Amy, Brian France continue their fight against cancer
Following a historic NASCAR Championship weekend, which saw the best drivers in the world fight for championships, Amy France and NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France switched gears last night to continue their fight against cancer. The Frances lent their support to Gabrielle's Angel Foundation and its annual Angel Ball which has raised $27 million for blood cancer research since 1996. After the Frances were honorees at last year's event, Amy France took a larger role this year, assuming the position of co-chair helping to plan the annual benefit and maximize its impact. As part of their support this year, the Frances gave a personal donation and also donated behind-the-scenes race packages that will be sure to put smiles on the faces of children with cancer at NASCAR races in 2017. In addition, the Frances agreed to match any money raised by families affiliated with Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation who are involved in their own fundraising efforts. The Frances began personally hosting child cancer survivors at races in 2015. The Angel Ball took place at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City and honored the work of Carl H. June, M.D., Director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies and Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania, the late Robert Kardashian and Heloise Pratt AM, Chair of The Pratt Foundation. The event featured live performances from Earth, Wind & Fire, Dave Stewart, Vanessa Amorosi, Jon Stevens and CeeLo Green. This is the latest effort from the Frances who founded the Luke and Meadow Foundation -- named after their 5-year old twins -- in 2011. The Foundation’s mission is to drive progress on issues that threaten the health and wellness of children. The Frances partner with dozens of world-class charitable organizations, devote significant time and make multimillion dollar donations to combat a wide-range of issues related to disease, poverty, abuse and education. The Luke and Meadow Foundation, which is a personal passion of the Frances, complements NASCAR's long history of social responsibility. As NASCAR Chairman and CEO, Brian is championing meaningful changes within the industry through the NASCAR Foundation , NASCAR Green and a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
@nascarcasm: 2016 Twitter Awards
At the end of every NASCAR season, we like to honor those who went the extra mile on social media. Twitter is a powerful tool -- it allows you to do everything from blaming Jimmie Johnson for things that he has no bearing on, to fart-shaming your dog (Hi Dale.). So without further ado, we give you this year’s winners by category. THE KEVIN HARVICK AWARD FOR INSTIGATION: DALE EARNHARDT JR. Carl Edwards texted me to say thanks for giving him room and he said @joeylogano was a "poop face" #LiesAllLies pic.twitter.com/NeURxwlxG6 — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) June 27, 2016 Dale Earnhardt Jr . manages to not only stoke the raging feud between Carl Edwards and Joey Logano , but also manages to give us a glimpse into the blazing hot takes Carl Edwards would bring should he ever join Twitter. I mean, Carl played the “poop face” card. Checkmate, fool. BEST TWEET THAT HAD TO BE DELETED BECAUSE PR PEOPLE HATE FUN: COLE PEARN Furniture Row Racing crew chief Cole Pearn took great exception to Joey Logano ’s driving at Auto Club Speedway this year, and responded with a tweet that you probably took a screenshot of. While we can’t reveal the exact wording of said tweet, we can say that it referenced Logano’s perceived lack of vision. It read like a polite guy from Canada trying to sound mad and intimidating. Cole really brought his “Eh” game! ACHIEVEMENTS IN HILLBILLY ENGINEERING: JIMMIE JOHNSON Yep pic.twitter.com/vtoJpP56D0 — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) May 30, 2016 The day after the Coca-Cola 600 , Jimmie Johnson posted this gem, featuring an innovative amalgam of a Lowe’s beverage dispenser and PVC pipe. It invokes imagery of Junior Johnson in coveralls, working tirelessly on a moonshine still somewhere in the deep woods, trying to work up a fresh batch while avoiding the watchful eye of Johnny Law. Except instead of Junior Johnson, it’s Jimmie Johnson . But instead of coveralls, he’s likely in a form-fitting Gap v-neck, Tommy Bahama bathing suit and Sperry topsiders. Think Water Cooler Dale is fun to talk to? We guarantee Margarita Cooler Jimmie much more talkative. RISING STAR AWARD: DALE EARNHARDT JR. Nephew Wyatt's first day on the go kart. #NextGeneration #HereWeGoAgain pic.twitter.com/9BvRPGs3A2 — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) July 29, 2016 Imagine being Dale Earnhardt Jr .’s nephew. It is impossible to have a cooler uncle. You can go by his house to play in a Wild West town, see old wrecked race cars, and hang out in a dope treehouse. You also get to turn laps in a go-kart, as Wyatt did in this tweet. Dale himself took a few laps later. They were as slow as you’d expect from a grown adult on a kart with about four horsepower. But he still outran the Premium Motorsports No. 55 car. BEST INSPIRATIONAL TWEET THAT ALSO MADE FANS AFRAID TO SIT IN THE FIRST FEW ROWS OF THE GRANDSTANDS: KEVIN HARVICK My mood for the next 11 weeks. pic.twitter.com/ewssWFvL7G — Kevin Harvick (@KevinHarvick) September 6, 2016 A good tweet and a good animated GIF. But there was confusion as to whether it was metaphorical (As in Kevin Harvick ’s approach in the Chase would be like that of a raging bull) or literal (Before every race, Kevin Harvick will run up in the stands and rip off your pants and boxer shorts with his horns). Regardless, it earned him the nickname "El Toro," which by our count is nickname No. 56. SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN "......HAY GURL….": RYAN BLANEY Who needs coffeee, when you can just look at this... pic.twitter.com/qayVpRwxLZ — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) April 8, 2016 "‘Hay gurl. 'Sup. My name's Ryan. Find me on Tinder. I turn left. U gonna swipe right." "WELL THEN JUST MAINTAIN A CRUISING ALTITUDE OF 4,999 FEET INSTEAD OF FART-SHAMING YOUR DOG” AWARD: DALE EARNHARDT JR. When he gets above 5000 feet he drops an air bagel every 3 minutes. It's awful. I claim mine. #noShame https://t.co/M00AphWFsn — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) April 24, 2016 Gus has quickly learned there’s a price to fame. Sure, you have acres and acres on which to cavort, relieve yourself and hump a live buffalo’s leg, but you also have to accept your Twitter-happy owner oversharing your digestive shortcomings. Maybe it’s not the altitude --maybe you shouldn’t feed him bananas and mayonnaise. Ever think of that? "WEIRD -- THESE M&M’S TASTE LIKE SMALL-KIBBLE BEEF AND CHICKEN FOR PETITE BREEDS" AWARD: BREXTON BUSCH Turned around for .2 seconds pic.twitter.com/WkA1tDIgVj — Samantha Busch (@SamanthaBusch) March 31, 2016 No explanation needed. SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN NOT KNOWING WHERE YOUR GINGER BEARD ENDS AND THE DOG BEGINS: DALE EARNHARDT JR. . @Amy_Reimann driving all us dogs to the groomer. Little one freezin his tail off this cold mornin. We makin due. pic.twitter.com/S9ehO9FF6u — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) April 6, 2016 We realize this is like his 30th Twitter award. Deal with it. When it comes to Twitter, Dale is our own personal Meryl Streep. "WOW -- SO THAT ISN’T ACTUALLY A JOKE" AWARD: CLINT BOWYER Dear @YETICoolers . Good news..these keep a beer crazy cold. BAD news.. I lost my Father's Day present.. Don't float pic.twitter.com/6pL8THO8Fs — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) June 21, 2016 So he DOES actually get distracted by shiny objects. Cray. SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN VANDALIZING YOUR OFFSPRING: LANDON CASSILL No one is safe in our house. Poor helpless lil babe @landoncassill pic.twitter.com/50PlhySXpk — kaitlan cassill (@kaitlancassill) April 26, 2016 Landon spares no one when it comes to distributing the most ubiquitous sticker of 2016 (Aside from that "I Voted" one). Even his own son. Imagine the party when this kid turns 38. "THEY SEE ME ROLLIN’ / THEY HATIN’ / PATROLLIN’ BECAUSE THEY KNOW MY DIAPER’S DIRTY" AWARD: BREXTON BUSCH "Yo, what's up my homie?" pic.twitter.com/YIRX9sXZVq — Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) April 20, 2016 He probably pulled alongside Kyle and offered to sign his hat. "OH HEY -- HELLO AGAIN, LUNCH. SO GREAT TO SEE YOU" AWARD: KEVIN HARVICK Today's pre draining foot status... #nasty pic.twitter.com/E9RSfOpbtd — Kevin Harvick (@KevinHarvick) June 29, 2016 After Sonoma , Kevin Harvick felt it would be prudent to share this picture. Very few free Bloomin’ Onions were handed out that week, because, well, turns out a grotesque, close-up image of a bulbous water-balloon of a blister squashes appetites like a bug. "DO WE TELL HIM THAT'S ACTUALLY A BAT" AWARD: JOEY LOGANO We got Frankie a new friend...meet Luigi Logano pic.twitter.com/dEIBGBTbxj — Joey Logano (@joeylogano) July 6, 2016 Yes, Luigi is cute. But look at those ears. That’s a bat. A damn bat. WIth four legs. Likely the result of some bizarre genetic-splicing experiment that took place deep in the cavernous underground of the Team Penske race shop. It probably sleeps during the day and awakens at night and hangs from the ceiling. And barks in a deep, gruff tone like Christian Bale. That’s a bat. RECOGNITION FOR FAILING TO CONVINCE US THAT IT’S ACTUALLY CALLED A SATCHEL AND THAT INDIANA JONES HAD ONE: TY DILLON @tydillon I love your man bag pic.twitter.com/UO0shRqikb — Haley Dillon (@HaleyKDillon) July 12, 2016 Imagine Ty Dillon getting into a fight like his grandfather. "HOLD MY FASHIONABLE MAN PURSE." "LEAVIN’ THE 'G' OFF GERUNDS BECAUSE THE LADIES BE LOVIN' THAT" AWARD: DALE EARNHARDT JR. Every time @DaleJr says "weddin" it warms my heart #socute — Amy Reimann (@Amy_Reimann) August 2, 2016 Dale Earnhardt Jr . talks like a Cracker Barrel menu. “WE FINALLY FOUND SOMETHING THAT JIMMIE JOHNSON MAY ACTUALLY NOT BE VERY GOOD AT" AWARD: JIMMIE JOHNSON One of those liquid courage moments. I have no skills, this didn't end well. #TBT #2001 @SteveParkee pic.twitter.com/AsOG4FOrL0 — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) August 11, 2016 Jimmie (Who sort of looked like Dave Matthews back in the day) finally confessed to not being absolutely perfect at something! Who knew? Apparently he can’t sing or play guitar. But this is probably before Chad Knaus made a few adjustments on the guitar and Jimmie went back out and performed "Fire And Rain" better than James Taylor ever has. THE "KIDS ARE SO CUTE WHEN THEY COMMIT TREASON" AWARD: JIMMIE JOHNSON @mattkenseth pic.twitter.com/NUhGbdePHq — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) August 10, 2016 Jimmie’s daughter declaring her unwavering support for Matt Kenseth is the surprising part of this tweet. The unsurprising part? That Johnsons can even win at those completely unwinnable claw games. THE "HEY PERSON WHO JUST CAUGHT THAT VERY BIG FISH -- PLEASE LET ME HOLD IT AND TAKE A PICTURE WITH IT THAT I PROMISE I WON’T TWEET OUT AND TELL PEOPLE THAT I ACTUALLY CAUGHT IT. EWWWW THESE THINGS ARE SLIMY AND GROSS" AWARD: JAMIE MCMURRAY Here is a pic of my big fish. BC is one of the most beautiful places I have been in the world. pic.twitter.com/8OxZIE62tX — Jamie McMurray (@jamiemcmurray) August 11, 201 EDITOR’S NOTE: We have no evidence of this. Only hearsay and assump tion. THE " WELL NOW YOU KNOW HOW DANICA FEELS WHENEVER YOU TAKE A TEAM PHOTO" AWARD: KURT BUSCH One man short of a Lithuanian Allstar Basketball team. #waterboy #ballers pic.twitter.com/TSf99KlhvL — Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) June 16, 2016 Next time you post a picture like this, please provide caption information, as we didn’t know which one you were, Kurt. THE "WE JUST HOPE HE DIDN’T ASK YOU TO HOLD ONTO THE RING BEFORE HE POPPED THE QUESTION" AWARD: JOEY LOGANO Congrats to Jordan & Megan! #SheSaidYes pic.twitter.com/Tjy67k88MR — Joey Logano (@joeylogano) September 4, 2016 "Megan...you are the love of my life. And I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you...um...Joey?” (LOGANO CHECKS POCKETS) “MAN I JUST had it, I promise…” THE "OH I SEE SO Y’ALL PEE IN YOUR FIRESUITS EVERY SUNDAY BUT I SOIL THE INFIELD GRASS AND SUDDENLY I’M THE BAD GUY” AWARD: GUS THE DOG Gus fertilized the lawn @CLTMotorSpdwy tonight. pic.twitter.com/hkdfxdhwH1 — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) October 5, 2016 Gus: "Oh wait -- you said 'SIT'? My bad."
Newman's secret to successful proposal? Do it during a fight
RELATED: Newman on his future with RCR Ryan Newman, love guru? The Richard Childress Racing driver had a Chevrolet Q&A with fans ahead of Sunday's Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway and was asked how he proposed to his wife, Krissie, whom he married in 2004. Many people like to have big, memorable moments when they propose to their partner. When Newman popped the question, he was just trying to warm up his future wife's shoulder. "We had this small fight , not a big fight ; she didn't punch me or nothing," Newman said. "She was sitting on a dog pillow petting one of the dogs and I just reached around her and asked her. "I was just trying to get over the fight , was all I was trying to do," Newman added, much to the delight of those listening. Do you want to know how @RyanJNewman proposed to Krissie? @TeamChevy got the answer! pic.twitter.com/v6V7SFYDEO — RCR 31 Cup Team (@RCR31RNewman) July 31, 2016 Hey, that's one way to do it.
@nascarcasm: Townley/Gallagher fight gets the 'Napoleon Dynamite' treatment
RELATED: Townley/Gallagher come to blows " Drivers react to fight
See 'The Fight' like never before -- in reverse
RELATED: See the fight as it actually happened Spencer Gallagher and John Wes Townley engaged in one of the silliest NASCAR fights we've seen this past Saturday night at Gateway Motorsports Park , site of the Camping World Truck Series race. By now, you've seen it a dozen times. Believe it or not, it's actually more awkward when played in reverse. Or is it? You know, we can't tell. It's funny frontwards or backwards, which is really the main takeaway here. Give it a watch.
John Wes Townley apologizes for Gateway fight
RELATED: Townley, Gallagher fight at Gateway NASCAR driver John Wes Townley has issued an apology for his involvement in an on-track altercation a week ago during a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois. Townley was fined $15,000 and placed on probation through Dec. 31, 2016 for his involvement in the altercation with fellow driver Spencer Gallagher during the Drivin for Lineman 200. Gallagher was fined $12,500 and placed on probation through the end of the year. "I want to apologize to NASCAR and my fans," Townley said in the statement. "That's not the way I want to represent myself, (sponsor) Zaxby's or Jive Communications. I'll try my best to make sure it never happens again." The drivers were involved in two separate incidents during the race. The first contact brought out the caution flag on Lap 145 of the 160-lap race. Approximately 10 laps later, they were involved in a second incident, which eventually brought the race under the red flag. Following the second incident, both drivers climbed from their respective trucks and approached one another, with Townley then grabbing Gallagher around the head and wrestling him to the ground. Townley tried several times to punch Gallagher as the pair stood on the lower portion of the racing surface as the fracas continued. Originally scheduled to compete in this weekend's NASCAR XFINITY Series race for Athenian Motorsports at Daytona International Speedway , Townley, 26, and the team eventually withdrew the entry. "Honestly, we went into this season with our sights set on running strong in the Truck Series and ARCA," Townley said. "We've always said that. And we, as a team, don't need to overlook those goals. ... But considering that we have a Truck race (at Kentucky Speedway ) and an ARCA race next week (at Iowa Speedway ), we felt it was better to pour our time and resources into getting ready for next week." Gallagher, who is competing at Daytona this weekend, issued a statement on Monday, June 27, apologizing to Townley. "Additionally, to his team and fans, I am sorry," Gallagher said. "The incident earlier in the race was not intentional and certainly was not meant to cause bigger problems later in the event. "My crew, who have worked so hard to get me to where I am this season, did not deserve to have their night ended in that way. My teammates and all of the guys back at the shop deserve more respect than was shown Saturday night." Gallagher said he was "ashamed" he was involved in an incident "that has allowed so many to view what we do in a negative light." Townley, currently 18th in points, has one career win in the Truck Series in 101 career starts. He is winless in 76 attempts in the XFINITY Series. Gallagher, 26, is winless in 44 career starts in the Truck Series and four in the XFINITY Series. He is 11th in points in the Truck Series.
What we're thankful for, NASCAR edition
The weather is getting colder, the leaves are changing colors, the days are getting shorter ... and there's no on-track NASCAR action for a while. All of the above means one thing: It's Thanksgiving. Given that this is a time to pause and reflect on the many things for which we are thankful, here are some of the many NASCAR-related things the editorial staff of NASCAR.com are thankful for: We are thankful for ... • Jimmie Johnson . NASCAR is fortunate that one of its greatest drivers is also one of its greatest men. -- Brad Norman • Martin Truex Jr .'s mean air guitar on the NASCAR on NBC intro song of "Bringing Back the Sunshine." Truex showed off his rock star-like ability on the track this season in one of the feel-good stories of 2016. Seeing Truex and girlfriend Sherry Pollex tackle her fight with cancer head-on has been especially impactful for me on a personal level as my mother was recently diagnosed with cancer. -- RJ Kraft • Kyle Larson 's penchant for riding the high line ever-so-close to the wall. It adds an element of edge-of-your-seat excitement to any race where he's running in the front because you never know what's going to happen next. -- George Winkler • Seeing the Tide car ride again at Darlington. -- Kathy Sheldon • Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s positivity and transparency. Not many athletes would let fans and media into a very personal concussion recovery process, but Junior has been as honest and upbeat as ever throughout his healing. His continued presence at the track and positive voice in the sport has been a blessing to us all. – Jessica Ruffin • Jimmie Johnson . Being able to work for NASCAR and have a front row seat to history being made with his seventh Sprint Cup Series championship is something I’ll never forget. I'm in awe of his talent. This must be what it was like working for the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s. -- Pat DeCola • SAFER barrier and safety personnel. We haven't stopped writing about injuries, but the instances are much less frequent today. -- Kenny Bruce • Martin Truex Jr ., Sherry Pollex and Barney Visser, who had the courage to do something different and run a race team from Denver. All the time and effort the Furniture Row Racing team puts in is clearly paying off, and I look forward to watching them grow to two teams next season with Erik Jones . -- George Winkler • Night races in the summer heat. -- Kathy Sheldon • Short-track racing. The action at Bristol and Martinsville is typically among the most entertaining of the season. Richmond produced a bump-and-run between teammates in the spring, and Iowa also is a great track. Tempers tend to flare at the smaller venues, and the racing is among the tightest you'll see all season. -- RJ Kraft • Local short tracks. Dirt? Asphalt? Quarter-mile? Three-eighths? Yes. -- Brad Norman • Daytona in February and Homestead in November. There aren't two better places, or tracks, to begin and end a season. All the ones in between? Yeah, they're pretty nice, too. -- Kenny Bruce
Championship experiences have Johnson at ease for Miami
RELATED: Chase Grid entering Miami " All of Johnson's wins MORE: Buy tickets for Homestead-Miami Championship Weekend Jimmie Johnson might be the most accomplished NASCAR racing champion of his era, but the six-time Sprint Cup champ has also had to be one of its most adaptive. No one in the history of NASCAR has won titles in so many variations of the title Chase – from fluctuating numbers of championship-eligible drivers to navigating a new elimination-style format. And this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Ford EcoBoost 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), Johnson will go for a record-tying seventh trophy in his first appearance in the three-year old version of the Championship 4. He'll have to best the other three title-eligible drivers Carl Edwards , Joey Logano and Kyle Busch in a one-race showdown. It's a championship scenario like no other for Johnson. "It's definitely different, there's just no way around that," Johnson said with a slight laugh. "The way I've won championships before, it was a 10-race, stressful environment. "The way things unfolded for me this year, I had three stressful races worrying about points. I won Charlotte, had a couple weeks off, then I won Martinsville, had a couple weeks off, and then go back to the stress again. "I think it's different for every driver and every team every year just because you have these little three-race increments to fight through." Yet, listening to the tone of Johnson's voice as he sizes up the newest championship situation, there is an unmistakeable confidence. It comes from owning six of the sport's most coveted trophies already and having now earned a shot of reaching a historical milestone shared only by Hall of Famers Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt. RELATED: How Johnson became 'Six-Time' After clinching the first of the four championship berths for the Homestead-Miami season finale, Johnson and his No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet team have had plenty of time to prepare – mechanically and mentally. And, he insists, there is something to that. "I would have to say yes, there is some advantage to it, but every team works a little differently," Johnson said. "Some teams operate better under pressure, from executing pit calls to driving the car, to pit stops, but this is giving us a bit of time to just focus on Homestead that we wouldn't normally have. "I know from my preparation side, I glanced at my Texas race notes, glanced at my Phoenix notes, but I've been all-in on Homestead for two weeks now. I've read my notes multiple times, watched videos over and over and over, and was doing it again last night so it has given me more time to prepare. "There's a little something in that. But who knows until it's all said and done." RELATED: Inside Johnson's quest for 80 wins Of the four drivers who will be competing this week, only Edwards participated in NASCAR's test at the site of the season finale last month. Although not behind the wheel, Johnson was on-site the second day of testing and got some valuable feedback from his teammate Chase Elliott , who represented the Hendrick Motorsports organization at track. "If I was able to get in the car and test there, it would have helped me without a doubt," Johnson said. "I watched Chase and was on the radio, studying lines and data and all the things I could do. "So I've at least been there and picked up the South Florida vibes," he added with a laugh. The new "must win" format suits Johnson well, he says, even though he has never needed to pull out a victory at Homestead to hoist the big trophy. His runner-up showing to Edwards still produced the 2010 championship (a race he entered 15 points behind Denny Hamlin in the standings) and is his best finish there to date. He has three consecutive ninth-place showings entering Sunday's race. RELATED: See every Miami winner Yet, in his unprecedented five consecutive championship years between 2006-2010, Johnson won the title by a combined 382 points. The slimmest margin was 39 points over Denny Hamlin in 2010. The greatest margin was 141 points over Mark Martin in 2009. He won again in 2013 by 19 points over Matt Kenseth . Of his two near-misses, Johnson finished runner-up to Kenseth by 90 points in 2003 and a paltry eight-points to Kurt Busch in 2004. The oh-so-close loss to Busch in 2004 and a third-place finish in the standings (by one point to runner-up Clint Bowyer and 40 to champion Brad Keselowski ) in 2012 were among the closest things have been in Homestead for Johnson. Two of his competitors this week, Edwards and Kyle Busch , would appear more experienced with the pressure that exists in ultra-close championship situations. Edwards finished runner-up to Johnson in 2008 and again in 2011, losing a tiebreaker with champ Tony Stewart . And Busch won his title last season in this new format – winning at Homestead. RELATED: Jimmie through the years But Johnson truly isn't phased. "I guess Carl's year with Tony was a must-win situation," Johnson recalled. "For myself, in 2012 with Brad, we were in a must-win. They were leading the race and we had a problem with an oil leak in the rear end. One of the lines was rubbing and it wore a hole in the line. "So, I feel like the times we've had to go down and be aggressive, we've been in the mix. We had to go down there and beat Denny [Hamlin] once. I feel like we can answer the call. I really do. It is different than any championship environment I've had down there but I also feel like I have a big advantage mentally. "I kind of joked about this on the TV broadcast over the weekend. Worse case scenario, I still have six championships. "I really feel like I have the most open mind and the most pure approach out of the drivers to come in. … I'm all about the racing, I don't have any additional pressure. The pressure I felt in '03, and '04 and failed both times and the pressure I felt in '06 and '07 to win again, each year the pressure has come down more and more. I really hope that's an advantage I can carry with me through Homestead weekend. And, he added, "The other thing about being calm and relaxed. … when you're prepared you're more at ease and relaxed. I'm going to be more prepared for Homestead than I've ever been. Getting ready for this Chase and the things I've done … I've never been this involved, this committed and this intense. "Hopefully it will allow me to be even more relaxed and to operate from the right place at Homestead." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Jones, Sadler, Allgaier react to disappointing title loss
RELATED: Results " Chase Grid " End-of-season standings HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- The three championship-eligible drivers who didn't hoist the XFINITY Series trophy Saturday evening stood on Homestead-Miami Speedway 's pit road looking both perplexed and disappointed. A restart with three laps remaining bogged down the field and allowed Daniel Suarez to emerge from the front-running pack of contenders and race off to the win and his first NASCAR championship -- a first for a Latin American driver. RELATED: The road to a title " Community reacts to Suarez's win For that final restart Cole Whitt , who had run mid-pack all night, stayed off pit road to inherit the lead once the race returned to green. However, he spun his tires and was unable to accelerate, affecting Suarez's competition as they were lined up behind Whitt's struggling No. 14. "I'd love to hear an explanation from him and the crew chief," said Joe Gibbs Racing driver Erik Jones , who finished ninth after getting caught up behind Whitt. "It just didn't make any sense. Staying out there on old tires with the four championship guys right behind. I'd love to hear why he didn't go in the restart. There's a lot of questions I'd like to have answered." The other XFINITY Series championship-eligible drivers, Elliott Sadler (who finished third) and Justin Allgaier (who finished sixth), were similarly frustrated with the situation. For his part, Whitt told reporters in the XFINITY Series garage his team didn't have any more tires left to change and that he tried to move out of the way of the title contenders on the restart. "It's as simple as the fact that we just didn't have any tires," said Whitt, who finished 18th. "We didn't expect everybody to come in like that, and I was like, I knew this was going to be a handful. "I thought if I was on the outside I would have the most room for them to go underneath me if anything happened and I couldn't get going. With him (Sadler) hitting me, I couldn't get going and it was just making me spin the tires worse. Obviously if you could redo it, you would change the way you did it. It's not like we were out there to screw anybody over." RELATED: Sadler: 'It's heartbreaking' It was of little consolation to the three championship runners-up, who all were among the top six on the final restart. Suarez was behind Sadler on the older tires and able to get around quickly to take off for the flag. Both Jones and Allgaier were caught up behind Whitt's slower car. "The dejection of knowing the race came down to three laps. …" Allgaier said, after taking a few private moments to digest the outcome. WATCH: Allgaier upbeat despite loss "That call (by Whitt's team) may work at Daytona and Talladega or somewhere and put you in a good spot but tonight, with what was at stake with all four of us going to restart in the top-five … the battle for the championship was going to be epic. It's a shame. "Tonight doesn't define our season, though. These guys at JR Motorsports have done an amazing job all year long. To come down to this moment is so disappointing. We all held our heads really high that we were able to make the final four and to come into here with the great opportunity to fight for the championship." MORE: Whitt explains his side of things After having a few minutes to digest the situation, Sadler explained that the toughest part of the night was finishing as XFINITY Series championship runner-up for the third time in his career (2011 and 2012) after being ranked either first or second in the standings for all but one week this season. But he insisted he will leave South Florida more encouraged. "From (his team owners) Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) and Kelley (Earnhardt Miller) all the way down through everybody in the shop, they work their butts off to make sure we had a legitimate shot at holding up that trophy tonight, and that's what hurts the most is you don't know until the checkered flag if you're going to hold the trophy or not," Sadler said. "It's just part of this format, but it's great for the fans. I think it's great for our sport. It shows a lot of emotion and I think tonight's race played out the way it should be. But all four of us really raced hard with each other up front and Daniel just got the better of us tonight." &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;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;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
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).