Noah Gragson wins Phoenix Xfinity race
AVONDALE, Ariz. - After finishing second or third in the first three Xfinity races of the season, JR Motorsports driver Noah Gragson collected his first win of the season Saturday at Phoenix Raceway.
Gragson passed Brandon Jones for the lead with 14 laps to go and went on to score his sixth career series win. Gragson led 114 of the 200 laps and won by 2.55 seconds. Jones finished second.
Josh Berry placed third and was followed by pole-sitter Trevor Bayne and John Hunter Nemechek. Bayne scored a top-five despite a pit road speeding penalty at the stage 2 break. The race went caution-free after that point and didn’t give Bayne a chance to close the gap on the leaders as he moved through the field.
Ty Gibbs was sixth and followed by AJ Allmendinger, Daniel Hemric, Landon Cassill and Justin Allgaier.
Jones took the lead on Lap 172 when Gragson made his green-flag pit stop. Gragson got by Jones on Lap 186.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Trevor Bayne
STAGE 2 WINNER: Noah Gragson
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Winner Noah Gragson scored 59 out of a possible 60 points. He fell one point shy when Trevor Bayne nipped him at the line to win the first stage. ... Runner-up Brandon Jones had not finished better than 10th in the first three races. “I think this is exactly what this 19 team needed to kind of turn this season around,” he said. ... Josh Berry, who was third, scored his third consecutive top-five finish. ... AJ Allmendinger placed seventh, giving him a top 10 in each of the first four races of the year. ... Justin Allgaier placed 10th, marking his 16th consecutive top-10 finish.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Riley Herbst finished last in the 38-car field after a crash. He told FS1: “That was probably one of the hardest hits I have taken. ... I went into (Turn) 3 and hit the brake and it hooked a hard right and went to the floor. I don’t know what happened.”
NOTABLE: Nick Sanchez finished 26th in his Xfinity debut. Parker Retzlaff, who started sixth, finished 36th in his Xfinity debut.
NEXT: The series races at 5 p.m. ET March 19 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.