Gragson Out-Duels Gibbs in Pocono Xfinity Thriller

(LONG POND, PA – 23 JULY, 2022 – RIS) Noah Gragson and Ty Gibbs took the outcome of the race down to the last turn of the last lap before Gragson finally edged out a lead of almost three-tenths of a second for his third win in 2022 and eighth career win. The final 14 laps of the race saw Gibbs move into a challenging position before making repeated challenges for the lead.

The race started with a hard crash on lap two with Rajah Caruth and Alex Labbe involved. Caruth misjudged clearance and sent them both into a spin and hard crash into the wall separating the front straight from pit road. “I got free and I was trying to check up at the same time…” reported Caruth later. Ty Gibbs fell back to seventh at the restart before slowly regaining positions.

A spectacular rollover crash by Jeb Burton brought out a red flag on lap 47 with a long skid ending with the car on its roof. Santino Ferrucci got loose in the third turn, getting hit by Ricky Stenhouse. Burton dodged left and launched between Stenhouse’ car and the front straight/pit road wall before landing on his roof and sliding to a stop.

Burton was uninjured in the incident and easily exited the wrecked car after the AMR safety team gently rolled it back onto its wheels. “I just made a mistake” admitted Ferrucci, adding that he was learning how to read the side draft in traffic. “Man, that was not good” grinned Burton after being checked in the track’s care center. Ronnie Bassett Jr’s car was also involved and eliminated in the incident.

Not long after the restart, Sammy Smith spun, backing into the wall and taking the No. 18 Toyota out of the race. This caution laid the foundation for a potential mileage run to the finish. Noah Gragson took the lead from Josh Berry, with Ty Gibbs closing on Gragson

“That may be the best driving I’ve ever done,” panted Gragson. “I’m worn out – he’s pretty fast – I had to work for it. With fifteen laps to go, I didn’t think I would hold him off. I’m exhausted.

“It definitely hurt us being on a tire disadvantage. I was so surprised to hang with the 9 (Noah Gragson) when he was on rights,” Gibbs said after the race. “I had a great car, just didn’t put it together. I want to say I felt like on my part I just made some mistakes, but we’ll come back at it next weekend.

“I just put myself in a bad position there, but I always love racing out here and congratulations to the 9 team.”

Gibbs added that: “we both went in there side-by-side and I just lost my side force and got loose under him, but that’s racing. I put myself in that position, but I feel like I definitely have to look back and see what other options I had…. I had a great time.”

Unofficial Results: 7th Annual Explore the Pocono Mountains 225, July 23, 2022 - Pocono Raceway
Fin, St, Driver, Car, Laps, St1, St2, Tms Led, Laps Led, Playoff Pts, Pts, Status
1) 9, Noah Gragson, No. 9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/BRCC Chevrolet, 90, 7, 1, 3, 43, 6, 54, Running
2) 2, Ty Gibbs, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota, 90, 4, 2, 1, 3, , 51, Running
3) 7, Josh Berry, No. 8 Tire Pros Chevrolet, 90, 6, 5, 1, 9, , 45, Running
4) 4, AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Action Industries Chevrolet, 90, 3, 7, , , , 45, Running
5) 6, Sheldon Creed #, No. 2 Whelen Chevrolet, 90, 5, 4, , , , 45, Running
6) 12, Sam Mayer, No. 1 Accelerate Pros Talent Chevrolet, 90, , , , , , 31, Running
7) 1, Justin Allgaier, No. 7 Hellmann's Chevrolet, 90, 1, 6, 1, 22, 1, 45, Running
8) 8, Austin Hill #, No. 21 Global Industrial Chevrolet, 90, 10, 10, 1, 4, , 31, Running
9) 13, Daniel Hemric, No. 11 AG1 - Athletic Greens Chevrolet, 90, 9, 9, , , , 32, Running
10) 16, Cole Custer(i), No. 07 G Coin Ford, 90, , , , , , 0, Running
11) 21, Landon Cassill, No. 10 Carnomaly Chevrolet, 90, , 8, , , , 29, Running
12) 14, Riley Herbst, No. 98 Monster Energy Ford, 90, , , 1, 4, , 25, Running
13) 26, Brandon Brown, No. 68 Brandonbilt Foundations Chevrolet, 90, , , , , , 24, Running
14) 28, Myatt Snider, No. 31 Bommarito Automotive Group Chevrolet, 90, , , , , , 23, Running
15) 15, Ryan Sieg, No. 39 A-GAME Ford, 90, , , , , , 22, Running
16) 24, Anthony Alfredo, No. 23 John Civetta & Sons Chevrolet, 90, , , 1, 3, , 21, Running
17) 3, Brandon Jones, No. 19 Menards/Pelonis Toyota, 90, 2, 3, , , , 37, Running
18) 17, Brett Moffitt, No. 02 Half Off Wholesale Chevrolet, 90, , , 1, 2, , 19, Running
19) 25, Kyle Weatherman, No. 34 Equity Prime Mortgage Chevrolet, 90, , , , , , 18, Running
20) 27, Sage Karam, No. 45 CRC Brakleen Chevrolet, 90, , , , , , 17, Running
21) 33, Josh Williams, No. 78 Alloy Employer Services Chevrolet, 90, , , , , , 16, Running
22) 20, Kyle Sieg #, No. 38 US Hydrations/Sparkling Ice Ford, 90, , , , , , 15, Running
23) 30, Stefan Parsons(i), No. 5 Kelly Chevrolet, 90, , , , , , 0, Running
24) 29, Mason Massey, No. 91 Rich Mar Florist Chevrolet, 90, , , , , , 13, Running
25) 35, Ryan Vargas, No. 6 KSDT Chevrolet, 89, , , , , , 12, Running
26) 23, Bayley Currey, No. 4 Alka-Seltzer Chevrolet, 89, , , , , , 11, Running
27) 34, David Starr, No. 08 TicketSmarter Ford, 89, , , , , , 10, Running
28) 38, JJ Yeley, No. 66 Coble Enterprises Ford, 89, , , , , , 9, Running
29) 36, Patrick Emerling, No. 35 Kitty Kat Coin Chevrolet, 89, , , , , , 8, Running
30) 37, Timmy Hill(i), No. 13 CrashClaimsR.Us Toyota, 89, , , , , , 0, Running
31) 5, Sammy Smith, No. 18 Pilot Flying J Toyota, 53, 8, , , , , 9, Accident
32) 18, Jeremy Clements, No. 51 Fly & Form Concrete Structures Chevrolet, 48, , , , , , 5, Accident
33) 19, Jeb Burton, No. 27 Puryear Tank Lines Chevrolet, 46, , , , , , 4, Accident
34) 10, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(i), No. 48 Big Machine Spiked Coolers Chevrolet, 45, , , , , , 0, Accident
35) 11, Santino Ferrucci, No. 26 Freedom Alliance Toyota, 45, , , , , , 2, Accident
36) 31, Ronnie Bassett Jr., No. 77 Jerry Hunt Supercenter Chevrolet, 45, , , , , , 1, Accident
37) 22, Alex Labbe, No. 36 Chevrolet, 1, , , , , , 1, Accident
38) 32, Rajah Caruth(i), No. 44 Martin De Porres Chevrolet, 1, , , , , , 0, Accident
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie

Race Length: 90 Laps, 225 Miles
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 49 Mins, 22 Secs.
Average Speed: 123.438 MPH
Margin of Victory: 0.281 Seconds

Stage 1 Top 10: 7, 19, 16, 54, 2, 8, 9, 18, 11, 21
Stage 2 Top 10: 9, 54, 19, 2, 8, 7, 16, 10, 11, 21

Comments: Noah Gragson has won the Explore the Pocono Mountains 225 at Pocono Raceway, his eighth career victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Prior to the start, the following vehicle(s) dropped to the rear of the field under penalty: No. 66 (Engine Change).

Failed to Qualify: (1) No. 47 Brennan Poole(i).

Cautions: 5 for 18 laps;
Laps: 4-7 (No. 36, 44 Incident Frontstretch [None]);
22-25 (Stage 1 Conclusion [None]);
42-45 (Stage 2 Conclusion [1]);
48-50 (No. 26, 27, 48, 51, 77, Incident Frontstretch [Red Flag: 00:08:28] [66]);
54-56 (No. 10, 18 Incident Turn 1 [66]).

Lead Changes: 9 among 8 drivers;
J. Allgaier 1-22;
A. Alfredo 23-25;
N. Gragson 26-41;
A. Hill # 42-45;
N. Gragson 46-50;
T. Gibbs 51-53;
B. Moffitt 54-55;
R. Herbst 56-59;
J. Berry 60-68;
N. Gragson 69-90.

Sunoco Rookie of the Race: Sheldon Creed, No. 2

John Davison

Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.

Read More on Cup / XFINITY / Truck news
Volume 2022, Issue 7, Posted 8:48 PM, 07.23.2022