Noah Gragson wrecks teammate, takes Bristol win in OT
Noah Gragson fended off a three-wide challenge for the lead in overtime to earn his first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
On the start of the two-lap overtime, Gragson led the way and Brandon Jones tried to make it three-wide as Chase Briscoe went to the inside of Gragson into Turn 2.
Gragson emerged with the lead and held off Briscoe to win Monday night’s Cheddar’s 300, his second career series win of the season. He began the year winning the season-opener at Daytona.
Gragson got the opportunity for the win after getting into his JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier while battling for the lead with five of 300 laps remaining in regulation.
“I really apologize to Justin and the No. 7 team. That’s really not how I want to race,” Gragson said. “I saw the position open up. He kind of slipped off the bottom the lap before. I tried to get to the bottom and I just got too loose.
“This track is like ice out there right now. We were just slipping and sliding. What a heck of a night for this No. 9 team. Man, I’m worn out.
“It’s Bristol, baby! This is incredible. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I suck here. I’ve been terrible here in Trucks and in Xfinity last year. My crew chief believed in me and wanted me to come back and run with him. Dave Elenz is the man.”
Jones ended up third, Harrison Burton was fourth and Myatt Snider rounded out the top-five.
Allgaier took the loss in stride.
“There’s a lot bigger stuff going on in this world. My heart is heavy,” he said. “I’ve prayed a lot, with the death of George Floyd and the unrest. A lot has to change in our society.”
Gragson, Briscoe, Jones and Burton – the top four series regulars in the race – qualified to compete for the first $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
On Lap 248, Tommy Joe Martins looped his car around off Turn 4 to bring out a caution. The lead-lap cars elected to pit with Riley Herbst the first off pit road thanks to a two-tire pit stop.
On the restart on Lap 256, Herbst was followed by Allgaier, Gragson, Justin Haley and Daniel Hemric, all of whom took four new tires.
As the cars entered Turn 3 after the restart, Herbst got loose and went up the track and into Haley, also collecting Ryan Sieg and Colby Howard.
On the restart on Lap 265, Allgaier was followed by Gragson, Haley (who suffered right-side damage), Jones and Hemric.
Howard pounded the wall off Turn 2 on Lap 287 to bring out another caution. On the restart on Lap 294, Allgaier continued to lead the way followed by Gragson, Briscoe and Burton.
On Lap 296, Gragson got into Allgaier off Turn 2 battling for the lead, which brought out another caution. Gragson led the way on the restart as the race headed into a two-lap overtime.
Allgaier furiously held off a stiff challenge from Gragson to claim the Stage 2 victory.
Haley was third, Burton fourth and Briscoe rounded out the top-five.
Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, most lead-lap cars pit with Jones the first car off pit road. Hemric was penalized for speeding on pit road and had to restart from the rear of the field.
On the restart on Lap 99, Burton – who did not pit – led the way followed by Jones and Allgaier.
Timmy Hill spun off Turn 2 on Lap 102 to bring the caution back out. The race returned to green on Lap 109 with Burton still in command.
A.J. Allmendinger got into a lazy spin in the middle of Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 124 and made contact with Kody Vanderwal to bring out another caution. Burton stayed out and led the way on Lap 129.
Allgaier powered around Burton off Turn 2 to grab the lead for the first time in the race.
Patrick Emerling hit the wall in Turn 3 on Lap 143 to bring out a caution. NASCAR immediately red flagged the race to clean the enormous amount of fluid that covered the track in the area of the accident.
The race returned to yellow after a nearly 10-minute delay. The race returned to green on Lap 148 with Allgaier leading the way.
With 15 laps remaining in the second stage, Allgaier held a small lead over Gragson with Haley in third.
Once in the lead, Gragson cruised to the Stage 1 victory over Allgaier. It’s Gragson’s third stage win of the 2020 season.
Briscoe was third, Haley fourth and Hemric rounded out the top-five.
Burton, who started on the pole as a result of a random draw, led the way until Lap 6 when caution was displayed for an incident that collected Ross Chastain, Austin Cindric and Michael Annett.
Both Cindric and Annett suffered extensive damage which brought their respective races to an early end.
The race returned to green on Lap 16 with Burton in the lead followed by Jones and Haley.
With 55 laps remaining in the first stage, Burton held a small lead over Haley as Gragson remained close behind in third.
On Lap 36, NASCAR issued a competition caution to allow teams to check for tire wear. Most drivers remained on the track and Burton continued to lead when the race returned to green on Lap 43.
Gragson went to the inside of Burton off Turn 4 to grab the led for the first time on Lap 46,
A caution was displayed on Lap 63 for debris in Turn 3. Most lead-lap cars remained on the track and Gragson led the way on the restart on Lap 69. He was followed by Briscoe and Haley.
With 10 laps to go in the stage, Gragson held a solid lead over Allgaier and Briscoe ran third.
Carson Ware started the race from the rear of the field as a result of unapproved adjustments after impound.
|15||0||Jeffrey Earnhardt||Chevrolet||301||2 laps|
|16||39||Ryan Sieg||Chevrolet||300||3 laps||6|
|17||11||Justin Haley||Chevrolet||299||4 laps||1|
|18||7||Justin Allgaier||Chevrolet||297||6 laps||156|
|19||15||Colby Howard||Chevrolet||296||7 laps|
|20||74||Bayley Currey||Chevrolet||295||8 laps|
|21||52||Kody Vanderwal||Chevrolet||293||10 laps|
|22||07||Carson Ware||Chevrolet||289||14 laps|
|23||44||Tommy Joe Martins||Chevrolet||284||19 laps|
|24||13||Chad Finchum||Toyota||277||26 laps|
|25||5||Matt Mills||Chevrolet||268||35 laps|
|26||4||Jesse Little||Chevrolet||260||43 laps|
|27||18||Riley Herbst||Toyota||256||47 laps||4|
|28||10||Ross Chastain||Chevrolet||255||48 laps|
|29||02||Patrick Emerling||Chevrolet||140||163 laps|
|30||99||Mason Massey||Toyota||111||192 laps|
|31||90||Ronnie Bassett Jr.||Chevrolet||77||226 laps|
|32||47||Joe Nemechek||Chevrolet||69||234 laps|
|33||36||Alex Labbé||Chevrolet||41||262 laps|
|34||66||Stephen Leicht||Toyota||23||280 laps|
|35||93||Jeff Green||Chevrolet||19||284 laps|
|36||22||Austin Cindric||Ford||8||295 laps|
|37||1||Michael Annett||Chevrolet||5||298 laps|
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