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.

 

Rain cancels Daytona Xfinity qualifying; Ryan Preece on pole

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ryan Preece will lead the field to green for tonight’s Xfinity race after rain canceled qualifying Friday afternoon.

The starting lineup was set by owner points. Ryan Blaney will start second.

NBCSN’s coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET with Countdown to Green, followed by race coverage at 7:30 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 7:49 p.m. ET

Click here for starting lineup

Updated entry lists for NASCAR at Daytona International Speedway

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NASCAR makes its second visit to Daytona International Speedway this weekend with the Cup and Xfinity Series.

Cup teams will hold the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on Saturday and the Xfinity Series precedes them Friday night.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for both races.

Cup – Coke Zero Sugar 400 (7 p.m. ET on Saturday on NBC)

There are 41 entries for the race. One car will not make the race.

Timothy Peters is entered in the No. 92 Ford owned by Ricky Benton Racing. It would be his second career Cup start.

Joey Gase is entered in StarCom Racing’s No. 00 Chevrolet. Landon Cassill is in the team’s No. 99 Chevrolet.

Brendan Gaughan is entered in Beard Motorsports’ No. 62 Chevrolet.

Ray Black Jr. is entered in Rick Ware Racing’s No. 51 Ford. It would be Black’s fourth career Cup start and his first this season.

JJ Yeley is listed in the No. 23 for BK Racing. Gray Gaulding had run every race for the team this season.

Last year Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won this race over Clint Bowyer and Paul Menard. In February, Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500 over Bubba Wallace and Denny Hamlin.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 (7:30 p.m. ET on Friday on NBCSN)

There are 41 cars entered for the race, meaning one team will not qualifying.

Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson are the only full-time Cup drivers entered.

Ryan Preece is entered in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota. Preece has not competed since his win at Bristol on April 14.

William Byron won this race last year over Elliott Sadler and Dakoda Armstrong. Tyler Reddick won at Daytona in February over Sadler in the closest finish in national NASCAR history.

Click here for the entry list.

Today’s Xfinity race at Iowa: Start time, lineup and more

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The NASCAR Xfinity Series enjoys the spotlight with the Cup Series off and no Cup drivers competing in today’s race at Iowa Speedway.

There’s a good chance of seeing a new winner for this season. Only three drivers who have won this year (Tyler Reddick at Daytona, Christopher Bell at Richmond and Justin Allgaier at Dover) are entered in today’s race.

Here are the details for today’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: Craig Abel will give the command to start engines at 5:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 5:14 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 250 laps (218.75 miles) around the 0.875-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 60. Stage 2 ends on Lap 120.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 11 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 2 p.m. Qualifying is at 2:35 p.m. Driver introductions are at 4:30 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Specialist Michelle Monroe from the Iowa National Guard 34th Army will perform the anthem at 5:01 p.m.

TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race beginning at 5 p.m. Coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 4:30 p.m. and also can be heard at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for mostly sunny skies with a high of 90 degrees and zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: William Byron won this race last June. Ryan Sieg was second. Tyler Reddick placed third. Ryan Preece won the July race. Kyle Benjamin was second. Brian Scott placed third.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the lineup.

Friday 5: How a few laps in March could impact the playoff race

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In a season that stretches from February to November, covers more than 13,000 miles and competes in 20 states, it often can be the moments easily overlooked that prove to be among the most important.

The race for points is becoming increasingly critical with only six winners — the fewest this deep into a season since 1996. If Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer continue to win (they’ve combined to win 13 of the first 15 races), that would mean several of the 16 playoff spots would be set by points.

If so, even the smallest moments could determine who makes the playoffs or how many playoff points, if any, a driver scores for finishing in the top 10 in the regular season, which ends Sept. 9 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Chase Elliott enters this off-weekend 14th in the playoff standings. He has a 31-point lead on what would be the final playoff position, held by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman.

Even with the dominance of Harvick, Busch, Truex and Bowyer, it seems likely there will be at least two different winners before the postseason, meaning Elliott will need to climb higher in the points — if he’s not one of those winners — to secure a playoff spot.

Recall that he’s already lost 45 points this season because of penalties at Phoenix and Texas this season.

Then look back at the middle of that Phoenix race in March.

Elliott was fourth and in position to score seven points in the second stage until a late caution. He scored none.

Things changed for Elliott when Chris Buescher hit the wall to bring out the caution on Lap 147. The second stage ended at Lap 150. NASCAR cleared the track in time to run one green-flag lap before the stage ended.

Elliott pitted during that caution with many of the leaders, who were focused on positioning themselves to win the race instead of scoring stage points.

Six cars did not pit. That included Kurt Busch, who was behind Elliott in fifth, and Brad Keselowski, who was sixth.

Elliott restarted outside the top 10 and didn’t make it up there for the end of the stage. So seven points he looked to be in position to gain were gone. Elliott went on to finish third in the race.

Busch won that stage to earn a playoff point but would finish 10th in the race. Keselowski went on to finish 15th after finishing second in that stage.

One who gained points at Phoenix was Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

He is four points out of what would be the final playoff spot at this moment.

Stenhouse was running 20th before the caution for Buescher’s incident. Stenhouse did not pit and lined up third for the one-lap run to end the stage. He finished third, gaining eight points that he wouldn’t have scored had Buescher’s accident not happened.

It can be simple decisions — pit or not — that can play a big factor in how the season goes for some teams. Lose too many points and one could miss the playoffs. Steal points and that could help a team be eligible for a run to the championship.

That’s why the end of the second stage at Michigan was critical for drivers such as Elliott and Stenhouse, who do not have a win and are battling for a playoff spot.

Had a winless driver remained on track through the caution — Kasey Kahne stayed out but then pitted the lap before the restart when it appeared that rain wouldn’t be arriving soon — then such a driver could have taken a playoff spot. It would have meant one less playoff spot based on points.

That Bowyer, who was already set in the playoffs with his Martinsville win, triumphed at Michigan allowed those racing for a playoff spot to breathe easier.

But with two road courses to go (Sonoma and Watkins Glen), a restrictor-plate race (Daytona) and possibly two races with the All-Star Race rules package (likely Michigan and Indianapolis) left in the regular season, there’s the chance that there could be some different winners taking playoff spots.

That would make the race for points even tighter and every decision more important.

2. Grassroots racing

With the Cup Series off this weekend, some drivers are taking the chance to race at local tracks.

Kyle Busch finished third to Brian Campbell in the Money in the Bank Super Late Model race Monday at Berlin (Michigan) Raceway.

Kyle Larson is set to run in six days of the nine-day Ohio Sprint Speedweek with the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions, the series owned by Tony Stewart.

Kasey Kahne also is scheduled to run a few of the Ohio Sprint Speedweek races.

Ohio Sprint Speedweek begins tonight at Attica Raceway Park. Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, hosts the second night of the series on Saturday. The series then goes to Waynesfield Raceway on Sunday night before continuing the following week.

3. A new winner?

The Xfinity Series has had 12 different winners in the first 13 races heading into Sunday’s event at Iowa Speedway.

This weekend’s race will have three drivers who have won this year — Tyler Reddick at Daytona, Christopher Bell at Richmond and Justin Allgaier at Dover.

Ryan Preece, who won at Bristol, is not entered. Spencer Gallagher, who won at Talladega, remains under indefinite suspension for violating NASCAR’s Substance Abuse Policy. The other winners in the series are full-time Cup drivers.

The odds are in favor or another new winner this weekend in the Xfinity Series.

Points leader Elliott Sadler seeks to snap a 52-race winless streak, dating back to Kentucky in September 2016. Cole Custer is second in the points, and goes for his first win since last year’s season finale in Miami. Daniel Hemric, who is third in the points, seeks his first career series wins. Sunday will be his 47th Xfinity start.

4. No Cup drivers

Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race and Sunday’s Xfinity Series event at Iowa Speedway both will not have any Cup drivers entered.

This will be the fifth Xfinity race without a full-time Cup driver in it. Full-time Cup drivers were barred from the fourth Dash 4 Cash races and Iowa will be run with all the Cup drivers taking the weekend off from NASCAR.

5. Last break until …

After this weekend, Cup teams will have only one weekend off the rest of the season. Cup teams will race 21 of the next 22 weekends. The lone weekend off will be Aug. 19, the weekend between Michigan (Aug. 12) and Bristol (Aug. 26). The season ends Nov. 18 in Miami.

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