Noah Gragson held off Harrison Burton in a two-lap time beyond regulation shootout at at Darlington Raceway on Saturday for his first NASCAR Xfinity Collection victory of the season
DARLINGTON, S.C. — Noah Gragson held off Harrison Burton in a two-lap time beyond regulation shootout at at Darlington Raceway on Saturday for his first NASCAR Xfinity Collection victory of the season.
Gragson started his week by extending his deal to drive the sequence for JR Motorsports in 2022 and capped it together with his third profession win — and first ever on the observe “Too Powerful To Tame.”
“That is Darlington, I am unable to consider it,” Gragson mentioned.
It appeared like nobody, together with Gragson, would be capable to outrun Cup Collection star Denny Hamlin late within the race. However a warning got here out with 10 laps to go and when Hamlin went into pit, there was a tire already over the wall ready — a no no within the NASCAR rule ebook — and he was despatched to the again of the these on the lead lap.
Gragson wasn’t certain what occurred to Hamlin, however thought his crew had made the suitable changes on that pit cease to provide him the automotive he wanted to compete with Hamlin and anybody else over the ultimate laps.
“Yeah, after that warning if he would have stayed up there, we’d’ve been in a position to battle, at the least had shot to win it,” Gragson mentioned.
Two different sturdy contenders in Daniel Hemric and factors chief AJ Allmendinger each fell off within the closing stretch. Hemric slid whereas Allmendinger’s automotive shedded particles that led to the ultimate warning on the 144th of 147 laps and the time beyond regulation.
Gragson dealt with that problem, too. He shot out in entrance within the excessive lane closest to Darlington’s famed wall as Burton tried to go low.
Burton pulled alongside Gragson on each time beyond regulation laps, however couldn’t transfer in entrance.
Burton held on for second whereas Austin Cindric was third. Justin Haley completed fourth adopted by Jeb Burton, Justin Allgaier, Cup Collection common Tyler Reddick, Jeremy Clements, Myatt Snider and Alex Labbe making up the highest 10.
Cindric thought he had a shot to catch Gragson and Burton, however waited a tick too lengthy within the restart zone in time beyond regulation and couldn’t catch up. “That is the secret,” he mentioned.
Allmendinger completed twentieth whereas Cindric moved inside a degree of the standings chief with two races left within the Xfinity common season.
Hamlin completed twelfth after main 43 laps, probably the most of any driver. Hamlin, nonetheless, gave himself a stable preview of the observe — and its repaved and repaired flip two — for Sunday evening’s Southern 500 and the primary NASCAR Cup Collection playoff race.
Hamlin is seeded seventh within the 16-man playoff subject.
Gragson hadn’t gained since Bristol in June 2020. After a burnout, Gragson and a few of his crew members climbed the fence at Darlington to have a good time with followers.
“It has been a very long time,” an excited Gragson mentioned.
Cindric left right here second in factors behind chief AJ Allmendiner.
Daniel Hemric began on the pole and gained opening stage when chief Hamlin slid coming to the start-finish line. Hamlin was out entrance within the second stage and appeared like he was headed to his sixth profession Xfinity victory at Darlington earlier than the late pit mistake.
There are two races remaining at Richmond and Bristol earlier than the Xfinity’s 12-man playoff begins.
Extra AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP
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