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Austin Hill wins Truck Series race at Michigan in overtime

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Austin Hill won Saturday’s Truck Series race at Michigan International Speedway in overtime, fending off Sheldon Creed on the final lap to score the victory in the regular-season finale.

It is Hill’s second win of the season after he won the season-opener at Daytona.

The top five was completed by Tyler Dippel, Austin Wayne Self and Brett Moffitt.

MORE: Click here for race results

MORE: Click here for points report

Hill bounced back from a speeding penalty early in the final stage to lead 26 of 105 laps.

“It’s huge, we’ve had a struggle these last four or five races,” Hill told FS1. “We just keep having issues and can’t finish races. Man, these guys just work their tails off day and night just trying to put these trucks together. This is actually a brand new truck, first time (it saw) the race track was yesterday. When we unloaded we had to workout some bugs on it. We got it driving really good.”

The overtime finish was setup by a large wreck on a restart with four laps to go in the scheduled distance. Tyler Ankrum, who was the leader, received a push from Matt Crafton, which turned his truck into the outside wall and started a chain reaction.

Among those in the wreck were Johnny Sauter, Todd Gilliland, Anthony Alfredo, Natalie Decker and Spencer Boyd.

“I think (Ankrum) just spun his tires, to be honest,” Crafton said after the race. “That’s from what I saw from my seat. I asked a couple of people and they said it looked like he was still spinning the tires when I hit him. Definitely, never going to try wreck somebody. We worked so good together on the restart before that. I shoved him to the lead and it was just wrong timing.”

Pole-sitter Ross Chastain led every lap of Stage 1. But during the ensuing pit stops, Johnny Sauter turned Codie Rohrbaugh into Chastain’s right side as Chastain exited his box. The damage from the collision sent Chastain to the garage and ended his day.

By just starting the race, Grant Enfinger clinched the regular season championship and was awarded 15 playoff points.

With Hill’s win, Crafton clinched the last playoff spot based on points since there wasn’t a new winner.

The eight driver playoff field is Brett Moffitt, Enfinger, Stewart Friesen, Chastain, Hill, Crafton, Sauter and Ankrum.

Not involved in the playoffs is Kyle Busch Motorsports. Both Gilliland and Harrison Burton needed to win Saturday to get into the playoff field. At least one KBM driver has been a member of the championship four the last three years.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Ross Chastain

STAGE 2 WINNER: Brett Moffitt

WHAT’S NEXT: Playoff opener: UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway at 8:30 p.m. ET Aug. 15 on FS1.

 

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.

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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