Race Weekend Central

Noah Gragson Moves Teammate Justin Allgaier for Cheddar’s 300 Victory at Bristol

Noah Gragson claimed a controversial second win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season Monday night after wrecking teammate Justin Allgaier in the closing laps.


The Bristol carnage started well prior. Six laps into the race, Ross Chastain had a tire go down off turn 4, sending the No. 10 up the track and collecting Austin Cindric and Michael Annett. Cindric and Annett would finish next to last and last, respectively.

Harrison Burton in the No. 20 led early, but Gragson took the lead after a restart on lap 46. Burton would later tangle with the No. 47 of Joe Nemechek, which caused Burton’s strategy to change after pitting to repair the damage. Staying out after stage one (won by Gragson), Burton had the lead for the start of stage two. Burton would hold onto the lead until Allgaier passed him after a restart on lap 129. From there, Allgaier held the lead for most of the race.

The second stage saw several good runs about ruined. The first belonged to Vinnie Miller in the No. 78 car when he and Timmy Hill spun on lap 103 (Miller later recovered and finished 12th). AJ Allmendinger‘s up and down night started with a spin on lap 125. Allmendinger raced back up to eighth place before a right-front tire went flat. Getting a free pass on the last caution, Allmendinger went on to score a top 10 for Kaulig Racing.

Stage two also saw the only red flag of the race fly for Patrick Emerling, who was making his Xfinity Series debut for Our Motorsports. Emerling was turned on the straightaway and hit the inside wall hard, causing oil to be spilled all over turn 3. The red flag lasted about 10 minutes.

After Allgaier won the second stage, the longest green-flag run happened as the Xfinity Series field ran 65 laps under green. A late-race caution inside of 60 to go for Tommy Joe Martins‘s wreck led to a strategy call by crew chief Dave Rogers to send Riley Herbst off pit road with left-side tires only. The plan backfired. On the lap 256 restart, Herbst drifted up off of turn 2 into Justin Haley and wrecked.

Herbst finished 27th. Haley originally stayed out with the damage but cut a tire down under green. Haley soldiered to a 17th-place finish, four laps down.

After another caution flew when Colby Howard‘s left-front tire went down, Allgaier and Gragson dueled it out for the win inside of 10 to go. Allgaier, who led 156 laps, got loose, and Gragson took full advantage of the bottom of the racetrack. With four laps to go, Gragson drove the car hard into the corner and drifted up into Allgaier. Allgaier wrecked and finished a disappointing 18th place.

That set up the second green-white-checkered finish for an Xfinity Series race this year. In overtime, Gragson held off Chase Briscoe, who just about spun him on the white flag lap.

The win was the 48th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports. Gragson, who apologized to Allgaier and the No. 7 team over the radio during the cool-down lap and his post-race interview, has already doubled the number of laps he led last season at this point in 2020.

Briscoe, Brandon Jones, Burton and Myatt Snider made up the remainder of the top five.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will have a quick turnaround as it heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway on June 6 for the Echo Park 250 at 4:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

About the author

Jared Haas joined the Frontstretch staff in May 2020. A graduate of Cedarville University in December 2019, Jared has been followed NASCAR since 2006.

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