Race Weekend Central

Noah Gragson Holds Off Ty Gibbs, Claims Xfinity Win at Pocono

Noah Gragson defended well against Ty Gibbs in the final laps to win the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ Explore the Pocono Mountains 225 at Pocono Raceway Saturday (July 23).

On lap 69, Gragson got by his JR Motorsports teammate Josh Berry to take the lead. Gragson then raced a clean battle with Gibbs to win his third race of the season and eighth of his career.

Gibbs came in second, while Berry finished third. AJ Allmendinger and Sheldon Creed rounded out the top five.

“That was probably the best I’ve ever driven there,” Gragson told NBC Sports after the race. “Damn, I’m wore out, it really wasn’t that hard of a race. Working my ass off there to keep the (No.) 54 back, he’s pretty fast. Luke Lambert and the rest of this 50th Anniversary Bass Pro Shop/Black Rifle Coffee/True Timber team did an unbelievable job with coming down pit road there and putting four tires on.

“Man I had to work for it, Parker, it was tough. Just gaining tight, tight, tight. I didn’t think, with 15 to go, I didn’t think I could hold him off but we just keep digging. This team is unbelievable.”

Ty Gibbs also talked about his run in the closing laps.

“It definitely hurt us being on a tire advantage but I was so surprised being able to hang with the [No.] 9 when he was on rights,” Gibbs said. “Great car, just didn’t put it together, I feel like that was on my part I just made some mistakes. We’ll come back at it next weekend.

“I just put myself in a bad position there but I always love racing out here. Congratulations to the [No.] 9 team.”

“We both went in there side-by-side and I just lost my side force and got loose under him, but that’s racing,” Gibbs said about the battle. “I put myself in that position. I feel like I definitely have to look back and see what other options I had.”

Sam Mayer, Justin Allgaier, Austin Hill, Daniel Hemric and Cole Custer completed the top 10 finishers.

The race saw some pretty big moments, both early on and in stage three.

Around lap 2, Rajah Caruth tried to slide up behind Alex Labbe coming off of turn 3 and didn’t clear him. Both cars turned left hard into the inside wall, ending their days early.

Then in stage three, the Big One occurred when Santino Ferrucci got loose off of turn 3 and slid right in front of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The No. 48 crunched its front nose and spun down across the track as Jeb Burton tried to thread the needle. Unfortunately, Burton ran out of room, getting tagged by Stenhouse and flipping over on his lid.

Burton was OK but did not finish for the second race in a row.

A couple of other drivers also had major damage from the accident, including Ronnie Bassett Jr. and Jeremy Clements.

Soon after the race went back to green, Sammy Smith got loose while racing with Landon Cassill and made slight contact before spinning around and rear-ending the wall.

Meanwhile, JR Motorsports swept the stages, with Allgaier taking the opening stage and Gragson claiming stage two. Allgaier ended up speeding on his last pit stop on lap 54, leaving him at the back of the field on the next restart. He recovered from this to finish seventh.

In the end, Gragson got back out in front and kept the lead from Gibbs.

Xfinity Results from Pocono

The Xfinity Series turns left and right next Saturday, July 30 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. The race will air at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

About the author

Joy Tomlinson

Joy joined Frontstretch in 2019 as a NASCAR DraftKings writer, expanding to news and iRacing coverage in 2020. She's currently an assistant editor and involved with photos, social media and news editing. A California native, Joy was raised watching motorsports and started watching NASCAR extensively in 2001. She earned her B.A. degree in Liberal Studies at California State University Bakersfield in 2010.

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Carl D.

Noah had the car to beat. Gibbs had a car that might have done it, but not the tires.

Man, those crashes were brutal. Glad everyone is okay.

DoninAjax

The first TV timeout was laps 41-35 and took 9:44. The second was laps 41-45 and took 10 minutes. Lots of commercial and useless drivel.

Burton was going to go down pit road but changed his mind and got crunched. Wrong decision.

I think Gibbs was surprised when he side-swiped Gragson heading to the tunnel turn and Gragson didn’t back off. That hadn’t happened before.

johndawgchapman

That was certainly a hard fought, & clean battle, & I do like clean hard racing.

But I do have admit, being as I’m not particularly fond of either one of them. I wouldn’t have been disappointed to have seen them take each other out. And hand the win to Berry, & I thought a couple times that was a sure thing, but they pulled it off so well done.

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