Gragson Dominates Late to Win Phoenix Xfinity Race

Photo Credit:  Canadian Press

AVONDALE, AZ – RIS – Noah Gragson is on a roll.  After just missing a win last week, he stormed back at Phoenix Raceway on Saturday afternoon.  Gregson qualified well, but in the end, he dominated.  Gragson led 72 of the final 87 laps – a race best 114 of 200 laps on the day – to earn the win in the United Rentals 200 at Phoenix Raceway. He passed race runner-up Brandon Jones with 15 laps remaining, negotiated lapped traffic and ultimately pulled away to an impressive 2.555-second win.

After crossing the start-finish line for the win, he and his crew climbed the front stretch fence. It was not only the first win of the year, but it was the fourth straight top-five finish for the team and increased his Xfinity Series championship lead to a more substantial 39 points over rookie Ty Gibbs, who finished sixth Saturday.

 “Pit crew executed great and this team has been on a roll so far this year,” Gragson said. “Top three finishes in all four races. I can’t thank everybody enough for all their hard work.”

Runner-up Jones used a short pit strategy to try to outlast Gragson, but in the end, he couldn’t keep up with the pace his rival was running.

“I’m still all-in-all very happy to come home second,” said Jones, whose season got off to a rough start with a crash two weeks ago and a 17th place in the Daytona season-opener.

It was a competitive race with the lead changes coming mostly by the trio of Gragson, Jones, and pole sitter Trevor Bayne, who is running selected races for Joe Gibbs Racing this season., 

Bayne won the pole position for Saturday’s race and his third-place finish is his second top-five in as many starts in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota this year. Gragson’s teammate Josh Berry, Bayne, and John Hunter Nemechek rounded out the top five.  Ty Gibbs, who races for his grandfather Joe Gibbs’ team, won last week at Las Vegas and finished sixth on Saturday. The three Kaulig Racing teammates, A.J. Allmendinger, reigning Xfinity Series champion Daniel Hemric and Landon Cassill, finished seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively, and Gragson’s veteran JR Motorsports teammate, Justin Allgaier completed the top-10.

Bayne won Stage 1 and Gragson won Stage 2 for a series best third stage victory of the season.  The Xfinity series moves t0o Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend where the drivers will re-enter competition at 5:30 pm on March 19th.

Unofficial Results: 18th Annual United Rentals 200, March 12, 2022, Phoenix Raceway

Fin, Str, Driver, Car, Laps, St1, St2, Tms Led, Laps Led, Playoff Pts, Pts, Status
1) 2, Noah Gragson, No. 9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/BRCC Chevrolet, 200, 2, 1, 7, 114, 6, 59, Running
2) 5, Brandon Jones, No. 19 Menards/Jeld-Wen Toyota, 200, 3, 3, 4, 30, , 51, Running
3) 8, Josh Berry, No. 8 PUBG Mobile Chevrolet, 200, 9, 5, , , , 42, Running
4) 1, Trevor Bayne, No. 18 Devotion Nutrition Toyota, 200, 1, 4, 3, 38, 1, 50, Running
5) 11, John Hunter Nemechek(i), No. 26 Stillhouse Toyota, 200, 4, 6, 1, 11, , 0, Running
6) 3, Ty Gibbs, No. 54 Sports Clips Haircuts Toyota, 200, 5, , , , , 37, Running
7) 17, AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Action Industries Chevrolet, 200, 8, 7, , , , 37, Running
8) 15, Daniel Hemric, No. 11 AG1 - Athletic Greens Chevrolet, 200, , 8, , , , 32, Running
9) 22, Landon Cassill, No. 10 Voyager: Crypto for All Chevrolet, 200, 7, 9, , , , 34, Running
10) 24, Justin Allgaier, No. 7 BRANDT Chevrolet, 200, 6, 2, 1, 5, , 41, Running
11) 4, Ryan Sieg, No. 39 CMRoofing.com/A-game Ford, 199, , , 1, 2, , 26, Running
12) 16, Jeb Burton, No. 27 Freshly Laid/Club Scottsdale Chevrolet, 199, , , , , , 25, Running
13) 26, Brandon Brown, No. 68 TradeTheChain.com Chevrolet, 199, , , , , , 24, Running
14) 9, Sheldon Creed #, No. 2 Whelen Chevrolet, 199, , , , , , 23, Running
15) 18, Brett Moffitt, No. 02 Chevrolet, 199, , , , , , 22, Running
16) 35, Ryan Ellis, No. 44 Keen Parts Chevrolet, 199, , , , , , 21, Running
17) 12, Austin Hill #, No. 21 United Rentals Chevrolet, 199, , , , , , 20, Running
18) 14, Jeremy Clements, No. 51 First Pacific Funding Chevrolet, 199, , , , , , 19, Running
19) 23, Alex Labbe, No. 36 Can-Am Chevrolet, 199, , , , , , 18, Running
20) 13, Bayley Currey, No. 4 Ghost Chevrolet, 199, , , , , , 17, Running
21) 19, Stefan Parsons, No. 99 SOKAL Ukraine Chevrolet, 198, , , , , , 16, Running
22) 7, Sam Mayer, No. 1 Accelerate Pros Talent Chevrolet, 198, 10, 10, , , , 17, Running
23) 31, Mason Massey, No. 91 BRUNT Workwear Chevrolet, 198, , , , , , 14, Running
24) 25, Myatt Snider, No. 31 TaxSlayer Chevrolet, 198, , , , , , 13, Running
25) 32, JJ Yeley, No. 66 Remote Health Solutions Ford, 198, , , , , , 12, Running
26) 28, Nicholas Sanchez, No. 5 Barefoot Rentals Chevrolet, 198, , , , , , 11, Running
27) 36, Joe Graf Jr., No. 07 Bucked Up Energy Ford, 197, , , , , , 10, Running
28) 33, Jade Buford, No. 48 Big Machine Spiked Coolers Chevrolet, 197, , , , , , 9, Running
29) 38, Ryan Vargas, No. 6 Advanced Masonry and Concrete Chevrolet, 197, , , , , , 8, Running
30) 10, Kyle Weatherman, No. 92 PORAC Chevrolet, 197, , , , , , 7, Running
31) 29, David Starr, No. 08 TicketSmarter Ford, 196, , , , , , 6, Running
32) 20, Kyle Sieg #, No. 28 Ford, 196, , , , , , 5, Running
33) 27, Kaz Grala(i), No. 45 Lilly Finance/Ruedebusch Chevrolet, 196, , , , , , 0, Running
34) 34, Jeffrey Earnhardt, No. 35 DalStrong Toyota, 196, , , , , , 3, Running
35) 30, Josh Williams, No. 78 Phoenix Children's/I.M.S. Chevrolet, 178, , , , , , 2, Ignition
36) 6, Parker Retzlaff, No. 38 Ponsse Ford, 158, , , , , , 1, Fuel Pump
37) 37, Anthony Alfredo, No. 23 Dude Wipes Chevrolet, 147, , , , , , 1, Running
38) 21, Riley Herbst, No. 98 Monster Energy Ford, 20, , , , , , 1, Accident
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 1 Mins, 35 Secs.
Total Race Length: 200 Laps, 200. Miles
Average Speed: 98.698 MPH
Margin of Victory: 2.555 Seconds

Stage 1 Top 10: 18, 9, 19, 26, 54, 7, 10, 16, 8, 1
Stage 2 Top 10: 9, 7, 19, 18, 8, 26, 16, 11, 10, 1

Comments: Noah Gragson won the 18th running of the United Rentals 200 at Phoenix Raceway, his sixth victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Prior to the start, the following cars dropped to the rear of the field under penalty for the reasons indicated: Nos. 1, 6, 7, 8, 99 (unapproved adjustments).

Failed to Qualify: (4) 34 Jesse Little, 33 Loris Hezemans(i), 13 Stan Mullis, 47 Brennan Poole.

Cautions: 4 for 33 laps;
Laps: 23-33 (No. 98 Incident Turn 3 [35]);
47-54 (Stage 1 Conclusion [None]);
56-61 (No. 54, 8 Incident Turn 2 [23]);
92-99 (Stage 2 Conclusion [48]).

Lead Changes: 16 among 6 drivers;
T. Bayne 1-33;
N. Gragson 34-41;
T. Bayne 42;
N. Gragson 43-44;
T. Bayne 45-48;
N. Gragson 49;
B. Jones 50-54;
N. Gragson 55-60;
B. Jones 61-69;
N. Gragson 70-94;
J. Allgaier 95-99;
B. Jones 100-101;
J. Nemechek(i) 102-112;
N. Gragson 113-169;
R. Sieg 170-171;
B. Jones 172-185;
N. Gragson 186-200.

Mobil 1 Driver of the Race: Noah Gragson, No. 9
Sunoco Rookie of the Race: Sheldon Creed, No. 2

Ron Fleshman with John Davison

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2022, Issue 3, Posted 8:46 PM, 03.12.2022