LONG POND, Pa. — Beating and banging in the closing laps of the Explore The Pocono Mountains 225, Noah Gragson held off a charge from Ty Gibbs to capture the win Saturday in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Gragson led the final 22 laps en route to his third win of the season and eighth of his Xfinity Series career.
“That was the hardest I’ve ever worked in a racecar, trying to hold somebody off,” Gragson said. “…I gotta give a lot of respect for the way he raced us today.”
Gibbs finished second after leading three laps in the 90-lap race, but congratulated the No. 9 team on their victory.
“I had a great car, just didn’t put it together,” Gibbs said. “I want to say I felt like on my part I just made some mistakes, but we’ll come back at it next weekend.”
The racing in the closing laps left an impression for the winning team owner.
“He raced real clean, I was taken aback by that,” JR Motorsports team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. said of the way Ty Gibbs raced Noah Gragson.
“He takes some criticism, he makes changes, and he improves, evolves.”
Josh Berry, A.J. Allmendinger and Sheldon Creed rounded out the Top-5 finishers.
THROUGH THE FIELD
Sam Mayer finished sixth.
Pole sitter Justin Allgaier, who won Stage 1 and led 23 laps, overcame a pit road speeding penalty to finish seventh.
Austin Hill, Daniel Hemric and Cole Custer rounded out the Top-10 finishers.
In total, 24 drivers finished on the lead lap.
A lap 46 crash involved five drivers along the frontstretch, which saw the No. 27 of Jeb Burton flip and come to a stop upside down. Burton said he was OK. He finished 33rd.
In his first Xfinity Series start since 2016, two-time series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was collected in the lap 46 crash, ultimately finishing 34th.
On the second lap, Alex Labbe and Rajah Caruth tangled exiting Turn 3, where the two slammed the inside retaining wall along pit road, ending both of their race days. Labbe called the hit the hardest of his career.
Labbe and Caruth finished 37th and 38th respectively.
The next race for the Xfinity Series is scheduled for Saturday, July 30 at the Indianapolis Grand Prix Circuit.
I am a co-owner and reporter for TheRacingExperts.com.