big screen where he kind of went below the yellow line,” Larson told NBCSN. “A little bit of a shock for me.”

Haley, driving the No. 24 Chevrolet for GMS Racing, was making his second Xfinity start. He was credited with an 18th-place finish.

NASCAR ruled Larson the winner while Haley was celebrating on the frontstretch.

“I just wish NASCAR would … tell us how much of the car we can have below the yellow line,” Haley told NBCSN. “I don’t get this opportunity enough … Seeing the replay there was room for me to go up so I don’t know why they’re calling me like that.”

Haley competes full-time for GMS Racing in the Camping World Truck Series.

MORE: Haley says “BS call”

Sadler earned his fourth runner-up finish at Daytona and his third in a row.

Without Haley’s bold move, the finish looked nearly identical to February’s race at Daytona when Sadler finished second to Tyler Reddick in the closest finish in national NASCAR history.

“I just didn’t know (Haley) was coming,” Sadler told NBCSN. “Just miscommunication between my spotter and myself. I was just trying to really key in on (Larson) on when to side draft. I felt like it was Daytona in February all over again. I hate it for my guys. They work way too hard for me to keep finishing second here at Daytona.”

The final stretch of the race was set up by a 16-car wreck with 19 laps to go that eliminated February Daytona winner Tyler Reddick. Austin Cindric walked away after his No. 60 Ford flipped multiple times.

That wreck resulted in a 12 minute and 18 second red flag period.

The overtime finish was setup by a nine-car crash with three laps left in the original 100-lap distance.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Larson

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Larson

MORE: Race results, point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Kaz Grala finished fifth for his second top five of the year despite having to pit right before a restart with seven laps to go in the original distance for a tire going down … Christopher Bell placed third after spinning on pit road in Stage 1 and being called for a pit penalty … Shane Lee finish a career-best sixth in his fifth start … Timmy Hill placed seventh, matching his career-best finish (Daytona, February 2012).

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Pole-sitter Ryan Preece finished 39th after suffering a radiator problem on Lap 52 … Ryan Reed finished 26th after being involved in three accidents, including the 16-car wreck … Chase Elliott placed 29th after going to the garage for a bad oil pump belt.

NOTABLE: Elliott Sadler is now tied with Michael Waltrip for most runner-up finishes at Daytona without a win (four).

WHAT’S NEXT: Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway at 8 p.m. ET on July 13 on NBCSN.

 

Chase Elliott wins Cup Most Popular Driver award

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Chase Elliott was selected as the NMPA Most Popular Driver in a fan vote announced during Thursday’s NASCAR Awards show.

It is the second consecutive victory for Elliott in the category.

“Honored to have two,” Elliott said. “It’s really more than a trophy or award. It is about the people you see at the race track.”

It is the 29th consecutive year that either an Elliott or Earnhardt has won the award.

The last driver not named Elliott or Earnhardt to win this award was Darrell Waltrip in 1990.

Other award winners included:

The Bill France Award of Excellence, an award that is not given every year, was presented to car owner Joe Gibbs for his signifiant contribution to the sport.

The NMPA Myers Brothers Award for outstanding contribution to the sport was presented to Darrell Waltrip.

The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award is Joe Vaughn, who has volunteered for nearly two decades, raising both awareness and funds on behalf of the Project HOPE Foundation, based in Greenville, South Carolina. The foundation’s mission is to provide a lifespan of services to the autism community to help families, open minds, promote inclusion and expand potential.

Watch NASCAR Cup Awards Show at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN

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Get settled into your favorite easy chair, make sure you have plenty of snacks and beverages on hand and get ready for the last big event of 2019 on the NASCAR schedule: tonight’s NASCAR Awards Show.

The show will be broadcast on NBCSN from 8-10:30 p.m. ET from Nashville, Tennessee, for the first time. And if you miss some of the show, don’t worry, there’ll be a replay immediately afterward, also on NBCSN.

Kyle Busch will be the main attraction for tonight’s show, being celebrated for winning his second NASCAR Cup championship this past season.

Also, the 2019 NASCAR Cup Most Popular Driver award winner will be revealed. Will it be defending winner Chase Elliott, reigning champion Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Matt DiBenedetto … or someone else? You definitely need to tune in to find out.

And to get you in the mood, we’ll replay Wednesday’s Burnouts on Broadway at 7 p.m. ET, also on NBCSN.

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Will Daniel Suarez race for Richard Childress Racing in 2020?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The president of Richard Childress Racing said it is a “longshot” that Daniel Suarez will drive a third Cup entry for the organization in 2020 but said RCR would like to have Suarez drive its No. 2 Xfinity car next year.

Suarez has not decided where he’ll race in 2020 after losing his ride with Stewart-Haas Racing this year.

Suarez has been linked with RCR. A third Cup entry would require RCR to acquire another charter for that car. It also could mean that the organization would need to hire additional people if they expanded to three full-time cars.

“I think that would be a long shot in a Cup program,” Torrey Galida told NBC Sports about Suarez in a third RCR Cup entry. “We’ve talked to him about an Xfinity program. We’d love to have him in an Xfinity car, and we think we could win another championship next year with Daniel. He’s a very talented young man.”

Richard Childress Racing’s No. 21 Xfinity car will run the full season with multiple drivers in 2020. Myatt Snider and Anthony Alfredo have been announced to drive that car. Galida said the team is looking at Kaz Grala, Austin Dillon and possibly two-time series champ Tyler Reddick driving that car in select races.

RCR ran the No. 21 car in nine of 33 Xfinity races this past season. It ran the No. 2 car in every race.

If Suarez, the 2016 Xfinity champion, drove for RCR in the Xfinity Series next year, it would be with the organization’s No. 2 car.

“We could still do that and we would do that,” Galida said of a full-time Xfinity effort for Suarez. “That’s the kind of opportunity we would be interested in.”

Galida said it just is a matter of hearing what Suarez decides.

“I think he knows what we’ve got to offer, and I think he’s just weighing his alternatives and trying to determine what is best for him,” Galida told NBC Sports. “I’m sure that going back to the Xfinity Series is not his first choice. I think in the right equipment it could be a really good move for him.”

Galida said they could go into January before hearing from Suarez but noted that “the sooner the better. People are your biggest issue. You want to put the right people around him.”

Next April’s Xfinity race at Bristol to have new sponsor

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Bristol Motor Speedway announced Thursday that partner Alsco, along with Darden Restaurants and its Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen brand, will sponsor next April’s Xfinity Series race there.

The Cheddar’s 300 presented by Alsco will take place on Saturday, April 4, 2020.

Alsco is a global leader in uniform and linen rental services. In addition to its entitlement at Bristol Motor Speedway, Alsco will take part in Xfinity Series entitlements at three other Speedway Motorsports Inc. racetracks: Kentucky Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Alsco’s initial entitlement at BMS came this past April with the Alsco 300 Xfinity Series race, won by Christopher Bell, who earned a $100,000 bonus through Xfinity’s Dash 4 Cash program.

Alsco is also a sponsor for Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports and JR Motorsports.

“Bristol is the place for historic finishes and close, hard-knock racing action,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager at Bristol Motor Speedway. “Alsco and our new friends at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen understand the reputation of racing at The Last Great Colosseum and we’re ready to show them an incredible experience. The Cheddar’s 300 presented by Alsco is a must-see event on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule.”

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