BRISTOL, Tenn. — For the third consecutive time, a NASCAR Xfinity Series race ended with the exact same result — a Noah Gragson victory. He led the final 25 laps after Justin Allgaier sped on pit road to win the Food City 300 — his sixth race win of 2022.
“We’re on a roll,” Gragson said after the race. “We’re happy with where we’re at as a team, we’re really happy with where we’re at as an organization. We got a lot of speed in all four cars.”
Gragson started Friday’s race in the ninth position and quickly climbed up to third at the end of Stage 1. He finished Stage 2 in second place, but it was Allgaier, his teammate, dominating the race. Allgaier scored 19 stage points and led a total of 148 laps.
With 29 laps to go, Allgaier made contact with JJ Yeley and sent him spinning into the inside wall. Allgaier pitted for service and came off pit road with the lead, but he was penalized for speeding. Gragson became the leader when the race restarted with 20 to go.
Gragson and Brandon Jones broke away from the rest of the field and went to battle. Jones had fresher tires but could never make a pass. Gragson skillfully defended Jones to record his second Bristol win.
“Brandon [Jones] is a great racer. I have a lot of respect for him,” Gragson said. “He raced me hard, he raced me clean. Put the bumper to me through [Turns] 1 and 2 with two to go, and he was a lot better on that end. We were running a foot or two off the wall.
“We don’t really put any pressure on ourselves. We work really hard, we also have a lot of fun and we do our job. The hard work and the preparation throughout the week… the group that we got — we’re working hard, but it feels a lot easier when you’re having fun.”
Jones, who ironically announced this week he’ll be driving the No. 9 for JR Motorsports starting in 2023, fell short of his second victory this season. But, he still earned 42 points to secure seventh in the regular-season standings.
“This one hurts the most just because it was our race to win, I felt like,” Jones told USA Network. “We battled so many things tonight adversity wise, and just kept coming back. It was really cool to look at our race as a whole to see where it started to see where it ended for us.
“Really thought when the 7 (Justin Allgaier) sped – I thought easy, piece of cake, we’ve got him easy, but the bottom didn’t take off great, but those newer, fresher tires certainly paid a dividend at the end. I just caught him at the wrong time, every single time. I could get in deeper into the corner, and I could kind of get him in the middle, but I could never get him at the exit.”
STAGE 1: Ty Gibbs, Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, Sam Mayer, AJ Allmendinger, Josh Berry, Jeb Burton, Daniel Hemric, Landon Cassill, Ryan Sieg
STAGE 2: Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, AJ Allmendinger, Brandon Jones, Riley Herbst, Austin Hill, Jeb Burton, Daniel Hemric, Sam Mayer, Sammy Smith
FINAL: Noah Gragson, Brandon Jones, Austin Hill, Sam Mayer, Riley Herbst, AJ Allmendinger, Josh Berry, Stefan Parsons, Justin Allgaier, Ryan Sieg
Ryan Sieg entered the playoff finale 19 points below the cutline but transferred into the playoffs after Landon Cassill and Sheldon Creed each had issues. Cassill suffered a mechanical failure on Lap 106 and went 112 laps down before he returned to the track. Creed crashed on Lap 132 after Gragson hit Ty Gibbs, sending him into Creed.
AJ Allmendinger also secured his second consecutive regular-season championship.
- Noah Gragson | +46
- Ty Gibbs | +33
- Justin Allgaier | +28
- AJ Allmendinger | +27
- Josh Berry | +17
- Austin Hill | +11
- Brandon Jones | +5
- Jeremy Clements | +0
- Sam Mayer | +0
- Daniel Hemric | -2
- Riley Herbst | -3
- Ryan Sieg | -4
The Xfinity Series starts its 2022 playoffs with the Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. The race is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network. John Hunter Nemechek won last fall’s race Tyler Reddick won the spring race.