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The Latest: Suarez has support from Mexican billionaire

(AP Photo/Terry Renna)

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) The Latest on NASCAR's Cup Series championship (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

Carlos Slim Domit, the son of a billionaire businessman who has long backed driver Daniel Suarez, says he will continue to support NASCAR's first Mexican champion in 2019.

"It's been a very nice season and hopefully we have good news for next year," Domit said Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "We all feel very proud of what he has accomplished."

Suarez, who won the 2016 Xfinity championship, is out at Joe Gibbs Racing after just two seasons in the Cup Series as the team makes room for Martin Truex Jr. Suarez has been linked to Stewart-Haas Racing as a potential landing spot.

Suarez won the pole at Pocono and had just three top-five finishes this season. He's 20th in the standings.

Suarez declined this weekend to discuss his 2019 plans.

Domit said NASCAR has "been supporting diversity for a long time," and Suarez's success was an example of that commitment.


1:20 p.m.

Actor Josh Dallas showed up for the NASCAR finale and professed his love for IndyCar.

Dallas is serving as the grand marshal at Homestead-Miami Speedway and will give the command for drivers to start their engines.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Dallas grew up watching races. But when asked for details, he laughed and acknowledged he was an IndyCar fan who has been to several Indianapolis 500 events.

"I'm an Andretti guy," he said.

He also is a Martin Truex Jr. guy. Dallas says he's pulling for the defending Cup Series champion to repeat because he "loves Truex's story."

Furniture Row Racing, a one-car team based in Denver, teamed with Truex in 2014 and dominated the series in 2017. The team also is shutting down after the finale because of sponsorship troubles.

Dallas is best known for his roles as Prince Charming in the ABC television series "Once Upon a Time" and Fandral in the Marvel Comics adaptation of "Thor." He currently stars in the NBC drama series "Manifest."


12 p.m.

Jimmie Johnson is fresh-faced for his farewell race with crew chief Chad Knaus.

Johnson, the seven-time NASCAR champion, surprised the sport when he showed up at Homestead-Miami Speedway clean shaven for the first time in nearly a dozen years. Johnson tweeted a photo of a razor with the caption, "I'm all in for the throwback weekend!" Johnson, a fitness freak, looked about as baby-faced as he did as a rookie in 2002. It's part of a throwback weekend that honors his history with Knaus and sponsor Lowe's. Johnson has been paired with both for 17 years, but he's splitting from his crew chief next season and Lowe's is leaving NASCAR.

The 43-year-old Johnson is facing his first winless season in 17 seasons.

NASCAR poked fun at Johnson's retro look with a tweet that said, "2002 called, it wants its look back."

Johnson's salt-and-pepper beard does remain, however, at least on the official emoji on his Twitter feed.


11:30 a.m.

NASCAR believes it can weather its current decline and the best days for the sport are ahead.

To get there, NASCAR President Steve Phelps says "everything's in play" as the sanctioning body tries to lead the sport out of its downturn.

Phelps held his first news conference as NASCAR's president on Sunday just hours before the championship-deciding season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He said nothing is off limits in discussions for the 2020 schedule, which may include doubleheaders, midweek races, a tightened schedule, shorter races and even a potential shared event schedule with IndyCar.

Phelps reiterated the France family is optimistic about the future of NASCAR and that Jim France has been heavily involved since replacing nephew Brian as chairman and CEO in August.

Brian France was charged with drunken driving in August and has been on leave from his family business. Phelps replaced Brian France at the annual state-of-the-sport meeting with reporters and offered an optimistic outlook on the future of NASCAR.


10:50 a.m.

NASCAR's Cup Series champion will be decided Sunday when title contenders Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. take the green flag at the season finale.

The highest finisher among the four at Homestead-Miami Speedway will earn the trophy. The other 36 drivers in the 40-car field are likely to stay mostly out of the way.

Busch is the 2015 champion and has momentum from winning last week at Phoenix. He also has the most coveted pit stall thanks to a controversial decision Saturday.

Harvick is the 2014 champion and eked into the finale after getting stripped of a victory and an automatic berth two weeks ago at Texas because of an illegal part. Logano is seeking his first title after finishing as runner-up in 2016. Truex is the defending Cup Series champion whose Furniture Row Racing team is shutting down after the race.

Truex is moving to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2019, one of a number of series changes on the horizon.

The most notable: Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus are parting ways after 17 years together. Sponsor Lowe's also is leaving NASCAR.


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Updated November 18, 2018

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