Phoenix Truck results: Zane Smith wins championship

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AVONDALE, Ariz. – Zane Smith, the title runner-up the past two years, charged to the lead on an overtime restart and held off reigning series champion Ben Rhodes to win Friday’s Camping World Truck Series race and claim the series crown at Phoenix Raceway.

“Third time is a charm,” the 23-year-old Zane Smith told FS1 after his fourth win of the season.

“For so long I’ve wanted this moment.”

Rhodes finished second. Chandler Smith placed third. Ty Majeski was 20th after crashing in the final laps.

MORE: Phoenix Truck race results

MORE: Truck Series points after Phoenix

The race changed when Hailie Deegan brought out the caution for a crash with 16 laps to go. That sent the field to pit road. Zane Smith led but was 10th after his pit stop. Two trucks did not pit and four trucks took only two tires, including Rhodes.

The race went to overtime when Majeski crashed while battling Zane Smith for second place four laps from the scheduled distance. Majeski was on the left rear of Zane Smith’s truck but lost control and slid across the track on the backstretch and hit the inside SAFER barrier.

Zane Smith started on the inside of the second row for the final restart and slipped past Rhodes. Coming to the checkered flag, Rhodes bumped Zane Smith but couldn’t move him.

“That was just the story of two vs. four (tires),” said Rhodes, who liked the pit call to take only two tires and gain track position. “I couldn’t get the jump I needed on the green. I didn’t have the grip… It was extremely hard to hold them off.”

Stage 1 winner: Zane Smith

Stage 2 winner: Zane Smith

Who had a good race: Kaden Honeycutt, making his ninth series start, finished a career-high ninth. … Tanner Gray finished eighth, only his second top 10 in the last 13 races. John Hunter Nemechek‘s fourth-place finish snapped a streak of three consecutive races without a top 10.

Who had a bad race: Hailie Deegan’s late crash left her with a 31st-place finish. It is the seventh time in the last eight races she has failed to score a top 10. … Christian Eckes finished 30th, snapping a streak of five consecutive top-10 finishes.

Next: The season is done. The series resumes Feb. 17, 2023 at Daytona International Speedway.

Hailie Deegan’s Xfinity debut leaves her ‘super happy’

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LAS VEGAS — Hailie Deegan accomplished her goal and set a NASCAR mark Saturday in her Xfinity Series debut.

Deegan’s 13th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the best finish by a woman driver in an Xfinity debut.

“We were able to have a pretty fun day, a pretty clean day and super happy,” she said.

MORE: Josh Berry wins Las Vegas Xfinity race

The 21-year-old Deegan said the day before that she wanted to stay on the lead lap and grow more comfortable as the race progressed.

“I’d say that once we really got into that second stage to third stage, that’s when I started feeling a lot better about it,” she said. “We made one change that wasn’t great and put us back a little bit. I think that once we were able to overcome that … I feel that’s when we started learning a lot. 

“Definitely third stage we fired off too free. I was able to notice that and make my in-car adjustments.”

Deegan, who is in her second year in the Camping World Truck Series, said she felt she could have more input with the Xfinity car compared to a truck. 

As for the biggest lesson she learned Saturday?

“I learned so much that I haven’t got it processed yet … but I’m just happy we were able to have a good run,” she said. 

Deegan has had limited success this season in the Truck Series. Could a move to the Xfinity Series lead to better results? Deegan said her group is looking into making such a move but needs sponsorship. She said Saturday’s race is the only Xfinity race she is planning to run this year.

“When you run great, it helps deals for the future,” Deegan said. “Running Xfinity costs a very big bill. You’ve got to have sponsors to pay that bill. Trying to get the funding set is definitely tough, but we’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing.

“I wish I had answers for you guys. I want answers myself. At the end of the day, the more sponsors the better. We’re still trying to work on getting more on board. We don’t know when it’s going to be. It could be next year. It could be two years. I don’t know.”

Josh Berry wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas

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Josh Berry gained strength over the last half of the race and won Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, giving JR Motorsports a 1-2-3 finish.

One of four JR Motorsports drivers in the Xfinity playoffs, Berry advanced to next month’s championship race at Phoenix Raceway.

Following Berry in the top five were Noah Gragson, Justin Allgaier, Ty Gibbs and Trevor Bayne. Hailie Deegan finished 13th in her Xfinity Series debut. It is the best finish by a female driver in their first Xfinity race.

MORE: Las Vegas Xfinity results

MORE: Las Vegas Xfinity driver points

Allgaier hit the Turn 4 wall on the next-to-last lap. Both he and Gragson appeared to have cars fast enough to challenge Berry, but neither was able to move into position to race for the lead.

Gragson, Gibbs and Allgaier make up the rest of the top four — after Berry — in the playoff standings. Below the cutline with two races left in the Round of 8 are Austin Hill, AJ Allmendinger, Brandon Jones and Sam Mayer.

Much of Saturday’s race was fairly calm, but business picked up considerably in the final 35 laps.

Berry bounced off the outside wall with 32 laps to go while racing Allgaier and Allmendinger for the lead. Despite the contact, Berry stayed in front.

Allmendinger, the series’ regular season champion, pitted while running fourth with 25 laps to go because the right-side wheels on his car were loose. He was the only playoff driver to finish outside the top nine, coming home 22nd. Allmendinger entered the race with two straight wins.

Stage 1 winner: Ty Gibbs

Stage 2 winner: Noah Gragson

Who had a good race: Josh Berry was virtually invincible over the last portion of the race, winning for the third time this year and locking in a spot in the championship finale at Phoenix. … Noah Gragson led a race-high 87 laps and ran near the wall most of the afternoon with power. … Hailie Deegan, making her Xfinity debut, finished 13th on the lead lap.

Who had a bad race: AJ Allmendinger had won two straight entering Las Vegas but fell out of the lead pack when he pitted late with wheel issues. He finished 22nd, far behind the other playoff contenders. … Sheldon Creed lasted only 52 laps before departing with engine issues.

Notable: JR Motorsports has announced this year that Justin Allgaier, Sam Mayer and Brandon Jones will drive for the team next season. There has been no announcement about Josh Berry’s future with the team. After his win, Berry said: “Stay tuned. … I feel good.”

Next: The Xfinity Series playoffs move on to Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 22 for a 4:30 p.m. ET (USA Network) race.

 

Hailie Deegan focused on goals in Xfinity debut

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LAS VEGAS — Even with all her preparation, Hailie Deegan admitted to some nerves before she climbed into the No. 07 Ford on Friday for SS Green Light Racing with Jeff Lefcourt to mark her Xfinity Series debut. 

Deegan, who spent more than a dozen hours on a simulator as part of her preparation, qualified 20th for Saturday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (3 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock)

MORE: Xfinity starting lineup – AJ Allmendinger wins pole

“I did everything I possibly could, but there was still a part of me that was nervous because things can always go wrong,” Deegan told NBC Sports. “You could run over a little debris and next thing you know you’ve got a flat and you’re in the fence and you have to go to a backup. 

“There’s a lot of things that still can wrong even though you’re fully prepared. I think just taking it as it goes. We made it through the first day. That’s all that matters.”

Deegan is in her second full season in the Camping World Truck Series, but is running this Xfinity race since the Trucks are off this weekend. 

“This whole year I’ve been working to try to do an Xfinity race, just to be able to see how it is, see that other level,” said Deegan, who also has former Cup driver David Ragan helping her this weekend. “When you’re in the level that you’re at, like Trucks, you get so wrapped up in it, it’s always nice to see what the next level could look like.

“Also when you do a race in the Xfinity when you’re moving up, almost like in any sport, you’re going to have certain strengths and certain weaknesses because things are changing, the car is changing. I think to be able to see the things like’ OK if I move up to Xfinity this is something that I’d have to work on. ‘

“I think just being able to experience the whole thing and see the competition level of the other drivers, there’s just a lot that goes into it.”

Deegan is the third female to compete in the Xfinity Series this season. Natalie Decker has run three races this season (Martinsville, Nashville and Atlanta), and Julia Landauer ran at New Hampshire in July.

As for her goals for Saturday’s race, Deegan has a couple.

“Our goal for the first stage is to stay on the lead lap, find what I like, what changes we need with the car because I’ve never done a long run to be able to know how they transition over a run,” Deegan said. “Just really go after it the second stage but also be there, avoid the carnage. Hopefully, there is none and we have a clean race.”

Las Vegas Xfinity starting lineup: AJ Allmendinger wins pole

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LAS VEGAS – AJ Allmendinger‘s hot streak continued, winning the pole for Saturday’s Round of 8 Xfinity playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Allmendinger, who has won the past two races, took the pole with a lap of 181.720 mph Friday night. Trevor Bayne joins him on the front row after a lap of 181.641 mph. Ty Gibbs (181.208 mph), Noah Gragson (181.208) and Sam Mayer (180.475) completed the top five.

MORE: Las Vegas Xfinity starting lineup

Josh Berry is the lowest of the eight remaining playoff drivers. He qualified 12th after a lap of 178.341 mph.

Hailie Deegan will start 20th in her Xfinity Series debut.

Saturday’s race is at 3 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.