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Gragson gets first career Xfinity Series win at Daytona

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Noah Gragson and his No. 9 JR Motorsports team celebrate in Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway on February 15th, 2020. Photo by Erick Messer / TRE.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Noah Gragson is finally a winner in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

In his 37th attempt, Gragson held off a late charge from Harrison Burton as the caution flew on the final lap at Daytona International Speedway in the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 Saturday (Feb. 15).

As the pack collided on the backstretch, the caution flew as the leaders rounded the final turns. Gragson was in front, with Harrison Burton behind, and Timmy Hill rounding out the podium.

The sophomore driver for JR Motorsports was the only car from the fleet to make it home in one piece, as his three teammates, Justin Allgaier, Jeb Burton, and Michael Annett, all wrecked out at one point or another.

“That was awesome,” Gragson told Andrew Kurland in Victory Lane. “I never thought I would ever be able to race here, and then much less win here. So quite the dream here, and I couldn’t do it without my whole team at JR Motorsports.”

NASCAR RACING EXPERIENCE 300 RESULTS

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Noah Gragson on the high banks at Daytona International Speedway on February 15th, 2020. Photo by Erick Messer / TRE.

Harrison Burton felt like he could have had a shot if the race played out to the very end, but was still proud of the effort.

“We had a good day,” Harrison Burton said. “We fought back from a lot of adversity. We got damage. My team did a good job repairing it.

“We kind of still couldn’t poke through the hole like we needed too, but the 66 (Timmy Hill) got lined up behind me. Noah (Gragson) got out front about a car and a half and I thought ‘He might be in trouble here’, but then the caution came out.”

Before Saturday’s NASCAR Racing Experience 300, Hill’s best career finish was seventh three times, most recently at Bristol Motor Speedway last season.

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Noah Gragson (9) on the bottom, three-wide with Myatt Snyder (21) and Chase Briscoe (98) at Daytona International Speedway on February 15th, 2020. Photo by Erick Messer / TRE.

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The race started with Myatt Snyder, in his first race with Richard Childress Racing, sitting on the pole position.

The first caution flew when the hood and part of the roof blew off spontaneously from the No. 51 of Jeremy Clements.

When the race got restarted, it was Jeb Burton up front after not too long, and he was able to go on to win the first stage of the day.

In the second stage, Justin Allgaier started up front after staying out during the stage break.

The first incident-turned-caution came at lap 39, when Michael Annett got loose, resulting in the end of the race for both Joe Graf, Jr. and Austin Hill.

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Myatt Snyder (21), Riley Herbst (18), and Chris Cockrum (25) collide in the corner as Harrison Burton (20) sneaks by with minimal damage at Daytona International Speedway on February 15th, 2020. Photo by Erick Messer / TRE.

The second stage concluded with another incident, as Snyder, Riley Herbst, and Chris Cockrum all got together on the final lap.

Allgaier went on to win the stage, but his good luck would end there.

In the final stage, Allgaier fell back after a lengthy pit stop, and it was his teammate, Jeb Burton, back out front.

The race started to have a green flag feel, and pit stops went down under green flag conditions. When it all cycled through, Gragson ended up in front.

Allgaier’s day came to an end when with only a handful of laps to go, the No. 99 of Josh Bilicki went for a spin, and Allgaier did not slow up in time, but Jeremy Clements in front of him did. Those two collided, and the race would restart with a handful of laps to go.

They weren’t done wrecking yet, as on the restart, the big one came to fruition on the backstretch with about six laps to go.

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Noah Gragson stomps out the flames from his celebratory burnout at Daytona International Speedway on February 15th, 2020. Photo by Erick Messer / TRE.

On the final restart following the clean up, Gragson held off Harrison Burton and the rest of the field to claim the victory, the first of his career.

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Gragson leaves Daytona as the points leader, as the series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway next week for the Boyd Gaming 300.

 

SOURCES:
Andrew Kurland
racing-reference.info
Toyota Racing

Justin Melillo View All

Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com

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