- Did you mean:
Post-Race Reactions: Ford EcoBoost 300
Runner-up Kasey Kahne and other discuss a calm, but exciting race in Bristol.
Kyle Busch wins XFINITY pole at Homestead
RELATED: Full race lineup Weather played a role in Saturday's XFINITY Series qualifying at Homestead-Miami Speedway , canceling the final round and handing the pole to second round leader Kyle Busch . The Joe Gibbs Racing driver wheeled his No. 54 Toyota at 168.140 mph to earn his fifth pole of the season. The middle round of qualifying became a race against weather for drivers, as rain drops decorated the windshields toward the end of the session. Qualifying was ultimately called at the end of the second session. Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate and Busch's JGR teammate Daniel Suarez earned the outside pole position, piloting his No. 18 Toyota at 168.046 mph for the front row spot. Richard Childress Racing 's Austin Dillon (167.266 mph) and Brian Scott (167.219 mph) earned the third and fourth starting spots, respectively. Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five with a fast lap of 167.110 mph in his No. 22 Ford . Points leader and title contender Chris Buescher earned an 11th -place starting position, while fellow championship-contending driver Chase Elliott qualified 13th. The XFINITY Series is back on track for the Ford EcoBoost 300 (2:45 p.m. ET, NBC/Live Extra/MRN/SiriusXM).
Elliott, Dillon, Regan fall short in pursuit for title
RELATED: Full results " Final standings HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Three contenders with outside chances at winning the season-long NASCAR XFINITY Series fight had their brush with taking the trophy away from eventual champ Chris Buescher . Unfortunately, the trio had another brush -- with the Homestead-Miami Speedway wall during Saturday's season finale. The latter brushes aside, title hopefuls Ty Dillon , Chase Elliott and Regan Smith finished seventh, eighth and ninth respectfully, coming up short in the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 300 . The results -- combined with Buescher's 11th-place effort Saturday -- left Elliott second (15 points back), Dillon third (-18) and Smith fourth (-22) in the final standings. All three emerged from scraped Chevrolets with wishes of what might've been. Elliott came closest, but was unable to take a repeat XFINITY championship with him as he moves to the Sprint Cup Series next year as Jeff Gordon 's replacement with Hendrick Motorsports . Elliott ranked either second or third for the majority of the season, closing the year with seven consecutive top-10 finishes. The 19-year-old notched one win (in September at Richmond), but said those opportunities were fleeting over the course of the 33-race season. "Yeah, chalk it up to we got beat and didn't win enough races. That's the bottom line," said Elliott, who won three times as a championship-winning rookie in 2014. "… The most important thing in this sport is being able to win and give yourself chances to win a race every weekend. We race from February to November, and we didn't give ourselves enough chances. I didn't do a good enough job to put ourselves in position to go and try to win races. "That's the most important thing, and like I said, that's what I chalk it up to is just not being in contention enough." Dillon led the standings for the majority of the spring and soldiered ahead after a midseason crew chief change. His biggest lament came in October at Dover International Speedway , where a blown tire and slap of the outside wall with his Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet left him with a costly 28th-place finish. Dillon righted the ship slightly, closing out the year with five straight top-10 finishes to take third place away from Smith down the stretch. "It's a good year," Dillon said. "It's always a good thing to be disappointed with not winning the championship but having an opportunity, I feel like. Just proud of my guys' effort. We really turned it around the second half of the year and were a championship team. If Dover wouldn't have happened, there's always ifs and buts, but if Dover wouldn't have happened, we would've probably would've won this championship by about 15 points. So, I'm proud of what we did in the second half. … "We'll be back next year and we won't be sitting here third in points. Hopefully, we'll be lifting that trophy." Smith had the best closing kick of the four title hopefuls, coming in the face of job uncertainty as his three-year tenure at JR Motorsports drew to a close. The 32-year-old veteran won twice, with his first victory of the season at Mid-Ohio touching off a streak of 13 consecutive top-10 finishes to round out the year. The steady streak didn't unseat any of the three drivers ahead of him, but Smith said he hoped it was enough to draw interest from a prospective team owner for 2016. "I'm glad we were in the conversation," Smith said of his title campaign. "There's a couple points in the air that probably shouldn't have been and probably really weren't just because of common mistakes or other people's mistakes on the race track. So that's good. I'm frustrated today. I guess that's the only thing you focus on is how your night went tonight and we really struggled. … "We'll see how things play out for next year. I know what I'm capable of in a race car and I've still got some championships left in me, and we need to go get one."
Nationwide Series pit stall assignments
See where drivers will pit for the Ford EcoBoost 300 (4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2) RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today The NASCAR Nationwide Series pit stall assignments are out for Saturday's Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Coors Light Pole Award winner Brad Keselowski chose the first pit stall off pit road with an empty space in front of him for an easy departure. Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney , Kyle Busch and Brendan Gaughan also have open stalls in front of them. Chase Elliott, who clinched the 2014 series title last week, chose the first pit stall onto pit road for an easy entrance. The Nationwide Series will take the track at 4:30 p.m. ET with TV coverage on ESPN2. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Subpar result can't ruin Chase's championship night
Rookie locked up title in Phoenix last weekend; coronation came in Florida MORE: Chase Elliott's championship timeline HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- It wasn't the way Chase Elliott had hoped to end the 2014 season. But with the NASCAR Nationwide Series title already in hand, Saturday night's 17th-place finish in the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway stung only so much. "Definitely disappointed. It's my fault for sure," Elliott said long after being presented the 2014 championship trophy from NASCAR President Mike Helton. "We could have come home with a top-five (finish), maybe even a top-four. "Had I not put it in the fence there, on the race track and during my (celebratory) burnout, then it would have been a pretty good night." A rash of cautions during the second half of the scheduled 200-lap race and a gamble to stay out under yellow on one occasion didn't knock the JR Motorsports driver out of contention. But contact with the wall with less than 10 laps remaining proved to be a bit more difficult to overcome. "Lack of a driver there at the end," said Elliott, who had wrapped up the series championship a week earlier with a fifth-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway . "We had a really fast car tonight and we tried to do something different. It only takes one thing -- if that run goes green, then we are in a great position and everybody else is in a bad spot. When you're one of the only people on pit road that can work one of two ways, and unfortunately it didn't go our way. So we had to bite the bullet and stay out there toward the end on tires. "Lost a lot of track position, finally got back on equal tires and … drove back up to fight with Kyle (Busch) for fifth." NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Matt Kenseth won the season-ending race, with Busch and Kyle Larson taking second and third. Ryan Blaney and Chris Buescher completed the top five. JRM teammate Regan Smith , Elliott's chief competition for the title down the stretch, finished sixth in the race and second in points. With the last race run, he finished 42 points behind the Dawsonville, Georgia, native. Joe Gibbs Racing driver Elliott Sadler (-59) finished third in points while Richard Childress Racing drivers Brian Scott (-59) and fellow rookie Ty Dillon (-65) rounded out the top five in the final standings. The son of 1988 NASCAR premier series champion Bill Elliott , the 18-year-old Elliott became the first driver in a national NASCAR series to win the championship as well as rookie of the year honors in the same season. "We had a solid night," crew chief Greg Ives said. "We didn't finish where we wanted to. … When Chase gets back to 25th, 28th, whatever, that I put him there on those pit stops, it's an opportunity for him to grow and learn, and part of it is just keeping it together through the whole race. "That's a mental challenge on his part, mental challenge on the whole team's part, to make that happen. I couldn't be more proud of what he was able to do, to drive it back to contending for a top-five. … He's going to give it all he's got." It was the first owners' championship for JRM, owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Kelley Earnhardt Miller and Rick Hendrick. JRM and Hendrick combined resources in 2008, with the goal of the collaborative effort being to groom talent and help employees progress up the ladder. "Dale and I talked about it … how we could use the company to grow young people, and Dale has always liked to give young drivers a chance, and I've always admired him for that," said Hendrick, owner of the Sprint Cup organization for which Earnhardt Jr. drives. "I've known these two since they were kids, and we've raced together, we've been together, and to see them get the championship really is rewarding to me inside. "To see Chase -- I said I wasn't going to do any more driver development, and then signed him when he was like 15, and boy, he's been unbelievable." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Preece eyes XFINITY Series as 2015 plans take shape
NASCAR Next driver hoping to get more seat time in XFINITY Series Ryan Preece came up just shy in his pursuit of a second consecutive NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship this year, but his strong closing kick may translate to bigger things as he prepares for an offseason of transition. Preece locked down his third runner-up finish in the last six seasons this year, completing a three-year run in team owner Eric Sanderson's No. 16 with back-to-back victories in the tour's final two races of the year. One day after the dust settled on the season, Preece announced he'd join car owner Eddie Partridge's No. 6 team full-time in the northern-based series in 2015 With the track championship from Thompson Speedway in his home state of Connecticut in hand, the NASCAR Next driver extended his hot streak by winning the non-points North-South Shootout at Caraway Speedway in North Carolina, making his first start for Partridge. But before he continues his career in the ground-pounders from NASCAR's oldest division, he's still getting his feet wet on the national-series stage. "It was really good," Preece said of his season over the weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "To end it with the 16 and then start it with the 6, it started really well. Obviously I hope we carry momentum into next year with the Modified stuff, but this is definitely something different here." Something different came in the form of his third career start in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in last Saturday's Ford EcoBoost 300 . Though Preece started 33rd and finished 28th in the scrappy Tommy Baldwin Racing No. 36, he emerged with a lead-lap finish in his first Nationwide start outside of New Hampshire Motor Speedway . The race marked Preece's first start on a track that size, all in a series -- which will be called the XFINITY Series starting in 2015 -- that the 24-year-old driver hopes to spend more time in next year. His Modified schedule is set, but Preece said he has "some other stuff in the works" as his complete plans for 2015 take shape. Until then, he's been reaping the benefits of participating in the NASCAR Next youth initiative for the second straight year. While Preece enjoyed the exposure from championship weekend festivities in the Miami area, he said he's eager to get back on track to keep the good vibes of 2014 going. "They bring me different places, they've put me in front of certain people," Preece said, "and now it's just up to me to get seat time and get out there." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Scott Lagasse Jr. teams with RCR for Homestead
Veteran will drive No. 33 Chevrolet in season finale RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Richard Childress Racing announced Wednesday that it has signed second-generation driver Scott Lagasse Jr . to NASCAR Nationwide Series duty for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Lagasse, scheduled to make just his third Nationwide start of the year, will drive the team's No. 33 Chevrolet in the Nov. 15 Ford EcoBoost 300 (4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2). "I'm honored for the opportunity to drive the RCR No. 33 Chevrolet," Lagasse said. "Mr. Childress runs a first-class organization, from his team all the way down to the equipment he provides for them." Nick Harrison will serve as crew chief for the No. 33 effort, which will carry sponsorship from the Florida Department of Transportation's "Alert Today Alive Tomorrow" program and the Boy Scouts of America. The car has run on a part-time basis alongside Childress' three full-time teams, fielded for drivers Ty Dillon , Brendan Gaughan and Brian Scott . Rookie Cale Conley has driven the No. 33 in 11 races, Paul Menard in seven (including a victory at Michigan in June), and defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton in one. The 33-year-old St. Augustine, Florida native is the son of former racer Scott Lagasse, who enjoyed his most successful stint in NASCAR as a full-time competitor in the truck series' inaugural season in 1995. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
The Band Perry to perform before championship race at Miami
MIAMI -- In 2015, NASCAR witnessed one of the most remarkable comebacks in the sports' history, as Kyle Busch collected his first career Sprint Cup Series championship by emerging victorious in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Regardless of which of the 16 Chase drivers are part of the Championship 4 at the 2016 Ford EcoBoost 400 on Sunday, November 20, there is guaranteed to be another comeback completed that day. Hot off the release of their new single "Comeback Kid," Grammy® Award-winning superstar sibling trio -- The Band Perry -- will make a special live performance prior to this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship race. The Band Perry will be featured in Homestead-Miami Speedway 's pre-race show, which airs on Countdown to Green on NBC that Sunday. The Ford EcoBoost 400 championship race, which is televised in 185 countries and territories, will be broadcast on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio at 2:30 p.m. ET. The Band Perry, which consists of siblings Kimberly Perry, Neil Perry and Reid Perry, are an unstoppable presence in music. The trio has released two studio albums, The Band Perry (2010) and Pioneer (2013). Their first album went certified platinum and included the sextuple-platinum chart-topper, "If I Die Young," the platinum-selling "You Lie" and "All Your Life" (a No. 1 single). Their second album Pioneer was certified gold and also featured two No. 1 singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart with the song "Better Dig Two" and "DONE", a first No. 1 for brothers Reid and Neil as songwriters. In February 2015, The Band Perry won their first Grammy®Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance and have also earned multiple awards from the likes of The Country Music Association, CMT Music Awards, the American Country Awards and the Academy of Country Music. Recently named ambassadors for Teen Cancer America (a charity founded by The Who's Roger Daltrey), The Band Perry recently launched a million-dollar fundraising campaign with the nonprofit to benefit Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Monroe Carrell Jr. Children's Hospital to expand the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer program in Nashville. They are currently putting the finishing touches on their third studio album. "We are thrilled to have The Band Perry performing in what will be an exciting day at Homestead-Miami Speedway , which will be capped off with the Ford EcoBoost 400 championship race on Sunday," said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Matthew Becherer. "The Band Perry has become a household name in country music, and having them kick off the Sprint Cup Series championship race with a pre-race concert will be an electrifying experience for NASCAR and all of our fans. We can’t wait to see the show they put on in November." Tickets for 2016 Ford Championship Weekend, which will be held November 18-20, are now available and can be purchased by calling (866) 409-RACE (7223) or visiting www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com .
Brian Scott's racing future remains uncertain
RELATED: Race results " 2015 final standings HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Brian Scott stood beside his car on pit road at Homestead-Miami Speedway satisfied but not thrilled. And somewhat emotional. Scott finished fourth in his No. 2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet and made a respectable run to be up front in the waning laps of Saturday's Ford EcoBoost 300 season finale only to finish fourth -- behind two Sprint Cup regulars. Scott is confident he can win these races and is not satisfied with top-five finishes. The most immediate big issue is "if" he will take another fulltime shot in these ranks next year. "Just trying to get all the horsepower I could out of this Chevy Camaro,'' Scott said after the race. "I needed every trick that we had to beat those guys. I was just trying really hard on those restarts to get clean air and see if I could block. The right car won the race. The four-two (No. 42 of Kyle Larson ) was unbelievably fast. "We're disappointed and obviously not where we should have been in the points. We decided after a couple mechanical failures and some wrecks of my doing that we weren't going to win the championship so we wanted to win races. That hurt our consistency but we've led a lot of laps at different tracks and qualified up front consistently. Those are things I’m really proud of. I'm kind of sad it's all over with." The big question going forward is whether it's over, paused, or about to reinvigorate. Both Scott and his wife Whitney Kay have been genuinely dismayed about the uncertainly. His wife tweeted out a photo via Instagram in the closing laps: It's a bittersweet weekend here for us! So proud of my hubs for always having a smile on his face… https://t.co/e7u9SLgcIj — whitney kay scott (@whitneykay_) November 21, 2015 Scott essentially agreed that he would seek sponsors, work and rely on his faith during this uncertainty. "There are plans, but the plans are we're still working on it,'' Scott said. "I've just been praying a lot and putting the faith in the good Lord whatever direction he wants me to go in. "We will just keep working on it and see if anything happens and opens up. Just praying a lot as a family and for the right opportunity to open up and lead us along." His current team owner Richard Childress was non-committal after the race, but remained hopeful. "Not right now, but we're going to be working on him,'' Childress said when asked about a potential deal for his driver. "I like Brian. I think he can win races. "We don't know yet (if he'll be back). We're still talking."
Chase Elliott youngest to win national series title
NASCAR Next graduate sets new standards in 2014 MORE: Full race results " Look back at Chase's Sunoco Rookie Report " JR Motorsports championship fast facts AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Proving that stock-car racing talent hasn't skipped a generation, 18-year-old Chase Elliott continued a family tradition Saturday afternoon at Phoenix International Raceway , becoming the youngest champion in NASCAR national series history. Elliott, son of 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Bill Elliott , entered Saturday's DAV 200 - Honoring America's Veterans needing only to lose none of his 48-point lead over JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith . He did, finishing fifth to sew up his Nationwide Series title pursuit with one race remaining. "Are you kidding me?! Yes!" Elliott said over his in-car radio at the checkered flag before running through a list of thank-yous. "You know what they say," his radio crackled back, "you can chase Elliott, but you can't catch him." The siren at the Dawsonville Pool Room -- nearly 2,000 miles east in the Elliotts' Georgia hometown -- sounded loud and proud after the teenager's latest accomplishment, just as it frequently did in his father's heyday. Saturday, the shrill signal celebrated the teenager's impressive body of work throughout 2014, with the Dawsonville institution tweeting, "Call the fire department we might let the "Si-REEN" blare until she catches on fire!!!" and then providing proof. Sorry for the video delay, we are so happy here in Dawsonville we almost forgot to upload it! #di9 http://t.co/LBjiWPlhXK — Dawsonville PoolRoom (@DawsonPoolRoom) November 8, 2014 — Dawsonville PoolRoom (@DawsonPoolRoom) November 8, 2014 Elliott became the first rookie to wear the Nationwide Series crown since the circuit's infancy, landing the first championship for his JRM team -- co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr . -- in the process. He also became the first product of the NASCAR Next youth initiative to claim a season-long title at the national series level. And he also followed his father's footsteps to become part of just the fifth father-son duo to claim a NASCAR national series title. "This certainly has not set in for me, and I don't know when it's going to," Elliott said. "I want to enjoy every bit of it. I'm going to enjoy it all the way till the green flag at Daytona because this is just such a cool honor to have. To be able to come and drive the race cars I've been able to this season, and to be able to do this every week, this is a dream come true. I get to go race cars on the weekend; it doesn't get much better than that." The elder Elliott's list of stock-car achievements has few peers with multiple Daytona 500 victories and the Cup championship in 1988. Saturday, though, was a special moment of a different sort for the proud pop. "I think this is above everything. I'm serious," Bill Elliott said. "I think this is above everything that I've accomplished because that's kind of in the past, and this is him living for his future. He's a good kid, he's done a great job and he's kind of got the world by the tail. He's got to keep his head screwed on straight and headed in the right direction, but I feel like he can do that." Elliott broke through for his first NASCAR national series victory last season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park during his partial schedule in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. His progress in trucks and other forms of stock-car racing was enough to attract the attention of Earnhardt, who tapped Elliott in January for a full-time ride with his Nationwide Series team. In making the jump, Elliott's car bore the No. 9 that his father made famous, scoring 38 of his 44 career victories in NASCAR's premier series with the car number. NAPA, making its return to NASCAR after departing the Michael Waltrip Racing team weeks earlier, signed on as a full-time sponsor. Though he currently drives for JRM, he remains under contract through the team's association with Rick Hendrick and his Hendrick Motorsports operation -- Earnhardt's team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The 65-year-old car owner, whose eye for budding young racers is credited with developing the championship-caliber careers of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson , said he noticed Elliott's poise and maturity early on. "He is so mature beyond his years, how he can be fast but not wreck the car," said team partner Rick Hendrick. "It's just unbelievable how talented he is, but how smart he is. I think he's got the whole package and that's what impressed me from the very beginning." While Bill Elliott 's career began as a Ford loyalist, Chase Elliott 's big break came in Chevrolets. Success came early, in just his sixth Nationwide race at Texas Motor Speedway in April. Elliott passed Kevin Harvick with 16 laps to go and led five Sprint Cup regulars -- including Earnhardt -- to take the checkered flag. The following week, he was back in Victory Lane at Darlington Raceway , the treacherous South Carolina track where his father captured the Winston Million triple crown bonus in 1985. Though a crash at Charlotte Motor Speedway at May knocked him out of the lead in standings, he snatched the top spot back with a win in July at Chicagoland Speedway and never relinquished his perch. The Nationwide Series season wraps up next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway with Saturday's Ford EcoBoost 300 (4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2). After a historic Saturday in the desert, Elliott's race will serve as a 300 -mile victory lap. Elliott's coronation had just one moment of uncertainty. The rookie-turned-champ had been fast all day, but when it came to doing a post-race burnout, he paused. "Do I go burn 'em down right now?" Elliott said. "Is that acceptable?" Spotter Earl Barban passed the buck over the radio: "You'll have to ask your crew chief." The affirmative reply came from Greg Ives, "Do what you need to do." Elliott complied like a kid at heart, but one accomplished beyond his years. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule