Noah Gragson needed a win in order to advance to the Championship 4 at Phoenix Raceway. He came into the race vowing to take no prisoners, but actually drove the race totally clean.
And in the end, the driver of the No. 9 made a mistake and slipped up in the final turn, but held on to beat Austin Cindric in a side-by-side finish to win the Dead on Tools 250 at Martinsville Speedway.
“This team, this Bass Pro Shops team — I want to cry right now Marty,” an emotional Gragson stated. “It’s been a rough season. We got a couple of wins there at Darlington and Richmond, but it wasn’t looking good after last weekend. I was pretty fired up. I told my guys that we got an opportunity, we’re still in it.
“I’m so thankful. It’s just such an awesome opportunity.”
For Gragson, it was a statement win, an he planted the exclamation point on the night by blowing his tires out with an epic burnout before climbing the grandstand fence. Gragson concluded the celebration by shotgunning a beer from a fan.
Gragson led a race-high 153 laps en route to his third win of the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season. This marks Gragson’s fifth-career NASCAR Xfinity Series win.
Now, Gragson will go on to compete for a championship next weekend at Phoenix.
Behind Gragson and Cindric was Daniel Hemric, who is still in search of his first-career win.
Sam Mayer, who had his front end obliterated early in the race, was able to rally from multiple laps down to finish in fourth.
Justin Allgaier finished fifth.
Brandon Jones, AJ Allmendinger, Alex Labbe, Jeremy Clements and Riley Herbst rounded out the top-10 finishers in the race.
The four drivers who advanced to the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship 4 are: Noah Gragson, AJ Allmendinger, Daniel Hemric and Austin Cindric.
Brandon Jones, Justin Allgaier, Harrison Burton and Justin Haley were eliminated from Playoff contention.