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Noah Gragson Holds Off Harrison Burton in Overtime Finish to Score Win at Darlington

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Noah Gragson has had a frustrating 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season, but after an overtime duel with Harrison Burton in Saturday’s Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway, Gragson has finally snapped his winless drought.

“A lot of frustration this year,” Gragson stated after celebrating his win. “Things haven’t gone our way, but we are getting some momentum when we need to. I just can’t thank everybody enough on this No. 9 team.”

It had been 49-races since Gragson last won. His last win before Saturday, was at Bristol Motor Speedway in the seventh race of 2020. Following the win, Gragson burned his Goodyear tires to the ground and then climbed the catchfence to celebrate with the fans in attendance.

“Yeah, it’s been way too long, but first thing I want to say is, thank you to all of you badass race fans for coming out,” Gragson said. “You’re awesome baby. Every single one of you guys, I appreciate your support.”

This win is the third of Gragson’s career in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition.

Burton nearly was able to get enough of a run on Gragson to pull of the win, but he settled for second.

Here is video of the finish of Saturday’s race:

Austin Cindric, who lined up alongside Gragson on the final restart, finished third.

Kaulig Racing teammates Justin Haley and Jeb Burton finished fourth and fifth.

Justin Algaier, Tyler Reddick, Jeremy Clements, Myatt Snider and Alex Labbe rounded out the top-10 finishers on Saturday.

Denny Hamlin was the driver who was expected to cruise to victory lane, but a myriad of issues throughout the race ultimately led to a frustrating finish for the Virginia-native.

Hamlin looked to be driving his way to a Stage 1 win, when on the final lap of the Stage, Carson Ware, who was being lapped by Hamlin, didn’t give the NASCAR Cup Series veteran any room. This sent Hamlin onto the apron in turns 3 and 4, which sent him spinning from the lead.

Video: Denny Hamlin Spins in Final Turn While Lapping Car, Hands Stage 1 Win to Hemric

In the Stage break, Hamlin found more trouble on pit road as he made contact with David Starr on his path to his pit box. This caused damage to Hamlin’s right front fender, but luckily, the damage was mostly cosmetic.

Video: Denny Hamlin Slams Into David Starr On Pit Road During Stage Break Caution

Hamlin would rally back to the lead, but with 10 laps to go, the caution came back out for a spin by Brandon Jones. Under this caution, Hamlin pitted and during his pit stop, his team took equipment over the wall too soon. This sent Hamlin to the back, and out of contention for the race win.

Hamlin would finish a disappointing 12th.

There was trouble for Riley Herbst, the driver in possession of the final NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff spot.

On lap 107, Tommy Joe Martins had a mechanical issue with his No. 44 machine. As cars scattered to get around Martins, Herbst had nowhere to go and plowed into the back of Martins at full speed.

The hood on Herbst’s car would fly up and his engine compartment would burst into flames.

Video: Riley Herbst Slams Into Rear of Tommy Joe Martins, Hood Flies Up, Car Bursts Into Flames

Luckily, Herbst and Martins were able to walk away from the scary crash.

Toby Christie View All

Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for 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.

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