Noah Gragson has gotten the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series campaign started off on the right foot as he outlasted a wild NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona to take his first-career win in the Series on Saturday.
Gragson, 21, led the final 19 laps of the race, and had to hold off Harrison Burton, who had an unexpected helper in Timmy Hill behind him.
“I’m so thankful for this opportunity,” said Gragson, who hails from Las Vegas, in victory lane. “Just very, very proud of this team. Everybody from JR Motorsports, this No. 9 team. Everybody who works at the fab shop at Hendrick Motorsports. For — just allowing this to happen. The power was awesome. Hendrick engines. I’m speechless right now.”
Burton held on for his career-best finish in the Series, and Hill — the underdog — ripped off his career-best finish of third in the MBM Motorsports No. 66 Toyota Supra.
For Burton, he felt he had someone riding along with him this weekend.
“Not as great as it could have been, which is unfortunate,” said Burton. “There were a couple of times where we almost got wrecked and we kinda barely squeaked out of it, so, I know had John Andretti kinda over my shoulder watching for that. So, that’s really cool.”
Hill and MBM Motorsports were handed heavy penalties on Saturday morning after NASCAR found illegal body modifications on their race car. Hours later, Hill nearly shocked the world as he had a shot at the win.
Brandon Jones ended up fourth, while Chase Briscoe rounded out the top-five finishers in the race.
Justin Haley, Brandon Brown, Ray Black Jr., Ryan Sieg and Alex Labbe made up the rest of the top-10.
With six laps remaining, the race was red flagged for a huge pileup that started when Stage 1 winner Jeb Burton was pushed from behind by Austin Cindric. The shove sent Burton around collecting Cindric and many others.
Justin Allgaier won Stage 2, but his race ended early as well as he had nowhere to go in an odd incident where he piled into the back of Jeremy Clements.
Post-Race Stat Pack
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.