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Eckes outlasts Nemechek in Snowball Derby
Photo courtesy of Speed51.com Delayed two days due to weather, the 49th annual Snowball Derby was worth the wait for Christian Eckes. The 15-year-old added his name to the list of winners of the prestigious super late model race. The 300 -lap event was scheduled for Sunday, but delayed until Monday due to rain and then again to Tuesday night. Eckes, who drives a late model for JR Motorsports -- although not in this event -- bested runner-up John Hunter Nemechek on the 5 Flags Speedway half-mile oval in Pensacola, Florida. Thrilled for @christianeckes and the Eurys on the #SnowballDerby win! The two Tonys know how to get it done. — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) December 7, 2016 Eckes joins recent winners including Kyle Busch (2009), Chase Elliott (2011, 2015) and Erik Jones (2012, 2013). Nemechek himself won the event in 2014. Ty Majeski, a member of the NASCAR Next class and a development driver for Roush Fenway Racing , finished third. Others in the top 10 with NASCAR connections were Grant Enfinger (seventh) and Noah Gragson (ninth). MORE: Learn more about Majeski
Post-Race Reactions: Scott's EZ Seed 300
Kahne, Earnhardt Jr., and others comment on their finishes in Thunder Valley.
Suarez 'living a dream' following XFINITY title win
RELATED: Full race results " Final Chase Grid SHOP: Champion gear HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Daniel Suarez , 24 and only two years into a NASCAR XFINITY Series career, can check another box off his career bucket list. Series champion. The Monterrey, Mexico, native became a winner in the series for the first time earlier this season to qualify for the inaugural XFINITY Series Chase. Saturday evening at Homestead-Miami Speedway , he led 133 of 200 laps that made up the Ford EcoBoost 300 , and survived a wild, late-race restart to become the first Latin American driver to capture a NASCAR national series title. He is the first Joe Gibbs Racing driver to capture the series title since 2009 when Kyle Busch won the crown. MORE: Joe Gibbs thrilled after Suarez win Saturday, Suarez outran series veterans Elliott Sadler (third) and JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier (sixth) as well as JGR teammate Erik Jones (ninth) to become the series' 27th different champion and the 34th overall. In the Championship Round, the driver finishing highest wins the title. Suarez made sure no one, Chase contender or otherwise, finished in front of his orange and white No. 19 Toyota. "I'm speechless right now," Suarez, a graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, said as fans streamed onto the frontstretch to witness the official coronation and fireworks exploded overhead. "It's very hard to put into words. "I'm just very proud of everyone and thankful to have the family that I have -- my mom, my dad. They gave me all the tools to be here right now. They put me in a car even when we didn't have the support or the racing background. They supported me and right now we are just living a dream." Suarez's parents were on hand to watch their son capture the championship at Homestead. Alejandro Suarez, Daniel's dad, said he has personally watched his son race "maybe 10 times" since Daniel came to the U.S. to embark upon a NASCAR career. "It's a dream. It's a dream and tomorrow I will tell you (what if feels like)," he said, smiling. Success so quickly wasn't expected "Maybe next year, maybe 2-3 years," the father said. "But not this year. But Daniel works hard." MORE: Suarez's long road to the title Jones will head off to begin a premier series career in '17, already having been named to drive the No. 77 Toyota for Furniture Row Racing as that organization expands from one to two teams. Suarez, talented as he is, is expected to return to JGR for another year of seasoning in the XFINITY Series. Gibbs' group currently fields four Sprint Cup teams -- for drivers Denny Hamlin , Matt Kenseth , Carl Edwards and Busch, the defending series champ. "We're in there now," team owner Joe Gibbs said of Suarez's move to the XFINITY Series, "and I think … it's going to be pretty quick we'll be going to Cup. I think it's in Daniel's hands, but obviously he's performed so well. "As everybody knows, it's hard to get all that organized, but we're working -- that's going to be our end game. That's what we're going to be working for." If Suarez is in a hurry to get to the top level, he wasn't showing it Saturday night. He knows he gets to run against some of the premier series drivers some of the time now. "But you never race with all of them," he said. "So I'm pretty sure that the Cup car is going to be different, and to race with all those guys at the same time is going to be even more difficult. "Like I said before … we have to focus on today and tomorrow is going to take care of itself." Today he's a champion. Tomorrow? Who knows. &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;gt;
Showdown between JRM, JGR evident in XFINITY Chase finale
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- The first-ever Chase playoff format for the NASCAR XFINITY Series created an intriguing foursome competing for the championship in Saturday's season finale. The dualities ran deep. Two pairs of title-eligible teammates from two organizations created a showdown between Joe Gibbs Racing and JR Motorsports, Toyota and Chevrolet, and -- because of the wide range of experience among the four -- a contrast between veteran savvy and youthful exuberance. Those contrasts played out with the XFINITY Series crown on the line in Saturday's Ford EcoBoost 300 with Gibbs up-and-comers Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez squaring off with JRM's veteran compatriots in Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier at Homestead-Miami Speedway . The final 50 laps saw all four drivers battling fiercly for the lead, but ultimately it was JGR's Suarez who won the race, outlasting JRM's Sadler, who gambled late with a two-tire pit stop and finished third. Sadler's teammate, Allgaier, finished seventh and JGR's Jones was ninth as they got trapped behind race leader Cole Whitt on the final restart. The four drivers were in an anticipatory mood during Thursday's Media Day at the Loews Miami Beach, trumpeting the virtues of having teammates to lean on through the weekend and conjuring up images of a virtual 2-on-2 matchup. But with a winner-take-all structure in place for Saturday's curtain-closer, the allegiances may only go so far. "We know already that we are going to help each other as much as we can before the race, and once we get into the race, everyone is on his own, and we know that, and we understand that," said Suarez, in his second full season of XFINITY competition. "There is just one trophy, and there are two drivers, two friends here. We have to take care by ourselves and move forward." Suarez has a stellar teammate in Jones, who is earmarked for a full-time ride in NASCAR's premier series next year with Furniture Row Racing . The two worked well this season under the JGR umbrella, combining for six XFINITY victories. But Jones agreed that the notion of teamwork has its limits at Homestead. "I think throughout the weekend, you don't change your process at all. We still share information, still lean on each other, help each other when we can," Jones said. "Obviously in the early and mid-part of the race, we're not going to do anything to hurt each other's races. "Once it gets down to that last hundred, last 50 laps, I think you have to go for it. At some point you're going to have to race for it. We're racing for a championship. We don't want to take each other out of that chance, but at the same time we have to be in it to try to win our team a championship and make it happen. I think that's the point of this Chase and the point of this format." Among the four championship contenders, team alliances created a split, but so has the difference in age. JRM's Sadler is the eldest of the group at 41 with his teammate Allgaier having just crossed the bridge into his 30s this summer. JGR's Suarez is 24 years old with Jones the youngest at 20. Experience can certainly help, but so does pure skill -- something the final quartet has in bunches. While variances in their racing backgrounds exist, all four can claim newbie status in regards to the new Chase format. "I don't know that the years have really given us any more experience," Allgaier said. "Who's to say with the resources and things they've gone through that they could potentially have more experience than what I do? I think we got four really talented race car drivers that made the final round. I think you've got four great teams in this final round."
Daniel Suarez wins race, 2016 championship at Miami
RELATED: Complete results " Chase Grid SHOP: Champion gear A 6.6-second, two-tire pit stop for Chase driver Elliott Sadler put him on the front row for the final restart in Saturday's Ford EcoBoost 300 XFINITY finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . But when first-place Cole Whitt failed to get going at the drop of the green flag, Daniel Suarez whipped around for the lead, his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota holding on for the win and earning the 2016 XFINITY Series championship. Suarez, 24, led 133 laps en route to his third career XFINITY Series win, becoming the first Latin American driver to win a NASCAR national series title. "It's very hard to put into words," Suarez said. "I'm speechless right now. I'm just very proud of everyone and thankful to have the family that I have -- my mom, my dad. They gave me all the tools to be here right now. They put me in a car even when we didn't have the support or the racing background. They supported me, and right now we are just living a dream." The highest-running non-Chase driver, Richard Childress Racing 's Ty Dillon , led 17 laps to earn a runner-up result, while Sadler's two-tire gamble allowed him to finish third. Team Penske 's Ryan Blaney , vying for an owner championship, came up fourth and RCR's Austin Dillon rounded out the top five in his No. 2 Chevrolet. The two other Chase competitors -- Justin Allgaier in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet and Erik Jones in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota -- finished sixth and ninth, respectively. The duo put together an impressive battle for the win in the final 20 laps of the race. Suarez was leading fellow Championship 4 contender and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones by less than three car-lengths when Ray Black Jr . spun off Turn 4 to bring out the seventh and final caution on Lap 190. Under the yellow on Lap 193, lead-lap cars came to pit road for tires, but the No. 14 Toyota of Whitt stayed on the track on old tires and inherited the lead, while Sadler's two-tire stop put the No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet on the inside of the front row. Coming to the green on Lap 198, Whitt stalled out in the top lane, pinning Jones behind him and costing him any shot at the championship. Suarez rocketed past Sadler into Turn 1 and pulled away for the victory and the championship. "I should have made a better block on Daniel," Sadler said ruefully. "We didn't know that 14 would stay out and jumble up that restart like that. I wish I'd done a better job on that restart. I guess I'll be 'coulda, woulda, shoulda' for a while… I knew Daniel had a better car on four tires, but I wish I could have put up a better fight." The Sprint Cup Series concludes the tripleheader championship weekend in Miami, as Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards , Kyle Busch and Joey Logano battle for the 2016 Sprint Cup Series title on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET (NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Ford EcoBoost 400 sold out at Homestead-Miami
MIAMI -- Homestead-Miami Speedway today announced a grandstand sellout for the Ford EcoBoost 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship race on Sunday. The event, which starts at 2:30 p.m. ET and airs on NBC and MRN Radio/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, has sold out each of the last three years. "Ford Championship Weekend continues to grow in stature each year, and having sold out the Ford EcoBoost 400 three years in-a-row is a testament to that," said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Matthew Becherer. "Not only do we have world class racing with Joey Logano , Kyle Busch , Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards competing for a championship amongst a full field of drivers, but we also offer outstanding entertainment as well, including the pre-race concert by The Band Perry. Championship weekend should provide tremendous excitement for the entire family as we celebrate the final race in the Chase for all three NASCAR national series, beginning with the Camping World Truck Series Championship race tonight followed by the XFINITY Series Championship race on Saturday." A limited number of Sunday tickets still remain for seats in the infield Pit Road Cabanas, in addition to spots in the FanVision Fan Zone, where four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will be holding a Q & A on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Tickets for the Ford EcoBoost 200 Camping World Truck Series Championship race tonight at 8:00 p.m. as well as the Ford EcoBoost 300 XFINITY Series Championship race on Saturday 3:30 p.m. are still available and can be purchased by calling (305) 230-5255, or online at www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com .
Suarez celebrates in Victory Lane
Daniel Suarez wins the Ford EcoBoost 300 and celebrates in victory lane after becoming the first Latin American driver to win a NASCAR national series championship.
Relive the closing NXS laps at Homestead in Spanish
Take a listen to the Spanish call to the end of the Ford EcoBoost 300 that saw Daniel Suarez become the first First Latin American driver to win a NASCAR national series championship, courtesy of FOX Sports Latin America.
Austin Dillon wins Hisense 300 at Charlotte
RCR driver scores fourth career XFINITY Series win RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " Learn more about Dash 4 Cash CONCORD, N.C. – For the second straight Saturday, Denny Hamlin had the chance to hold off a race's strongest car for the victory. Unlike last Saturday's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, however, there were too many laps left after the final restart in Saturday's Hisense 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series, and polesitter Austin Dillon powered past Hamlin on Lap 186 of 200 to finish the race where he belonged—at the front of the field. By the time he crossed the finish line, Dillon was 2.692 seconds ahead of Hamlin, who had taken the lead during a restart on Lap 167 that saw Dillon fall back to fourth from the inside lane by the time the leaders exited Turn 2. One by one, Dillon picked off Regan Smith , Kahne and Hamlin on the way to his second XFINITY Series victory of the season, his first at Charlotte and the fourth of his career. Kahne ran third behind Dillon and Hamlin, followed by Smith and rookies Darrell Wallace Jr . and Daniel Suarez . Ty Dillon came home seventh and trimmed the series lead of 11th-place finisher Chris Buescher to four points. Dillon led 163 laps and held an advantage of more than six seconds during a 54-lap green-flag run that preceded the second caution of the race on Lap 110. How good was Dillon's No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet? "I didn't want to get out of this thing," Dillon said in Victory Lane. "This thing drove so good. It was a heck of a race there with Denny at the end and Kasey (Kahne). I had to go right there in lapped traffic (to make the winning pass). "I knew if I didn't hurry up and get in front of him right there, the tires might equalize (in terms of grip)." But when Dillon picked the inside lane for what proved to be the final restart—after a caution for Kyle Fowler 's wreck in Turn 1—Hamlin seized what he considered a fortuitous opportunity and surged into the lead. "I thought when the 33 gave us the outside, that was a big advantage for us if we could stay with him through Turns 1 and 2," said Hamlin, who last Saturday held off Kevin Harvick in the final 10-lap shootout to win the Sprint All-Star Race. "We (did), and it allowed us to get position on him and even get him shuffled a few spots. "That was all good, but his car was just so fast he just overcame that track position." Hamlin lost the lead when the lapped car of Peyton Sellers stayed low and forced Hamlin's No. 54 Toyota to pass on the outside. "I needed to stay on the bottom," Hamlin said. "My car was best on the bottom. His car was pinned to the bottom as well. So I needed all of the lapped cars to move up high, and all of them did, except for the 97 (Sellers). He gave us the high line. That just killed us and killed our chances from that point, once the 33 got to our inside." Dillon chose the inside line because his car had worked well on the bottom for the entire race to that point. "My spotter (Andy Houston) made the fact that we should have probably taken the top, and I had been on the bottom all day, so I chose the bottom again," Dillon said. "I just didn't want to let these guys down (his crew). The Rheem car was so fast... "I thought about it, and I probably should have used the top, just because I would have had the run down the backstretch. It seems that, as the race goes on, that the outside can stop spinning the tires, and the rubber lays down... "Andy made the point, and it all worked out, but I'll definitely learn from that, for sure." Smith, Wallace, Suarez and Ty Dillon qualified for next week's XFINITY Dash 4 Cash competition at Dover as the top four finishers among series regulars. Those drivers will compete for $100,000 in next Saturday's race at Dover, with the top finisher among them claiming the prize. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Top five describe final laps of Winn-Dixie 300
The top finishers of Saturday's Winn-Dixie 300 describe the intense final laps in what was a wild finish at Talladega Superspeedway.