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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."
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 .
Sadler savors XFINITY victory at Darlington
RELATED: Race results " At-track gallery " Standings " Chase Grid SHOP: Sadler gear DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Elliott Sadler had a passenger for Saturday's VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway -- in spirit at least. After a breathtaking battle against Denny Hamlin over the closing laps, Sadler crossed the finish-line .454 seconds ahead of Hamlin to win for the first time at the Lady in Black -- and immediately dedicated the victory to JR Motorsports team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who announced on Friday he would sit out the remainder of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup season because of a concussion. RELATED: Junior announces he will miss rest of 2016 season "This win today is for my man, Dale Earnhardt Jr .," Sadler said. "I know he's going through a tough time. He's not being able to race his race car for the rest of the year. He was riding there with me today, and he's given me such a great opportunity to be a part of his race team." With two laps left in the 147-lap event, however, the outcome was in the balance. Sadler had a lead of .715 seconds when he crossed the stripe to complete Lap 145. But he started sliding toward the outside wall in Turn 2 and had to fight to keep his No. 1 Chevrolet under control. Hamlin pulled to the inside and the cars raced side-by-side down the backstretch, but as they entered Turn 3, Sadler regained momentum and pulled ahead in the top lane as the drivers approached the white flag. Hamlin got an excellent run through Turns 1 and 2 on the final lap but not enough to make a pass. "I messed up, man," Sadler said of the close call on the penultimate lap. "I could kind of see him coming, and I was trying to make up some time, and I started focusing on a lapped car in front of me, and I ran out of room and almost gave it to him. "But all in all, we were able to hold him off." The victory was Sadler's first at Darlington in 32 starts across all three of NASCAR's national series. He won for the second time in the XFINITY Series year and for the 12th time in 320 XFINITY starts. Making only his second start of the season in the series, Hamlin was frustrated in his attempt to win at Darlington for the fifth time. "We definitely had a good line going through (Turns) 1 and 2," Hamlin said, "But I didn't get a good restart (on Lap 112, after the last of three cautions), he got position on me, and track position meant so much. Once he ran the high line, my car was entirely too tight to run low. "It eliminated our passing opportunity unless we could slide-job him there in Turn 3 on that one lap he messed up, but it didn't happen." Daniel Suárez ran third after challenging Hamlin for second place -- until a brush with the wall ended his chances. But the driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota held third place ahead of Kyle Larson , who spun entering pit road from the lead on Lap 103 to cause the final caution and caused a major shakeup of positions within the top 10. Brennan Poole came home fifth and clinched a spot in the inaugural XFINITY Series Chase, as did Darrell Wallace Jr . (17th on Saturday) and Brandon Jones (ninth). That leaves three spots still open with two regular-season races left before the Chase field is set.
RECAP: Sadler wins one for the boss
NASCAR.com's Jonathan Merryman recaps the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 as Elliott Sadler holds off Denny Hamlin to grab his first career win at Darlington Raceway and his second of the season for JR Motorsports.
Sadler motivated by absence of team owner, Earnhardt Jr.
RELATED: Sadler sits atop points standings NASCAR XFINITY Series points leader Elliott Sadler is using the absence of his JR Motorsports team owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr ., as a source of inspiration and motivation in his quest for a first championship. "We've kind of been racing for him these last couple weeks ... a month or so," said Sadler, who leads the XFINITY standings by 47 points over second-place Daniel Suarez . "We kind of know what our boss is going through. We talk about it on our race team at the race track some. When you watch practice on TV, or the watch the ( Sprint Cup ) race on Sunday, and he's not in the race car, it affects us. "We want the best for him. He's given all of us a great opportunity. We want him to enjoy the same fun, the same competitive spirit that we're having week-in and week-out. So we definitely talk about it as a team and wish him nothing but the best coming back. And it definitely gives us some incentive to finish on a high note, now that he’s out of the car." Sadler is locked into the inaugural XFINITY Chase, and the veteran driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet got more recent good news -- his primary sponsor, OneMain Financial, will return for another season on the car in 2017. Sadler will next race in Saturday's VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
How Darlington's distinctive design was made
RELATED: Buy tickets " See all the throwback paint schemes Editor's Note: This story first ran on NASCAR.com on September 2, 2015 ahead of last season's throwback race at Darlington Raceway . The unique, oblong layout of Darlington Raceway was made by design in 1949, a year before it welcomed NASCAR's big leagues for its first 500-mile race. How it happened is no small fish tale, in a manner of speaking. When Harold Brasington purchased 70 acres of land from farm owner Sherman Ramsey for the site of NASCAR's first superspeedway, there was one condition -- Ramsey requested that the minnow pond on his property not be disturbed. The result was a set of turns on one end of the track that was tighter than the opposite end, which gives the track its distinctive egg shape. The abstract layout continues to challenge NASCAR drivers and crew chiefs alike, some 65-plus years after its debut. Among the track’s many traditions is the "Darlington Stripe," a black tire mark created from cars’ frequent brushes along the outside retaining wall. RELATED: See the best Darlington Stripes in NASCAR history Kyle Petty -- who had a history of futility on the 1.366-mile track, with zero top-five finishes in 51 Cup starts at Darlington -- famously quipped in an ESPN interview after a crash that the track would be better served to be filled with water for bass fishing. Had that unlikely conversion ever happened, Petty would have had a ready source for bait in Ramsey's pond. The track, known as "The Lady in Black," has also been known as one that is "Too Tough to Tame" and is one of the more unique configurations in NASCAR and will provide quite the challenge for drivers in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Labor Day weekend. The XFINITY Series VFW Sports Clips Help A Hero 200 is on Sept. 3 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 is on Sept. 4 (6 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). &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;gt;
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.