By Nick Lewis
Harrison Burton passed Noah Gragson coming out of Turn 4 on the last lap Saturday (Oct. 24th) in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway to rob him of a guaranteed trip to the Championship 4.
Burton, who was running in third with three laps to go, passed Anthony Alfredo for second with two laps to go. Burton then made quick work to run down Gragson and coming out of Turn 4 Gragson got tight, slid up the track and opened the door for Burton.
The win at Texas is Burton’s third career win — all of which he has earned this season. Having a Burton win at Texas Motor Speedway is nothing new in the NASCAR record books as Harrison’s dad Jeff Burton has two wins at Texas in the Cup Series.
“The last few laps behind the 21 (of Alfredo) I was running the bottom,” said Burton. “I was making good time but once I kinda went up to the PJ1 there I kinda felt like that was the place to be. I’m in a position with us being out of the playoffs now where I can just say ‘hey if I wreck I wreck I’m going for the win’ and I probably drove into the corner too deep and got on the gas too soon and for whatever reason it stuck.”Noah Gragson, who came off an on-track incident at Kansas, was looking for a win to continue in his championship fight.
Climbing out of the car dejected, Gragson expressed his disappointment during his post-race interviews. He said that he felt the rest of the field could wrap the corner better than him and was battling a car that was tight on exit the entire race.
Gragson said over the radio that he got tight in the last corner which allowed Burton to pass him. Gragson added that the last run was when his car came alive but after leading 14 laps the No. 20 car of Burton was able to catch and pass him for the win.
“I don’t know anything that I could’ve done differently,” said Gragson “I felt like I had planned and prepared for that moment and it obviously didn’t work. So, frustrated at myself in letting that one slip away just because I know how much that is a difference maker in this sport.”
Gragson’s frustration and disappointment was also common among other playoff drivers who also had trouble during the race today. In Stage 1, Chase Briscoe had a flat right rear which required him to pit but that issue snowballed into a broken shock which required him to repair it in the garage and finish 16 laps down.
Ryan Sieg who finished ninth in Stage 1, had something break and had to go to the garage for repair and ended up 64 laps down. The backstretch was the trouble spot in today’s race and caught up Justin Allgaier, Ross Chastain and Brandon Jones in the same wreck.
Allgaier got loose in Tuen 2, walked up the track, and ended up having contact with Ross Chastain on the backstretch. Ross Chastain said that it was driver error that caused the wreck and said that making mistakes like he doesn’t deserve to drive the race car that was given to him.
The finishing order behind Burton was Gragson, Alfredo, Austin Cindric, Brandon Brown, Michael Annett, Justin Haley, Ryan Vargas, Josh Williams, and Tommy Joe Martins.
Next week the NASCAR Xfinity Series travels to Martinsville Speedway for the Draft Top 250 next weekend for the first time since 2006.
A majority of the drivers have experience at Martinsville Speedway either in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series or the NASCAR Cup series.
The race will be on NBC at 3:30 pm EST.