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Noah Gragson Corrals Eighth Win of 2022 at Homestead

Noah Gragson was not impersonating Ricky Bobby. (Photo: Sean Gardner | Getty Images)

Noah Gragson was not impersonating Ricky Bobby. (Photo: Sean Gardner | Getty Images)

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – While it was not quite Darrell Waltrip or Dale Earnhardt proportions of frustration for Noah Gragson, a NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway seemed frustratingly elusive.

In Gragson’s four prior starts at the 1.5-mile progressive banked track, he led 208 laps with three top five results.

Despite the Las Vegas native’s past, dominant performances, perhaps one of his painful moments came at the South Florida track last year.

Namely, his Lap 166 crash in Turn 3 with David Starr was a heartbreaking situation as he was leading the race inside the final 15 laps.

A year later, Gragson was determined to reign supreme at Homestead-Miami. By all means, he was like Boston Red Sox fireballer, Pedro Martinez, ready to take on the New York Yankees in the Bronx.

Gragson kicked things off in fine fashion by posting the second fastest time in Friday evening’s qualifying session.

On Saturday evening, Gragson proved more than ready for the task at hand with the Contender Boats 300.

On Lap 23, Gragson took the lead from Trevor Bayne, the pole sitter, enjoying his first stint in the number one spot for 25 laps. While there were 13 lead changes, Gragson was like Darlington Raceway’s moniker by being “too tough to tame.”

After winning Stages 1 and 2, Gragson was lights out fast, particularly during a long, green flag run.

Bayne, AJ Allmendinger, Josh Berry and Ty Gibbs were a few of the drivers who had decent pace to keep within a stone’s throw distance from Gragson in the early part of a run.

However, Gragson checked out when it mattered, putting significant daylight on his competitors and, most importantly, his Playoff challengers.

Gragson tallied his eighth win of the 2022 season. (Photo: Jared East | Getty Images)

Gragson tallied his eighth win of the 2022 season. (Photo: Jared East | Getty Images)

Although Gragson bested Gibbs by 0.55 seconds, it was not as close as the box score indicated.

Rather, the driver of the No. 9 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Camaro completed a genuine masterclass for the South Florida racing fans and competition.

“We just kicked their ass, baby! Let’s go!” Gragson exclaimed. “I wanted this one so bad. The last three years… words can’t describe how thankful I am for everybody at JR Motorsports. Just unbelievable.”

Undoubtedly, Gragson’s first Homestead-Miami victory comes at a great time as he punches his ticket into the Championship 4 battle at Phoenix Raceway on Saturday, Nov. 5 (6 p.m. ET on USA).

Sure, Gragson may seem like the odds on favorite for the championship. Still, he kept the focus on his Homestead victory, particularly with the effort required for his 13th career NASCAR Xfinity Series win.

“I was driving my ass off there,” he said. “I threw up on the dash. It takes a lot of focus to run the fence like that.”

Moreover, he gave kudos to his over-the-wall team as they delivered with stellar pit stops throughout the race.

Before he can consider Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 while racing on an interim basis for Alex Bowman’s No. 48 team, he sang his praises for his No. 9 JR Motorsports team.

It will two more weeks before Gragson chases championship glory at Phoenix. (Photo: Sean Folsom | The Podium Finish)

It will two more weeks before Gragson chases championship glory at Phoenix. (Photo: Sean Folsom | The Podium Finish)

“The pit crew did a great job. I’m really grateful,” he remarked.

Now, Gragson and his peers can consider next Saturday’s Dead On Tools 250 at Martinsville Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBC). The championship contender looks to defend his win while six of his peers hope to lock two of the final Championship 4 spots.

Stage 1 Top 10 Finishers


Stage 2 Top 10 Finishers

Gragson-Allmendinger-Hill-Bayne-Mayer/Gibbs-Cassill-Hemric-C. Smith-Parsons

Contender Boats 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway Top 10 Finishers

Gragson-Gibbs-Allmendinger-Hemric-Mayer/Bayne-C. Smith-Herbst-Hill-Allgaier

Rob Tiongson is a 30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught his eyes. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by him or by one of his talented columnists who have a passion for racing. Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. He enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson, a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, pursues his Master of Arts in Digital Journalism at St. Bonaventure University. Indeed, while Tiongson is proud to be from Massachusetts, he's an everywhere kind of man residing in Texas.

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