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Jones , Sadler, Allgaier react to disappointing title loss
RELATED: Results " Chase Grid " End-of-season standings HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- The three championship-eligible drivers who didn't hoist the XFINITY Series trophy Saturday evening stood on Homestead-Miami Speedway 's pit road looking both perplexed and disappointed. A restart with three laps remaining bogged down the field and allowed Daniel Suarez to emerge from the front-running pack of contenders and race off to the win and his first NASCAR championship -- a first for a Latin American driver. RELATED: The road to a title " Community reacts to Suarez's win For that final restart Cole Whitt , who had run mid-pack all night, stayed off pit road to inherit the lead once the race returned to green. However, he spun his tires and was unable to accelerate, affecting Suarez's competition as they were lined up behind Whitt's struggling No. 14. "I'd love to hear an explanation from him and the crew chief," said Joe Gibbs Racing driver Erik Jones , who finished ninth after getting caught up behind Whitt. "It just didn't make any sense. Staying out there on old tires with the four championship guys right behind. I'd love to hear why he didn't go in the restart. There's a lot of questions I'd like to have answered." The other XFINITY Series championship-eligible drivers, Elliott Sadler (who finished third) and Justin Allgaier (who finished sixth), were similarly frustrated with the situation. For his part, Whitt told reporters in the XFINITY Series garage his team didn't have any more tires left to change and that he tried to move out of the way of the title contenders on the restart. "It's as simple as the fact that we just didn't have any tires," said Whitt, who finished 18th. "We didn't expect everybody to come in like that, and I was like, I knew this was going to be a handful. "I thought if I was on the outside I would have the most room for them to go underneath me if anything happened and I couldn't get going. With him (Sadler) hitting me, I couldn't get going and it was just making me spin the tires worse. Obviously if you could redo it, you would change the way you did it. It's not like we were out there to screw anybody over." RELATED: Sadler: 'It's heartbreaking' It was of little consolation to the three championship runners-up, who all were among the top six on the final restart. Suarez was behind Sadler on the older tires and able to get around quickly to take off for the flag. Both Jones and Allgaier were caught up behind Whitt's slower car. "The dejection of knowing the race came down to three laps. …" Allgaier said, after taking a few private moments to digest the outcome. WATCH: Allgaier upbeat despite loss "That call (by Whitt's team) may work at Daytona and Talladega or somewhere and put you in a good spot but tonight, with what was at stake with all four of us going to restart in the top-five … the battle for the championship was going to be epic. It's a shame. "Tonight doesn't define our season, though. These guys at JR Motorsports have done an amazing job all year long. To come down to this moment is so disappointing. We all held our heads really high that we were able to make the final four and to come into here with the great opportunity to fight for the championship." MORE: Whitt explains his side of things After having a few minutes to digest the situation, Sadler explained that the toughest part of the night was finishing as XFINITY Series championship runner-up for the third time in his career (2011 and 2012) after being ranked either first or second in the standings for all but one week this season. But he insisted he will leave South Florida more encouraged. "From (his team owners) Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) and Kelley (Earnhardt Miller) all the way down through everybody in the shop, they work their butts off to make sure we had a legitimate shot at holding up that trophy tonight, and that's what hurts the most is you don't know until the checkered flag if you're going to hold the trophy or not," Sadler said. "It's just part of this format, but it's great for the fans. I think it's great for our sport. It shows a lot of emotion and I think tonight's race played out the way it should be. But all four of us really raced hard with each other up front and Daniel just got the better of us tonight." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
HScott Motorsports won't compete in NASCAR in 2017
HScott Motorsports will not field teams for the 2017 season in NASCAR's premier series, according to a statement from the team. HSM fielded two full-time entries for 2015-16 in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, most recently with drivers Clint Bowyer in the team's No. 15 Chevrolet and Michael Annett in the No. 46 Chevrolet. Bowyer ended the '16 season 27th in points; Annett placed 36th. "Over the past several months I considered a number of options for moving forward with the team," Scott said in the statement. "Regrettably there are no viable sponsor/driver options immediately available to allow the team to participate in 2017." Bowyer, who joined the team before the start of the '16 season, was scheduled to remain with the team for only one season before moving to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017 to replace co-owner/driver Tony Stewart in that organization's No. 14 entry. Officials with Bowyer's sponsor, 5-hour Energy, announced earlier this year that the company would become the primary sponsor for Erik Jones and the No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota entry in '17. Last month, it was announced that Annett and his sponsor, Pilot Flying J, would move to JR Motorsports to compete in the NASCAR XFINITY Series next season. "One thing I have learned about NASCAR is that it is a 'people business,'" Scott said. "I will be forever grateful to the men and women who worked tirelessly to make HScott Motorsports successful. ... "I love this sport and being part of it. I invested in NASCAR because I truly believe it represents the best racing competition in the world and the best people in all sports." The organization's charter for its No. 15 team has been sold to Premium Motorsports, according to HSM. The No. 46 charter, which was originally leased from Premium, was returned to Premium, which in turn has sold it to Furniture Row Racing . Charter teams are guaranteed starting positions in NASCAR premier series points races. HScott Motorsports came into being after Scott purchased the former Phoenix Racing team from owner James Finch. The organization was originally located in Spartanburg, S.C., but moved to Mooresville, N.C., before the start of the '16 season. "Looking back, I will always be especially proud of the unprecedented success of our NASCAR K&N Series teams, including four consecutive championships, and for the lifelong friendships that were forged over the last seven years," Scott said. Seven drivers combined for 189 starts at HSM; Bowyer managed three of the organization's four career top 10s this past season. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Jones : 'I thought the 14 would at least attempt to go'
Erik Jones talks about the final restart, which ultimately hindered him from winning the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Jones : 'I think you gotta go for it'
Erik Jones talks during the Championship 4 Media Day about racing against his teammate for the XFINITY Series title and when a teammate turns into just another competitor.
Daniel Suarez returns home to Mexico a champion
RELATED: ENTRY LIST " SCHEDULE Fresh off his 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship, Daniel Suarez will make his highly anticipated return to Mexico this weekend in the very place his NASCAR career began -- the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series. The Monterrey native will serve as honorary grand marshal for the series’ exhibition race Sunday at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City, site of Suarez’s first NASCAR Peak Mexico Series win in 2012. After a year’s hiatus, Mexico’s national stock car championship series will be back on track in 2017 with a full race schedule. The series will celebrate its 10th season with its first year of a multi-year agreement with PEAK as its entitlement sponsor. To get ramped up for the return, the series will compete this weekend in the country’s capital. Nearly 30 drivers have registered for the event, which will be run in two 70-lap segments. Each segment will include a 50-minute time limit. Teams will be allowed to make adjustments in the intermission, and the top 10 positions will be inverted for the second segment. Practice and qualifying will be Saturday. The race is slated to include past champions Abraham Calderón (2014), Rodrigo Peralta (2013), Jorge Goeters (2005, 2012) and Rafael Martinez (2007). Martinez was the first Mexico Series champion under the NASCAR banner. Suarez finished third in the championship in 2012, and was runner-up in 2013 -- missing out on the title by just eight points. Suarez was part of the inaugural NASCAR Next class in 2011, the industry initiative that spotlights the sport’s rising young stars. Three of Suarez’s 10 series wins took place at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, which was named after legendary Formula One driver and one of the earliest Hispanic NASCAR drivers, Pedro Rodriguez. Suarez also notched 25 top-five finishes in 58 races over his four seasons competing in the Mexico Series. He moved up to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, where he won three times driving for Rev Racing and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program. On November 19, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver became the sport’s first foreign-born national series champion, beating out Elliott Sadler , Justin Allgaier and Erik Jones in the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase by virtue of his victory in the series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway .
Erik Jones holds off Larson to win at Chicagoland
RELATED: Complete race results " Series standings " Chase Grid JOLIET, Ill. – Kyle Busch opened the door, and that was all the invitation Erik Jones needed. When Busch, the polesitter for Saturday's Drive for Safety 300 at Chicagoland Speedway , spun with a tire down while leading on Lap 182 of 200, Jones took full advantage of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate's misfortune. The driver of the No. 20 JGR Toyota restarted sixth on Lap 187 after Busch brought out the eighth caution of the afternoon and quickly closed the gap on Elliott Sadler , who restarted second and grabbed the lead from JR Motorsports teammate Clint Bowyer , who had stayed out on old tires like Sadler. Jones caught and passed Sadler on Lap 192. Race runner-up Kyle Larson followed four laps later but couldn't catch Jones before the finish. In the final four laps, Jones moved up the track to take Larson's preferred racing line and crossed the finish line .392 seconds ahead of Larson, who brushed the outside wall on the final lap while trying to close in on the race winner. "It was tough," said Jones , who won for the second time at the 1.5-mile track and the fourth time in his rookie year. "I knew we were in a good spot on tires, but we pretty far back – think we restarted sixth there. "I didn't know if my Hisense Camry was going to have enough time to get back up to the front, but we had a really good restart and got clear to third and then just had to go chase Elliott down. It was a matter of time before we got around him. What an awesome day!" With four victories this season, Jones enters the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase as the No. 1 seed heading to the Chase opener next Saturday at Kentucky Speedway . "It's a lot of momentum," Jones said. "I wish this was our first round right here. We'll go into Kentucky definitely with a full head of steam and are due for another win there. Our mile-and-a-half program is great – it's been great all year. "To finally get a first mile-and-a-half win of the year – just looking forward to getting to Kentucky next weekend and try to chase down another one." Saturday's event finalized the 12-driver Chase field, as Blake Koch and Ryan Sieg clinched the final two spots with finishes of 15th and 12th, respectively. The full Chase field, in order of seeding, consists of Erik Jones , Sadler, Daniel Suarez , Ty Dillon , Justin Allgaier , Darrell Wallace Jr ., Brendan Gaughan , Brennan Poole , Sieg, Ryan Reed , Brandon Jones and Koch. Sadler finished third on Saturday, followed by Suarez and Allgaier. Larson recovered from a pit road speeding penalty to record his eighth top-five finish in 12 starts this year. "I knew I could get the top (lane) going, but I knew when I got the top going, Erik would move up just when I got to him," Larson said. "He did, and I tried to carry a lot of throttle off of (Turn) 2 and maybe get a run on him, but I got into the wall." Busch led 154 laps and recovered from his spin to finish 13th. All told, 11 different drivers led at least one lap, including the top eight drivers in the finishing order. &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
JGR's Chris Gayle to serve as Erik Jones' 2017 Sprint Cup crew chief
Furniture Row Racing announced Thursday it has hired Chris Gayle as crew chief for the team's 2017 rookie contender, driver Erik Jones . Gayle, 40, comes to the FRR from fellow Toyota team, Joe Gibbs Racing where he worked 14 years as an engineer and ultimately an XFINITY Series crew chief since 2013 -- collecting 17 wins with three different drivers. "We are thrilled to have Chris join our team and work with Erik ( Jones ) next season," Furniture Row Racing President Joe Garone said. "His crew chief record in the XFINITY Series has been impressive, but more importantly his record proves that he knows what it takes to win a race. It's a great fit with Chris coming from Joe Gibbs Racing with whom we have a technical alliance. This hire has all the makings of a seamless transition for Chris since he has already worked with Erik and has a thorough understanding of the Toyota affiliation." The timing of the promotion seems especially right as nine of Gayle's 17 wins in the XFINITY Series have come this season -- seven by Kyle Busch and one each by Denny Hamlin and Sam Hornish Jr . The new team will be paired up with veteran FRR driver Martin Truex Jr ., who has qualified for the Sprint Cup Series Chase with two wins this season -- including last week’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway . "I watched Furniture Row Racing from afar and have been impressed with the success they have had with Martin (Truex Jr.) in the No. 78 Toyota," Gayle said. "This is a great opportunity to join a first-class team led by owner Barney Visser, who is deeply committed to provide the necessary resources to be successful in the Cup series." Jones , 20, who leads the XFINITY Series with three wins this year, was understandably enthusiastic about the news, having worked successfully with Gayle before. "I am not only excited to have Chris as my crew chief, but also excited for Chris in a career move that he deserves," Jones said. "I have worked with Chris and we have a mutual respect for each other. I feel we have an opportunity to have a good year together, and at the same time, build a team from the ground up. "Chris has had tremendous success in the XFINITY Series and has shown time after time how to win races. We can't wait to make our debut in Daytona with the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota."
Erik Jones holds off Larson for Windy City win
Erik Jones makes a late-race pass on Elliott Salder for the lead and holds off a charging Kyle Larson to win at Chicagoland Speedway.
Erik Jones' father dies after battle with cancer
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Dave Jones , father of NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Erik Jones , passed away Tuesday following a brief battle with cancer. He was 53. Jones' death was acknowledged just before the Menard's 250 XFINITY Series race here at Michigan International Speedway was preparing to get underway. Erik Jones , driver of the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing , started second and finished fourth in the race, leading 18 laps. On pit road prior to the start of the event, he replaced his own name over the driver's-side window with that of his father. He also posted a Tweet confirming his father's passing. To confirm - my father did pass away on Tuesday. Take it to the limit Papa Bear pic.twitter.com/IsCybrHWH4 — Erik Jones (@erik_jones) June 11, 2016 Jones was brief in a post-race interview with FOX Sports 1 after the 250-mile event. "I wish he could be here, but it was a good day overall for us," Jones said. "We miss him a lot, but thank you. I appreciate it." Race winner Daniel Suarez , a teammate of Jones' at JGR, dedicated the win to the Jones family in Victory Lane. Erik Jones won the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports and began competing full-time in the XFINITY Series this season for JGR. Following an emotional phone call in Victory Lane after winning at Bristol Motor Speedway earlier this year, the younger Jones broke the news of his father's illness. "Not to bring the mood down, but I was actually talking to my parents," he said during his winner's press conference. "My dad, I figure we need to announce it at some time, but he got diagnosed with cancer about a month ago. He's going through treatment now and he's missed the last few weeks. Just on the phone with him and my mom. "Just pretty emotional. It was the first race I've won that they haven't been here for and hard to hold the emotions back for that one." RELATED: Jones' emotional Victory Lane phone call Erik Jones , 20 and a native of Byron, Michigan, has three career Sprint Cup Series starts. He has four victories in 39 career XFINITY Series starts and seven wins in the Truck Series. Dave Jones was co-owner of Paragon Corvette Reproductions, a Swartz Creek, Michigan parts and restoration company. The green flag is out in Michigan. We're racing in memory of Erik's father Dave Jones today. #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/4h8FdRtJ9J — Joe Gibbs Racing (@JoeGibbsRacing) June 11, 2016
Furniture Row adds Erik Jones to growing team
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Furniture Row Racing formally introduced young NASCAR star Erik Jones as driver of a second Sprint Cup Series car the team will field in 2017. Jones , 20, spoke with reporters at Watkins Glen International on Sunday morning before the Cheez-It 355 (2:30 p.m. ET, USA, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Jones will drive the No. 77 Toyota with sponsorship from 5-hour Energy, and the car was unveiled in the Watkins Glen infield. First look at @erik_jones with the @5hourenergy 77 Toyota Camry! #FurnitureRow #NASCAR #ToyotaNation pic.twitter.com/i8v5Xpc6xV — Furniture Row Racing (@FR78Racing) August 7, 2016 "It's hard to say I'm not excited, but anxious at the same time," Jones said. "Anxious for this day, and excited to be here,. It's pretty cool for me to be partnered up with Furniture Row and be part of them growing and part of 5‑hour, too. To have such a big company like that be partnered with me is pretty cool this early in my racing career and something I've always wanted. Just a good fit all around. "I've had the chance to kind of meet with everybody, get everything lined up, to see it all come together here over the past month or so has been a pretty cool experience for me. Got a lot to do this year yet, but definitely excited for next year." Team owner Barney Visser said that Jones' contract is for one year, and that the team is actively pursuing a Charter for 2017. MORE: Fast facts on Charter system The reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, Jones is currently fourth in the XFINITY Series points standings with three victories. He sits first in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase Grid. He has three previous Cup starts -- all in Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas. He filled in one race (Kansas) for an injured Kyle Busch in 2015 and then substituted for a suspended Matt Kenseth at both Texas and Phoenix later in the season. He scored a career best 12th place in Kenseth's No. 20 Toyota at Texas. "I think a day like today, you have to put in perspective," said Toyota Racing Development's General Manager David Wilson. "Think about this. It was less than four years ago that Erik Jones , famously now, beat Kyle Busch in the Snowball Derby super late model race. Last year Erik won his first NASCAR championship with Kyle Busch Motorsports. This year obviously Erik is fighting for an XFINITY Series championship with Joe Gibbs Racing. "So next year for him to ascend to the Cup Series with Furniture Row Racing is a spectacular story. Three different teams in three consecutive years. Toyota is the fortunate and grateful common denominator in that equation." Wilson said he expected Jones to begin sitting in at Toyota Sprint Cup racing briefings this year while the young driver continues to race for the XFINITY Series title. It was a big weekend of news for the Denver-based Furniture Row Racing. The team announced Friday it had re-signed its current driver Martin Truex Jr. to an additional two-year contract that will cover 2018-2019 seasons. Truex advanced to the four-driver championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway last season, finishing fourth in the final standings. He had a dominating victory from the pole position at Charlotte Motor Speedway this year for the Coca-Cola 600 -- leading 392 of 400 laps -- and is currently ranked eighth in the standings as he prepares for a second championship run. "Obviously they've been working on it for quite a while," Truex said. "I think for us, and the long-term future of our company it's a good thing. It's stability. It's more people, more money coming in. You could probably race two cars cheaper than one as far as per car. Bringing in more sponsorship will help. "I think short term it might be a little more challenging. Our shop isn't real big, not a lot of space. We need to make sure when bringing in more people it doesn't upset the chemistry we've got going on. But Joe (Garone) and (Truex's crew chief) Cole (Pearn) and those guys will make sure they have people who fit into their system and way they do things and won’t upset the apple cart, so to speak. "From Toyota side and JGR side, obviously it's really good for that relationship and anything we can do to keep that going, make that stronger, build that through is going to be good."