What in the world? Harrison Burton took a monstrous win in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.
No, he didn’t dominate and lead the most laps. After winning Stage 2, and then spinning in Stage 3, Burton rallied in the closing laps to take an electric victory — his third of the season.
Burton was over a half second behind Noah Gragson — one of the eight remaining NXS Playoff contenders — on the final lap, but he had a bunch of steam. Incredibly, Burton closed the gap and sailed it into turns three and four and came out the other end with the lead and took the win.
“We had such a fast race car,” Burton said. “I have never driven anything harder than that last corner in my life. I don’t know how it stuck. I lost my voice. I was screaming. That was special.”
For Gragson, who crashed at Kansas Speedway, and faces a must-win situation if he wants to advance to the Championship 4, was very somber following the heart-breaking loss.
“I don’t know, I felt like we had a fast car there just a little tight on the exit all day,” Gragson stated. “Just frustrated at myself. I don’t know. I was pretty tight there at the end. I saw Alfredo holding Harrison off and thought we were getting away, then I seen the No. 20 get by the No. 21 and he ran me down in like two laps. I knew he was coming, I just didn’t expect him to get there.”
While it was disappointment for Gragson, a lot of underdog drivers had huge days.
Anthony Alfredo, who drives a part-time schedule for Richard Childress Racing, finished third, a week removed from a wild flip at Kansas.
Austin Cindric finished fourth and Brandon Brown — one of the udnerdogs — finished fifth.
Michael Annett and Justin Haley were sixth and seventh, but a trio of underdogs rounded out the top-10.
Ryan Vargas recorded his first-career top-10 finish in the No. 6 TikTok machine, while Josh Williams scored his sixth top-10 of the year in ninth.
Tommy Joe Martins, like Vargas, finally scored his first top-10 finish of his career after 86-previous starts.
Several Playoff contenders wound up with subpar finishes.
Ryan Sieg wound up 31st, 64 laps off the pace after mechanical issues on his No. 39 car. He will need to win next weekend at Martinsville in order to advance to the Championship 4.
Justin Allgaier and Brandon Jones were swept up in a multi-car melee with Ross Chastain late in the race. Allgaier would finish 26th, Jones 25th and Chastain 16th.
Of the three, only Allgaier is currently in an advance position of the Playoffs heading into the penultimate race of the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.
Here is the Round of 8 Playoff Grid With One Race Remaining Before the Championship 4
- Chase Briscoe (advanced by way of win)
- Austin Cindric, +14 points
- Justin Allgaier, +8
- Justin Haley, +4
5. Brandon Jones, -4
6. Ross Chastain, -15
7. Noah Gragson, -24
8. Ryan Sieg, -43
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.