Noah Gragson held off Ty Gibbs and AJ Allmendinger on a late restart to claim his eighth victory of the year in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Contender Boats 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway Saturday (Oct. 22), locking his place in the Championship 4.
It was redemption for Gragson after he crashed into the back of David Starr with a 15-second lead last year.
Gragson dominated the night, sweeping the stages and leading 127 laps. After a caution came out for a crash involving Stefan Parsons and Kyle Sieg entering turn 1 with 13 laps remaining, Gragson and other leaders pitted, with the No. 9 getting out front. Gragson then held on for his 13th career win.
“We just kicked their ass, baby, let’s go!” Gragson exclaimed after the race. “Yeah, I wanted this one so bad, last three years. Words can’t describe how thankful I am for everybody at JR Motorsports, just unbelievable. …
“I was driving my ass off, threw em up on the dash. Takes a lot of focus to run up on the fence like that. Pit crew did a great job, really grateful.”
Gragson joins teammate Josh Berry in the Championship 4 at Phoenix Raceway.
A couple of incidents brought out the caution early on, the first one coming on lap 3. JJ Yeley was running in the second lane with Jeb Burton and Riley Herbst staggered on the outside in lanes three and four. Yeley got loose and was clipped by Burton and turned right into Herbst and in the outside wall, ending his day early.
Gragson was well on his way to his first win at Homestead when the caution came out for the Parsons-Sieg incident. Simultaneously, Nick Sanchez also had big right-side damage after he hit the wall. When he came down pit road, his right front wheel well area was on fire.
Hill was very strong, as was Berry. However, both drivers fell victim to tire issues. Berry cut a tire after wall contact, while Hill pitted with 47 laps to go with a vibration. Both drivers ended up off-sequence and having to make up ground.
In Berry’s case, he was up to second and looking good before the final yellow caught him out with no more fresh tires in the pits. As a result, Berry finished 11th.
Hill, meanwhile, made contact with Brandon Jones with about 26 laps to go when Jones appeared to squeeze the No. 21 up against the wall a bit. Hill recovered from the contact to finish ninth, while Jones ended in 15th place.
With one race remaining before Phoenix Raceway, only Berry and Gragson are locked into the Championship 4. Gibbs is 30 points above the cut line, while Allmendinger is five above. Allgaier and Hill are five and seven points, respectively, below the cut line.
Xfinity drivers next take on Martinsville Speedway for the penultimate race of the year. The Dead On Tools 250 airs on Oct. 29 at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.
About the author
Joy joined Frontstretch in 2019 as a NASCAR DraftKings writer, expanding to news and iRacing coverage in 2020. She's currently an assistant editor while continuing to write daily fantasy and news articles. A California native, Joy was raised as a motorsports fan 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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