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Erik Jones earns second straight NASCAR Rookie of the Year honors

Erik Jones says that his team showed a "valiant effort" in the Xfinity Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway despite being stuck behind Cole Whitt on the late restart.

Erik Jones came up short of his second consecutive NASCAR championship Saturday, but he can take consolation in earning his second straight Rookie of the Year title.

Jones, who won the NASCAR Truck Series championship and Rookie of the Year honors in 2015, was named NASCAR Xfinity Series 2016 Rookie of the Year on Saturday.

Jones now has the potential to earn a third consecutive Rookie of the Year award in 2017, when he moves up to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, driving alongside Martin Truex Jr. for Furniture Row Racing.

Jones finished ninth in Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300, and criticized Cole Whitt for a slow restart that prevented Jones from making one last bid for the win and championship in the final laps.

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