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."
'Dirty Air' gang attempts to make sense of the weekend that was Martinsville It's safe to say we all thought Matt Kenseth would play a few mind games with Joey Logano after the pair's multiple issues in the Chase's Contender Round. But we didn't see this coming. Kenseth's No. 20, running several laps down, made contact with then-race leader Logano's No. 22 with less than 50 laps to go, forcing Logano into the wall and ruining his chances at Victory Lane. • Log on to the iTunes Store and subscribe • Or watch the full replay on YouTube This left the field open for Jeff Gordon to take the checkered, making a huge splash in the Chase by punching his ticket to Homestead to the Championship Round -- and essentially giving No. 24 fans the final race of the year they'd been hoping for since Gordon announced his retirement in January. NASCAR XFINITY Series title contender Ty Dillon joined 'Dirty Air' this week to share his thoughts on Sunday's race and talk a little basketball, as he and brother Austin prep for their 3-on-3 basketball tournament benefiting the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma. And be sure to check out the full version of our show on YouTube, or download the full-length audio version on iTunes. Thanks for joining us on 'Dirty Air.'
Practice 2 recap " RELATED: Full practice 2 results Kyle Busch topped the final practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Phoenix International Raceway . Busch paced the 85-minute practice session with a fast lap of 135.491 mph in his No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Just as he did in the first practice session, Ty Dillon (No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet) came in second for the session (135.466 mph). Brendan Gaughan (135.298 mph, No. 62 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet), Chris Buescher (134.897 mph, No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford) and Chase Elliott (134.781 mph, No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet) made up the top five for final practice. Buescher, the XFINITY Series points leader, holds a 24-point edge on Elliott for the championship lead. The JR Motorsports driver is the defending series champion and mathematically clinched his title at Phoenix last year. Austin Dillon , who topped the opening practice session, came in seventh. Qualifying for the XFINITY Series DAV 200 Honoring America's Veterans will take place on Saturday at 12:45 p.m. ET (NBCSN/Live Extra). Practice 1 recap " RELATED: Full Practice 1 results The Dillon brothers clocked in the two fastest speeds during Friday's NASCAR XFINITY Series practice at Phoenix International Raceway . The No. 33 of Austin topped the leaderboard (136.018 mph) while the No. 3 of Ty was second (135.542 mph ). Chase Elliott 's No. 9 Chevrolet had a surge late during the session, rounding out the top three with a fastest lap of 135.105 mph. One of the busiest drivers of the weekend, Erik Jones was fourth during Friday's XFINITY Series practice session. Jones, who is racing in all three series at the track, wheeled his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota around the 1-mile track at 134.690 mph. Kyle Busch , with 75 series wins, was fifth-fastest as his No. 54 JGR Toyota came in at 134.013 mph. Daniel Suarez went for a late spin in his No. 18 JGR Toyota, but ended practice with minimal damage to his Toyota. He finished ninth (133.057 mph). Series points leader, Chris Buescher was 12th with his No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford coming in at 132.606 mph.
Ty Dillon joined the Dirty Air Podcast to give a driver's perspective on the Joey Logano/ Matt Kenseth drama and to talk about his brother Austin's charity 3-on-3 basketball tournament. Remember to check YouTube and iTunes for the full show!
Ty Dillon talks about his fifth place finish in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway and how this finish puts him ahead of Regan Smith in points for the NASCAR XFINITY Championship.
Chase Elliott reflects on some missed opportunities to gain points in the DAV 200, while Ty Dillon was proud of a gamble that paid off in the championship picture.
RELATED: Full results from practice Austin Dillon launched atop Friday's lone practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Texas Motor Speedway . Dillon , the 2013 series champ who is now a regular in the Sprint Cup Series, pushed the Richard Childress Racing No. 33 Chevrolet to a best lap of 184.363 mph in the two-hour, 25-minute session, the only tuning prep for Saturday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM). Brad Keselowski was second-fastest in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford with a lap of 184.256 mph around the 1.5-mile track. Erik Jones , Regan Smith and Daniel Suarez completed the top five. Sprint Cup regular Kyle Busch , a seven-time XFINITY Series winner at Texas, was sixth-fastest in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Toyota. Series leader Chris Buescher turned the 12th-fastest lap in the Roush Fenway Racing No. 60 Ford. He enters the 31st of 33 races this season with a 27-point edge on defending champ Chase Elliott (10th-fastest), a 33-point cushion on Smith and a 36-point advantage over Ty Dillon (ninth-fastest). Darrell Wallace Jr . was seventh-fastest in practice, but scraped the right side of his Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford against the Turn 4 wall late in the session. Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the XFINITY Series is scheduled for Saturday at 12:15 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Clint Bowyer 's loose No. 15 Toyota started a multi-car wreck during the season finale on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway shortly after a restart on Lap 45, forcing the fourth caution of the day. The other cars invovled were the No. 88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr ., the No. 33 of Ty Dillon , the No. 55 of David Ragan and the No. 43 of Aric Almirola , who took his Ford to the garage. (Almirola returned to the race 55 laps down.) "We wrecked pretty good," Dale Jr. told his crew after getting clipped by Ragan's Toyota. Before the race's start, the Hendrick Motorsports wheelman was upfront saying he would assist in any way with helping Jeff Gordon attain his fifth title. After a trip down pit road, Earnhardt returned to the race several laps down. The Ford EcoBoost 400 is the final race for Michael Waltrip Racing which fields teams for both Bowyer and Ragan. Bowyer's day ended early and he told NBC from the garage, "I don't know what the hell happened. I was kind of optimistic about the race. We made a pit stop there and the car was just a way big handful there. I don't know, I was coming off of (Turn) 2 there and Ty ( Dillon ) kind of got squirrely and I tried to stay off of him and my car got loose and I just couldn't catch it. "I don't know, we just lost the handling on our car big-time there. Unfortunately ended -- you hate to end this way. I wanted to end on a strong note for everybody at MWR. Appreciate all of their hard work and efforts all these years but unfortunately it's over.” Here's how those involved ranked on the leaderboard at the race's end: Dillon (23rd), Ragan (27th), Earnhardt Jr. (40th), Almirola (41st) and Bowyer (43rd).
Haley Dillon's NBA dance career is fully underway, successful The Charlotte Hornets are 5-0 in preseason games. Could a NASCAR driver’s wife be the game-changer for the NBA team? Haley Dillon , wife of NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Ty Dillon , is a member of the Honeybees, the team's in-game dancers, this year. She made her home-court cheerleading debut Saturday night, and the Hornets beat the New York Knicks 97-93. Pretty sure star center Al Jefferson’s team-leading 12 points and former University of North Carolina star Tyler Hansbrough’s eight rebounds led more directly to the win, but we’re not discounting Haley’s good luck effect. Needless to say, Ty is one proud husband. So proud of my smoking hot wife @HaleyKDillon she cheered her first game as @hornets @thehoneybees ! pic.twitter.com/8VxZLyR8bd — Ty Dillon (@tydillon) October 18, 2015 He had a pretty good day Saturday, too, finishing 4th in Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway , keeping him within 36 points of series leader Chris Buescher . The Hornets’ regular season kicks off Oct. 28 at Miami.
Clint Bowyer makes contact with Ty Dillon , sending him around collecting Dale Earnhardt Jr., causing major damage to the No. 15 and No. 88 cars in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.