"When I dove down into 1, I thought he was going to give it to me and I was going to slide in front of him," Sadler said, lamenting that this was the closest he has come to a championship in a pro career that is older than Byron. "And he just gassed it and pinched me down. That was it. That's pretty hard to swallow.
Said Preece: "I can't not listen to my owner, the guy who's paying you in the end, so it's just a tough deal. It's crappy in the end -- but I hate controversy. ... To be honest with you, if there's a person you don't want to cost a championship to it's Elliott Sadler."
Sadler was despondent.
"I've been racing a long time," Sadler said. "I would say tonight is the most devastated and down-and-out I've felt in my career.
Cole Custer, 19, also capped his rookie year with a title. He finished first in the EcoBoost 300 for the first win of his career.
"We just had an extremely good car, the whole weekend really," Custer said. "We came down here and tested it a couple months ago, and the second we hit the track we knew we were going to be good the whole time."
Driving for Stewart-Haas Racing, Custer, who won all three stages, had a perfect driver rating of 150.0 Saturday, the only driver to accomplish that in the Xfinity Series in 2017.
Team Penske won the Xfinity Series owners championship Saturday, its fourth in the past five years.
Penske's No. 22 car had four wins, 23 top-five finishes and 28 top-10 finishes this season. The last of those came Saturday, when Sam Hornish Jr. came in second.
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