Noah Gragson won Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series opening race at Daytona, winning in a three-lap shootout that would end under caution.

For Gragson, this marks his first ever NASCAR Xfinity Series victory in his 37th career start.

“I’m so thankful for the opportunity,” Gragson told FS1 post-race. “Man I’m speechless right now, I didn’t think this would come. I spent a lot of time with Dale Jr. this week talking for about two hours. Wanted to be a better speedway racer. He told me ‘go have fun, wreckers or checkers, you got to manage your gaps, be there at the end and just lead the damn thing.’ That’s what we did.”

For Jr Motorsports, this is their third straight win in the February race at Daytona.

Driver No. 9 had to rebound from a speeding penalty on Lap 32. This was the fifth time in the last seven races that the winner rebounded from a penalty during the race.

Gragson led 15 laps of the race and beat out Harrison Burton, Timmy Hill, Brandon Jones and Chase Briscoe rounding out the top five.

Harrison Burton earned his best finish (second) in his 10 Xfinity Series starts and his second top five place finish.

The race would end under caution due to a massive wreck on the back straightaway on the final lap.

The late-race restart was set up by a wreck on a restart with seven laps to go.

The wreck collected Jeb Burton, Austin Cindric, Ryan Sieg, Brett Moffitt and others. It started when Briscoe, who took the lead moved up to block Gragson as the field entered Turn 3. Harrison Burton, running behind Gragson had to check up and was turned by Cindric. Burton collected Jones before turning back into the wall.

The wreck would result in a red flag that would last nearly eight minutes.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Feb. 22 in the running of the Boyd Gaming 300. Coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1.

 

Stage 1 Winner: Jeb Burton

Stage 2 Winner: Justin Allgaier

Race Winner: Noah Gragson

Erik Jones won Sunday’s wrecked filled Busch Clash at Daytona International Speedway.

Jones survived four wrecks in the late stages of the race and plus three overtime restarts to win Sunday’s Busch Clash at Daytona International Speedway.

Driver No. 20 had arguably the most damaged car of the six cars that finished the race.

Jones received a push from his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, who was a lap down and pushed Jones passed Ryan Newman and Austin Dillion on the final lap to claim the win.

The fourth wreck of the day occurred in Turn 4 as result of contact between Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson.

The third wreck occurred on the first attempt at overtime, when Denny Hamlin lost control of his car while trying to block Elliott’s attempt to take the lead and spun out.

The second wreck occurred before the field even took the green flag with three laps to go. William Byron spun and was hit from behind by Kevin Harvick, which also collected Martin True Jr., Kyle Larson, Austin Dillion, Clint Bowyer and others as well.

The first wreck of the afternoon occurred when Joey Logano was leading and trying to hold off a charge from Kyle Busch when they made contact as they both exited Turn 4. That would cause Busch to loose control and collect Logano. Brad Keselowski was also collected. Ryan Blaney and Jimmie Johnson also made contact as the wreck occurred ahead of them.

Keselowski, who led 33 laps, slammed the side of an ambulance in frustration after exiting his car.

The NASCAR Cup Seres will return on Thursday for the Daytona Duel's. Coverage begins on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1. 

Martin Truex, Jr. punched his ticket to the final four of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs after taking the checkered flag at Martinsville Speedway. 

 

After being moved on the last lap in 2018, Truex came ready for battle. He dominated from the start, winning stage 1 and 2 and leading 464 of the 500 lap show. 

 

The No. 19 Joe Gibbs Toyota seemed to have no issue throughout the race, even when faced with several late race restarts. Truex was able to pull away fairly easily on each restart and maintain position. 

 

Martinsville has not always been one of Martin’s strongest tracks, but the team gets better every year. This was his first win at the famed short track and his seventh win of the season. 

 

William Byron, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-5. 

 

The Round of 8 playoff battle continues at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Nov. 3 at 3 PM ET on NBCSN. 

First to First

Monday, Sep 09

 

Hanging out in Turn 4 you get to meet all sorts of individuals. I met a couple of folks that I will not readily forget. Reggie was at IMS for the inaugural Brickyard in August of 1994. Chase’s daughter was here today for HER inaugural Brickyard. Today was a day of firsts to firsts!

Reggie came from Nashville, TN and while he was here for the inaugural Brickyard 400, today he was here for Bubba Wallace, who had his best finish at Indianapolis. As we got to the last 10 laps of the race, you could FEEL Reggie pulling for Bubba to finish well. He kept say, “If he finishes top 5, that will be good”, but you could feel that he wanted better for Bubba. And Bubba pulled it out! Bubba Wallace ended up with a 3rd place finish. I know that Reggie’s trip to Nashville will go fast!!

 

 

I also met Chase and his daughter. Chase is a NASCAR fan, but his daughte, has never been to a NASCAR race, until today. She is a die-hard Chase Elliot fan and it was great to see the next generation of NASCAR fans in the crowd today.

 

I think the thing that struck me today was that I met someone who had been here for the inaugural Brickyard in 1994 and I also met someone who had not even been alive for that inaugural Brickyard. NASCAR and IMS brings folks of all ages together.

Dirt to Pavement

Friday, Sep 06

Speedway, IN  9/6/19

USAC comes to IMS! The Driven2savelives BC39 was held over the past 2 days at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and USAC put on a great show! Wednesday night's finish was one for the record books. What a great memorial for Bryan Clauson!

Thursday night's weather was perfect to watch dirt track racing! As I was wandering around Turn 3 at IMS, I noticed all the drivers that were represented on t-shirts. Each race brings with it it's unique race fans, but I noticed how much overlap there was between USAC drivers and NASCAR drivers. There were just as many cheers for USAC drivers as there were for drivers like Kyle Larsen. How great to see everyone mingling and having a great time!!

I started chatting with a woman in the grandstands and Thursday was her first experience with dirt track racing. She was no novice to IMS, having attended quite a few Indy 500s and Brickyard 400s, but this was a completely different experience for her. She talked about the ambiance and how great the atmosphere was. She remarked about the smells of the fuel and the sounds of the engines. It is completely different from Indycar and NASCAR. She said quite a few times that she kept expecting the drivers to crash as they were coming out of their drifts and she thought the control they showed was amazing! When one of the drivers in one of the heats ended up on their side and the fact that they were able to be righted, and take off with a push start, she was in awe! I think she will be back for a repeat visit!

Today, the Xfinity young guns got behind the wheel and had their first practice in an attempt to take on the veteran NASCAR drivers for the Indiana 250.  Tomorrow the action continues with Cup practice and Xfinity qualifying, capped off by the Xfinity race Indiana 250 at 3pm.

Be sure to follow me @Tbalance

 

 

 

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