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Post-Race Reactions: VFW 200
Jason White, Parker Kligerman and Dakoda Armstrong discuss their top-five finishes at Michigan.
Daniel Suarez earns $100,000 third-place finish
RELATED: More on Dash 4 Cash DARLINGTON, S.C. – Winning the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus wasn't on the mind of Daniel Suarez during the closing laps of Saturday's VFW Sports Clips 200 at Darlington Raceway . That's because the Joe Gibbs Racing driver was concerned about something a bit more important – his first NASCAR XFINITY Series win. "No it’s not," Suarez said following his third-place finish. "But the victory is." Late green-flag pit stops by the leaders cycled the No. 18 Toyota of Suarez into the lead, and with his team instructing him to save fuel, the 23-year-old nursed his advantage for as long and as far as he could –until the rocket-fast entry of teammate Denny Hamlin came roaring past with just three laps remaining on its way to the checkered flag. Fellow teammate Kyle Busch shot around Suarez to claim second as JGR drivers swept the top three spots in the series' 24th stop. Third wasn't first, but it was tops among the four eligible drivers competing for the final $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus. Others vying for the award were Brian Scott (12th), Ty Dillon (15th) and Chase Elliott (24th). "After I hit the wall, for some reason … I messed something up and I wasn't able to hear 100 percent my spotter and my people," Suarez said. "I was able to understand them but when we were under the green flag it was tough. "When we had maybe 20 laps to go, when we took the lead, they were telling me to save fuel … I was saving; I wanted to save but I didn’t want to lose the lead, either. It's always hard to be in the position when you need to save fuel and you are leading the race because I wanted to go; I wanted to lead more. "But the problem is if I go, and for some reason we run out of fuel, that's my fault." Suarez qualified for the fourth segment in this year's Dash 4 Cash program by finishing fifth last month at Bristol, earning his first $100,000 bonus. Regan Smith (JR Motorsports) had won the season's first two segments, at Dover and Indianapolis. In a NASCAR.com fan pole asked to pick the Darlington Dash 4 Cash winner, Suarez received only eight percent of the vote. Scott received 40 percent of the vote, Elliott 37 percent and Dillon 15 percent. "We were alright; it's just once everyone started pitting as early as they did, I got a little bit scared and I knew we had a buffer," Eric Phillips, crew chief for Suarez, said. "And in my mind, we were racing the 3 (Dillon), the 2 (Scott) and the 9 (Elliott) for that XFINITY $100,000. "The fuel situation was probably close. But … probably not as close because we saved a lot of gas there at the end – probably too much gas." Hamlin pitted with 27 laps remaining in the 147-lap race, a move necessitated due to problems filling the car with fuel on a previous stop. But the flip side of the earlier-than-anticipated trip to pit road eventually played into the driver's favor – the fresh tires enabled him to shoot through the field as others stopped to eventually reel in his teammate. "He did a great job," Phillips said of his driver, who made contact with the wall during practice on Friday and again on the second lap of Saturday's race. "The hardest thing with him is to get him to understand that's part of this place. It's going to happen. The best of them have done it all the time. You've got to go keep dealing with it, and you're going to do it. You're pushing as hard as we pushed, and we probably didn't have the best car but we got a good finish and did what we needed to do today." It was the first trip to Darlington's difficult 1.366-mile track for Suarez. A third-place finish and second consecutive $100,000 bonus didn't make up for the lost opportunity, but it made it easier to digest. "I felt like we were a top-10 car," said Suarez. "We were running seventh, sixth maybe, not much better than that. And we finished third. So we'll take it."
Ryan Reed's Darlington scheme honors Allison
RELATED: See the Sprint Cup Series throwback schemes CONCORD, N.C. -- Ryan Reed and Roush Fenway Racing today unveiled the throwback paint scheme that the No. 16 Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association Ford Mustang will carry this September in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) race at Darlington Raceway . The No. 16 Ford Mustang will feature a design similar to the No. 16 driven by Bobby Allison in 1975, on his way to three victories, including one at Darlington Raceway . "Bobby Allison is a true icon in this sport," said team co-owner Jack Roush. "I'm beyond honored to have one of our cars carry a paint scheme that Bobby ran. I look forward to making him proud at Darlington Raceway later this season." In a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) career that spanned 25 years, Allison, the 1983 NSCS champion, earned 84 victories, 58 poles and 335 top-five finishes. In addition, Allison led more than 27,000 laps in NSCS competition. For his success, Allison was nominated to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011. "I can't wait for Darlington this year," said Allison. "It will bring back a lot of memories seeing that car out on the race track. I'm just so happy to be a part of this throwback weekend, and I wish Ryan and his Roush Fenway team luck heading into Darlington." Reed and Allison were at Roush Fenway on Monday to make the announcement, along with Sam Bass, who helped create the throwback adaptation of Allison's 1975 scheme. Like Reed, Bass lives with type 1 diabetes and has been a part of the Drive to Stop Diabetes program since its inception in 2013. Bass, the first officially-licensed NASCAR artist, will also play a special role for the team at Darlington Raceway . After inspection is complete on Friday of the race weekend, Bass will paint the Lilly Diabetes 140th Anniversary logo on the decklid of Reed's No. 16 Ford. "I've been honored to do some pretty amazing things during my time in NASCAR, but painting a logo "Old School" on a racecar at the track is new for me," said Bass. "What Ryan and his team are doing in the diabetes community is really special to me and I'm honored to be included with two things I'm so passionate about -- NASCAR history and diabetes awareness." Through the first 14 races of the NXS season, Reed has eight top-15 finishes and has led eight laps. He currently ranks 10th in the NXS point standings. In two starts at Darlington Raceway , Reed's best finish is 13th. "This is a really special paint scheme to me for a variety of reasons," said Reed. "First off, it's awesome to honor Bobby Allison -- someone who's done so much for NASCAR. But it's also special to have Sam [Bass] as a part of the program. I'm glad they have him painting the decklid, and not me." Catch complete coverage of the unveil on NBC's NASCAR America tonight, Monday June 20 at 6 p.m. ET. Darlington Raceway 's award-winning throwback event celebrates the history and heritage of NASCAR racing at one of the sport's most iconic tracks. The campaign focuses on specific eras, plus the historic moments and drivers that made impacts at the track Too Tough to Tame . The Tradition Continues throwback celebration will take place on Labor Day weekend as the NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 is set for Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, airing on NBC.
VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 starting lineup
See the complete starting lineup for the Darlington Nationwide Series race
VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 entry list
The Nationwide Series makes its seventh stop of the season at Darlington
Victory Lane: Harvick celebrates back-to-back NCWTS wins
Kevin Harvick celebrates his second consecutive win in the Camping World Truck Series after emerging victorious in the VFW 200 .
Darlington releases throwback ticket design for Southern 500
RELATED: 2015 Darlington throwback paint schemes " Buy tickets Darlington Raceway on Thursday released its commemorative ticket design for the 2016 Southern 500 throwback weekend over the Labor Day holiday, Sept. 2-4. This year's commemorative ticket will hearken back to the ticket from the 1978 Southern 500, featuring South Carolina native and Darlington Raceway legend David Pearson. It will be used for both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' Bojangles' Southern 500 and the NASCAR XFINITY Series' VFW Wport Clips Help a Hero 200 races. The design gives nods to the present and more recent past, as well, honoring the 2015 Souther 500 winner, Carl Edwards , and featuring more photos spanning the track's history. "The retro-style ticket was one of many touchpoints fans enjoyed during last season's throwback festivities," track President Chip Wile said. "We felt that it was important to continue to honor our rich history with a tremendous champion like David Pearson, while also celebrating last year's winner Carl Edwards , on the ticket." The 2015 throwback event was so popular that Darlington Raceway won the NMPA's Myers Brothers Award for the event. The 2016 theme focuses on the 1975-1984 era in NASCAR. MORE: Best photos from Darlington's throwback weekend
Kyle Busch, Logano lead XFINITY practices
Practice 2 recap " Results Joey Logano led the final XFINITY Series practice at Darlington Raceway on Friday, posting a top speed of 166.676 mph on Lap 2 of 28. The Team Penske driver was fourth-fastest in the series' opening practice earlier in the day. Kyle Busch , who was fastest in the first XFINITY Series practice at Darlington, came in second-fastest behind Logano (166.642 mph). Ty Dillon (165.643 mph), Kyle Larson (164.556 mph) and Daniel Suarez (164.457 mph) rounded out the top-five fastest on the practice leaderboard. Saturday's VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is the final race in the XFINITY Dash 4 Cash program and Suarez, Dillon, Brian Scott and Chase Elliott will compete for the final $100,000 cash prize. Elliott was ninth-fastest while Scott was 11th-fastest in Friday's final practice. Practice 1 recap " Results Kyle Busch led opening practice for Saturday's XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway . The Joe Gibbs Racing driver completed his fastest time on Lap 2 of 19 at a speed of 167.379 mph. Closing in on Busch was JGR teammate Denny Hamlin who came in as second-fastest (167.015 mph). Paul Menard (166.304 mph), Joey Logano (166.034 mph) and Ty Dillon (165.788 mph) round out the top-five fastest drivers at the "Too Tough to Tame" track. Piloting the No. 9 Chevrolet, defending race winner and XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott was 11th-fastest in the first session (165.009 mph). The XFINITY Series returns to the track at 3 p.m. ET for the final practice before Saturday's race at 3:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN/Live Extra, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Hamlin tops field for Darlington pole
RELATED: Full lineup Denny Hamlin will start Saturday’s race at Darlington Raceway after earning his 20th career Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver topped the leaderboard in the final round of qualifying with a best speed of 171.704 mph. Hamlin, who started and won from the pole at the track “Too Tough to Tame” in 2006, 2007 and 2010, has never finished an XFINITY event outside the top 10 at Darlington. JGR teammate Daniel Suarez will start alongside him on front row after running a lap at a 171.178 mph clip. Kyle Larson (170.970 mph), Joey Logano (170.815 mph) and Paul Menard (170.703 mph) -- who led the first two rounds -- round out the top five. Following a bit of a bizarre moment, XFINITY stalwart Kyle Busch will start 36th after failing to advance to the second round. His time was disallowed for a blend line violation. Defending race-winner Chase Elliott will start seventh after a best speed of 170.395 mph. Tune in to watch the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Additional coverage is on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Denny Hamlin wins from the pole at Darlington
RELATED: Complete race results " Updated series standings DARLINGTON, S.C. -- You could call polesitter Denny Hamlin 's victory in Saturday's VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway "dominating," but the NASCAR XFINITY Series event wasn't without its share of drama -- courtesy of a fuel shortage and Hamlin's own Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Daniel Suarez . Hamlin Led 117 of 147 laps at the 1.366-mile speedway, but he didn't make the winning pass until Lap 145, when he surged past Suarez, who was stretching fuel after foregoing a final pit stop in hopes of stealing the victory. The win was Hamlin's third of the season (all from the pole), his fourth at Darlington (all from the pole) and the 14th of his career. In a 1-2-3 finish for JGR, Kyle Busch got past Suarez, who finished third, to start the final circuit and came home in the runner-up position. But Suarez secured a $100,000 bonus as the top finisher among eligible series regulars in the final XFINITY Dash 4 Cash event of the season. Suarez also won $100,000 for Kurt Kolstad, a race fan paired with Suarez for the Dash 4 Cash finale. When Hamlin brought his No. 20 Toyota to pit road under caution on Lap 72, he returned to the track after a lightning fast stop during which his team left the fuel cell slightly short of a full load. That meant Hamlin would have to pit before his primary pursuers, Busch and Kevin Harvick , and hope the race would run caution-free for the entire cycle of stops. Hamlin got his wish. After pitting on Lap 122 and gaining time on fresh tires, a relieved Hamlin saw the race run caution-free to the end, giving him just enough time to catch Suarez, who was saving fuel on old rubber, before the laps ran out. "I'm almost glad we didn't (get the car full of fuel)," Hamlin said after the race. "We didn't want a caution to fall and trap us there, but I had scraped the wall and kind of misjudged my line one time and got a little right-side damage, and the car just stopped turning. "I don't know if the right side would have made it or not (under the pressure of all-out racing)." Harvick led 16 laps and finished fourth, his chances thwarted when the race ran green to the finish. "The 9 ( Chase Elliott ) hit the wall or was blowing up or something, and we stayed out a few extra laps, thinking that the caution was going to come out, and got a little bit behind," Harvick said. "The 20 (Hamlin) had the best car. We were better in the long run -- we could run him back down and race with him, but on the short run, those guys were a little bit better than we were." Chris Buescher ran fifth and extended his series lead to 29 points over Ty Dillon , who finished 15th, and 35 over Elliott, who came home 24th, three laps down, after his engine soured late in the race. Joey Logano , Kyle Larson , Landon Cassill , Regan Smith and Ross Chastain completed the top 10.