KANSAS CITY, Kan. — After just 90 laps, rain closed in on Kansas Speedway and put a halt to Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Cars were brought down pit road with Noah Gragson out front and the race never resumed. Gragson won his second consecutive race and the fifth of the season, tying Ty Gibbs for the most in the series.
“I think we all knew we were racing to halfway,” Gragson said after the race. “Rain-shortened races get kind of overlooked, but we weren’t in contention and we put ourselves into contention. I think that’s the most important thing. When the time was right, we were able to pull it out.”
Though Gragson led what would be the final lap of the race, it was Ty Gibbs who dominated the shortened race. Gibbs led 66 of the 93 laps and scored the Stage 1 victory to improve to 30 playoff points.
On Lap 71, Jeremy Clements blew a tire and spun to bring out a caution. Gibbs led most of the lead lap cars down pit road and Austin Hill won the race off. Gragson took the lead from Hill and started to pull away but NASCAR called a caution for weather on Lap 83.
The rain stopped enough for a two-lap shootout to end the stage, which essentially served as NASCAR Overtime. Gragson held off Justin Allgaier and Gibbs to win the stage, which ended up being the race.
“My mindset from there under caution was ‘you need to get a good launch,'” Gragson said of the final restart. “I knew I had to go early and the 19 was going to try and push hard and the 7 was going to be aggressive.
“I knew once we came down pit road, I was 99% sure it was going to be official. Especially when we dropped the window net, it was just a matter of time… Just kind of paid attention to it all day.”
STAGE 1: Ty Gibbs, Noah Gragson, Brandon Jones, Sammy Smith, Justin Allgaier, Brett Moffitt, Austin Hill, AJ Allmendinger, Josh Berry, Riley Herbst
STAGE 2/FINAL: Noah Gragson, Justin Allgaier, Ty Gibbs, Brandon Jones, Ross Chastain, AJ Allmendinger, Josh Berry, Sammy Smith, Sam Mayer, Brett Moffitt
Barring something unforeseen, AJ Allmendinger will clinch his second consecutive regular-season championship next weekend. Ahead of the last regular season race, Allmendinger holds a 38-point lead over Gibbs.
Ryan Sieg holds the 12th and final playoff spot over Sheldon Creed by 13 points. A win for either driver next weekend puts them in while a new winner would knock Sieg out.
Additionally, Clements’ appeal from after his Daytona victory will be held on Tuesday. If the appeal is won, Clements will knock Sieg off the playoff grid.
The Xfinity Series travels to Bristol Motor Speedway for its regular-season finale on Friday, Sept. 16. The race, sponsored as the Food City 300, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on USA Network. AJ Allmendinger won last year’s race.