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Gragson dashes to Xfinity Series win at Bristol

Jeff Birchfield • Jun 1, 2020 at 11:02 PM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Noah Gragson took home the victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway and left his JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier fuming.

With a win in the Cheddar’s 300 presented by Alsco on the line Monday night, Gragson drove his No. 9 Chevrolet to the inside of Allgaier’s No. 7 Chevy with five laps to go. The cars made contact as Gragson drove on with the lead and Allgaier slammed into the outside wall.

Gragson then held off a challenge from Chase Briscoe and Brandon Jones in an overtime finish for his second win of the season and his career.

“I really apologize to Justin and his team. That’s not how I want to race,” Gragson said. “I saw that position open up when he slipped off the bottom. I tried to get to the bottom and I just got too loose. This track was like ice. Everyone was slipping and sliding.”

Gragson, a 21-year-old from Las Vegas, won the final two stages and led twice for 55 laps. He hadn’t finished higher than ninth in five previous Bristol starts in the Xfinity and truck series.

“We had been terrible here in trucks and then in Xfinity last year,” he said. “My crew chief (David Elenz) believed in me. He wanted me to come back and run with them this season.”

Allgaier won Stage 1 and led 156 laps overall, the third Bristol race in a row in which he led the most laps and failed to win. He left the track without a post-race interview.

Briscoe held on for second ahead of Jones and pole-sitter Harrison Burton. The top four finishers qualified for a chance to win a $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus in Saturday’s race at Atlanta.

It was Briscoe’s second straight runner-up finish at Bristol.

“We had a fifth- or sixth-place car most of the night,” said the driver of the No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. “We were really tight. There at the end, restarts went our way and we were able to salvage second.”

Positions 5 through 10 went to Chevys. Matt Snider was fifth, followed by Daniel Hemric, Brandon Brown, Jeremy Clements, Josh Williams and A.J. Allmendinger.

LOCAL CONNECTIONS

Knoxville driver Chad Finchum finished 24th in the No. 13 Toyota. The former Kingsport Speedway champion was 10th early in Stage 2 before experiencing mechanical problems.

Jesse Little, driving the No. 4 Visit Kingsport Chevrolet, ran in the top 15 early and finished 26th.

NASCAR SPEAKS

NASCAR released a statement Monday concerning the recent deaths that have sparked protests and riots.

“The NASCAR family, like so many others, is hurt and angered by the immensely troubling events that have taken place across our country in recent weeks,” the statement read. “For us to heal and move forward as a nation, we all need to listen more and be united in the stand against racism, hatred, senseless violence and loss of life. And we must all hold ourselves accountable to driving positive change.

“While our sport has made progress over the years, there remains much work to be done and we fully embrace our responsibility to help bridge the racial divide that continues to exist in our country. We must do better and our commitment to promoting equality and inclusion continues and will never waver.”

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