Gragson finishes sixth, wins Dash 4 Cash to lead JRM at Talladega

JR Motorsports | 4/24/2021

Bass Pro Shops Black Rifle Coffee Brandt Josh Berry Justin Allgaier Michael Annett News Noah Gragson Pilot Flying J Race Report Talladega Superspeedway Tire Pros TrueTimber

JRM shows speed throughout race, but gets unlucky as weather comes in to play to shorten race at Talladega.

Race Results | Xfinity Series Points

Race 8 of 33: Ag-Pro 300 at Talladega Superspeedway
Track Specs: 2.66-mile oval / 90 laps
Weather: Partly cloudy; 79 degrees
Race Winner: Jeb Burton

Gragson's Finish: 6th 

Allgaier's Finish: 29th 

Berry's Finish: 31st

Annett's Finish: 32nd

 


Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson had victory on his mind in the late stages of Saturday’s Ag-Pro 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, but an untimely rain storm ended the young Nevada driver’s quest to his third career series victory. The rain did not, however, stop Gragson from earning his second consecutive $100,000 Xfinity Dash 4 Cash bonus and third overall. It also qualified him for a third try at the Dash 4 Cash in the next event May 8 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

Stage One Finish: 3rd   

Gragson fired off from the fourth position for the scheduled 113-lap event on the big 2.66-mile oval after the lineup was set earlier in the week per NASCAR’s mathematical formula. Settling into the pack, Gragson rode the high line around the Alabama oval and got a feel for the moves he and his Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber®/Black Rifle Coffee Company Chevrolet could make. Dicing at the front of the pack with polesitter Austin Cindric, Gragson led lap 16 and was in front on lap 24 heading to the Stage One finish. Teammates Justin Haley and Jeb Burton put together a run over the final circuit and edged Gragson out under the green-and-white checkered flag. With the third-place finish, Gragson earned eight valuable points. Under caution, Gragson radioed to crew chief Dave Elenz that his No. 9 Chevrolet felt tight and might be rubbing the splitter. On pit road, the No. 9 team changed four tires and made a pair of adjustments to help with the tight condition, sending their driver back out in 18th position.

Stage Two Finish: 1st

When the green flag waved again over the field, Gragson wasted little time moving forward. The young driver gained six positions in the first two laps and was seventh the next time by the flag stand. He cracked the top five on lap 33 with a big run, and kept moving forward to fourth one lap later. At lap 37, Gragson fell back through the field to 15th as the field began dicing in earnest. After losing two more spots, Gragson recovered and began his charge back to the front on the bottom line. With five laps remaining in the stage, Gragson had climbed all the way back to sixth, and took third place two laps later. He was second at lap 48, and on the final lap, he swept past both Jeb Burton and Cindric to win Stage Two. It was the second straight race in which Gragson had won a stage after taking Stage One at Martinsville in the previous event. The finish added 10 stage points and another playoff point to Gragson’s total. Under caution, Gragson told Elenz that his car was good, and Elenz called his driver to pit lane for right-side tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. The Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber®/Black Rifle Coffee crew held serve and sent Gragson back out atop the standings for the final stage.

Final Stage:

When the green flag waved to begin the final stage, Gragson fell to second and all the way to 13th as the field sorted itself out over the first few laps. At lap 69, Gragson came to pit road under green for fuel to the end, resuming his race back in 30th position. Once back on the track and at speed, Gragson began to move forward again, regaining the top 20 after just three laps. He was 11th when the caution waved at lap 77 for teammate Josh Berry’s spin in Turn 4. The rest of the field that had not pitted did so, and Gragson found himself fourth when the green flag waved again at lap 80. Gragson was running sixth when the caution waved again for a multi-car crash in Turn 2 that involved teammate Michael Annett and others. While the track was cleared of debris, the rain moved in and ended the day at lap 90 with Gragson finishing sixth.

The sixth-place finish gave Gragson his second consecutive $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus for Gragson, and it was a profitable day in the points as well. With his finish, Gragson earned 49 points and moved up a spot to 10th in the standings.

Jeb Burton won the race, with Cindric, AJ Allmendinger, Riley Herbst and Ryan Sieg rounding out the top five. Gragson led the second five, with Brandon Brown, Haley, Myatt Snyder and Harrison Burton the rest of the top 10.

Noah Gragson, driver No. 9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Camaro SS

“We absolutely had a car capable of winning. Our Bass Pro Shops/True Timber/Black Rifle Coffee Camaro was fast all day. I could really go anywhere I wanted to. We made really good adjustments on our pit stops. The pit crew did an awesome job all day. Winning $100,000 is a big one for us. This is two weekends in a row. It’s pretty cool to be able to do that. Man, I wanted to race for the win really bad for Johnny Morris and this No. 9 team. I know how much this track means to Johnny and the Bass Pro Shops group, and for the Earnhardt family as well.”


Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier, driver of the No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet, battled inside the top 10 throughout the opening two stages of Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Talladega Superspeedway. Then, midway through the final stage, the skies opened up just after Allgaier visited pit road with the hopes that fresher tires would better help him navigate through the lead pack. The subsequent downpour forced NASCAR to deem the race official after just 90 laps, trapping Allgaier outside of the top 20 and relegating the JR Motorsports driver to a 29th-place finish.

Stage One Finish: 10th

Allgaier took the green flag for scheduled 113-lap event from the eighth position after the field was once again set by NASCAR’s mathematical formula earlier in the week. In the early laps, the driver of the BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet quickly worked his way to the outside line as the lead pack started to work single-file around the 2.66-mile superspeedway. As the caution-free opening stage progressed, Allgaier reported to crew chief Jason Burdett that he was fighting a loose-handling condition. Despite being loose, Allgaier battled side-by-side over the final laps of the opening stage to take the green-and-white checkered flag in the 10th position and earn one valuable stage point in the process.

Stage Two Finish: 2nd 

During the stage-ending caution, Burdett called the driver of the BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment in the hopes of improving the loose-handling condition. Returning to the track for the lap-29 restart in 12th, Allgaier wasted little time moving forward, rejoining the top 10 on lap 30 and drafting up to the top five on lap 32. From there Allgaier continue to fight for position, racing two and three-wide while drafting with JRM teammates Noah Gragson and Josh Berry, taking advantage of the middle line to hold steady inside the top five coming to the closing laps of the caution-free second stage. On the final lap of the stage, Allgaier worked with teammate Gragson coming off of the fourth corner and together, the duo charged into the first and second position by the time the field hit the finish line, with Allgaier taking the green-and-white checkered in second. With the stage-ending result, Allgaier brought the No. 7 team’s stage point total to 10 points on the afternoon.

Final Stage:

Burdett made the call to bring the Illinois native to pit road following the runner-up result in Stage Two for four tires and fuel, but due to a handful of drivers opting for two tires, Allgaier lined up in the 13th position for the start of the third and final stage on lap 55. Once back under way the JRM driver remained solidly inside the top 15 as the field quickly returned to single-file formation along the outside line. Still riding 13th, Allgaier came to pit road for the lone round of green-flag pit stops on lap 68 for fuel only. Cycling back out in 12th after the green-flag stops were completed, Allgaier looked to rejoin the top 10 before the field was slowed for the first on-track incident of the day on lap 74. With several cars opting to come to pit road during this caution period, Burdett made the call to have Allgaier stay out, moving the driver of the BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet up to the sixth position for the lap-79 restart. While back under green, Allgaier again battled three-wide for position before settling into ninth just prior to a lap-84 caution.

While under caution, the decision was made for Allgaier to return to pit road for four fresh tires in the hopes of giving the driver of the No. 7 better maneuverability in the pack. Returning to the track in 29th, Allgaier was poised to make a charge toward the front. Unfortunately, that charge never came, as heavy rain surrounded the speedway, forcing NASCAR to display the red flag.

As the rain persisted, NASCAR decided to deem the race official 23 laps shy of the finish.

Allgaier was ultimately scored in the 29th position. 

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet team

“I hate that we didn’t get a chance to race out to the finish today but we for sure had a really fast BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet. I just wish that rain could’ve held off for about 20 more laps. A big thanks to all my guys on this JR Motorsports team for all of their hard work, especially through all the rain today. We’ll move on from today and be ready to go in Darlington.”


Josh Berry

Josh Berry, driver of the No. 8 Tire Pros Chevrolet, finished 31st at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday afternoon. Berry spent much of the rain-shortened race inside the top 10, fighting his way as high as second during the final stage before falling victim to a cut tire. The incident ultimately snuffed out his opportunity to rebound as the race was cut short due to rain.

Stage One Finish: 13th

Berry took the green flag in the sixth position. Throughout Stage One, the Tennessee native worked with teammates Justin Allgaier and Noah Gragson on the outside lane to maintain solid placement inside the top 10. With two laps to go in the stage, Berry lost a strong push from behind and faded to 13th as the stage-ending caution waved. 

Stage Two Finish: 13th

During the ensuing caution, crew chief Taylor Moyer called Berry down to pit road for four tires and fuel as Berry reported the car was a bit too free. As Stage Two restarted, Berry once again hooked up in the draft with the JRM teammates. As the field began to make some dicey moves during the middle of the run, Berry strategically fell to the back of the first pack, saying he felt like a wreck was coming and didn’t want to be caught in it. He finished Stage Two in the 13th position.

Final Stage:  

Moyer made the call for the No. 8 Tire Pros Chevrolet to take only two tires during the stage break. The move paid off as Berry gained seven spots on pit road. The driver of the No. 8 restarted the final stage in sixth place on lap 55. Berry utilized the bottom lane to slash forward, working his way up the runner-up spot on lap 59 before the field started to get strung out and run single file along the top. On lap 69, Moyer called Berry to pit road for fuel only during a scheduled green-flag stop. Berry came into the pits behind leader Austin Cindric, but was able to squeeze past him as they exited pit road.

On lap 77, Berry brought out the caution as he spun coming out of Turn 4 due to a cut tire. Moments before, Berry expressed concern on the radio that he had a right rear going down, and started to let up in Turn 3 as the field went by. Berry averted any unnecessary damage and quickly brought the No. 8 Chevy to the pits, but received a penalty for pitting too soon and got trapped a lap down.

Berry earned the lap back on the 86th circuit as another caution came out. As Berry lined up in the 31st position after receiving the free pass, heavy rain moved into the area and forced NASCAR to call the race due to the weather. Berry was scored 31st.

Josh Berry, driver No. 8 Tire Pros Chevrolet Camaro team

“That’s a tough end to a solid race for our Tire Pros Chevrolet team. We brought a really fast Camaro to the track and it felt good to get up there and race for the lead in during the final stage. After having that tire go down, we battled hard to get back on the lead lap. I really wanted to run the final 23 laps after getting the free pass. I really feel like we would have had a chance to get back to the front as fast as our Tire Pros Camaro was today.”


Michael Annett 

Michael Annett and the Pilot Flying J myRewards Plus™ team were in position for a solid finish on Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway when another car cut a tire and hit the left rear of Annett’s Chevrolet with 28 laps remaining in the Ag-Pro 300 for NASCAR Xfinity Series cars. Despite little cosmetic damage, the impact broke the left rear shock absorber and caused a delay making repairs, putting the Iowa native 32nd before the rains came to end the event 22 laps early.

Stage One Finish: 16th     

Starting the race from the 12th position following NASCAR’s mathematical formula, Annett took some time to sort out the Pilot Flying J myRewards Plus™ Chevrolet and cracked the top 10 for the first time after 10 laps. As the laps wound down in the 25-lap Stage One, Annett rode the top line around the 2.66-mile speedway, in line with his JR Motorsports teammates. Near the end of the first segment, a middle line formed and had some success, which pushed Annett back in the order and he finished Stage One in 16th position. Upon its conclusion, Annett told crew chief Mike Bumgarner that his Chevrolet was loose and needed to be tightened up to get the rear tires into the track. On pit road, the Pilot Flying J crew changed four tires, added fuel and made a chassis adjustment to help Annett’s handling, as well as urging him to save fuel. He returned to the speedway in 21st position for the start of Stage Two.

Stage Two Finish: 9th    

As the second stage got under way, Annett began moving forward, rising to 13th by lap 31. Following the ebb and flow of the two-line draft, Annett ran in the middle of the top 20 until lap 46, when he started to move up rapidly. One lap later, Annett worked his way back into the top 10 and was sixth on lap 49 before falling back to ninth under the green-and-white checkered flag to end Stage Two. The result added two valuable stage points to his total for the day. Under yellow, Annett told Bumgarner that the chassis changes on the Stage One pit stop made the handling “10 times better,” and that he needed a little more of the same on the Stage Two stop to keep moving forward. On pit road, Bumgarner and the Pilot Flying J crew changed two tires, filled the car full of fuel and sent their driver back out in 12th place for the final stage.

Final Stage:

When the green flag waved on the final stage at lap 56, Annett followed the same pattern as in the first two, staying with his line and moving forward. Strategy was in play in terms of fuel windows and the looming rain storm in the area. Bumgarner called Annett to pit road on lap 69 for fuel only and sent him back out in 34th position. As the rest of the field made their stops, Annett cycled out in 15th when the caution waved at lap 77 for a flat tire and spin by JRM teammate Josh Berry. Inside his fuel window and with rain approaching, Annett resumed the race in 10th position. Riding the high line off Turn 2 on lap 86, the car driven by Joe Graf Jr. cut a tire down at the bottom of the track and slid high, tapping the left rear fender of Annett’s car and sending him into a spin.

While no other cars impacted the spinning Pilot Flying J myRewardsPlus™ Chevrolet, the left rear tire went down. Once stopped, Annett tried to re-fire his machine and had some difficulty doing so, costing him time. Getting it fired, he rolled around to pit lane to the attention of his crew. The left rear shock had broken in the melee and it cost the team two laps to get it fixed. Annett rejoined the field and was set to take the green flag at lap 90 when the rains came, ending the race.

Jeb Burton won the race, followed by Austin Cindric, AJ Allmendinger, Riley Herbst and Ryan Sieg. JR Motorsports’ Noah Gragson was sixth and collected his second straight Xfinity Dash 4 Cash bonus, with Brandon Brown, Justin Haley, Myatt Snider and Harrison Burton the remainder of the top 10.

Michael Annett, driver No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet team

“I don’t really know what happened back there (in Turn 2). I saw him (the 07 car) coming and moved up, but he just caught the left rear enough to spin me out. It didn’t really do anything to the car, but I had trouble getting it to start. Then we got to pit road and found that the left rear shock was broken. It’s a shame. We had a good strategy, had laps to go and we were looking for another good finish here. It’s a shame. Mike (Bumgarner) and the team did a good job getting us back on track.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • September 25 07:30 PM ET
    Alsco Uniforms 302Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • October 2 04:30 PM ET
    Talladega Superspeedway
  • October 9 03:00 PM ET
    Drive for the Cure 250Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
  • October 16 03:00 PM ET
    Andy’s Frozen Custard 335Texas Motor Speedway
  • October 23 03:00 PM ET
    Kansas Lottery 300Kansas Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Food City 300

Bristol Motor Speedway | 9/17/2021
RankDriverPointsBehind
1AJ Allmendinger10430
2Austin Cindric1033-10
3Justin Allgaier924-119
4Daniel Hemric895-148
5Harrison Burton871-172
6Justin Haley864-179
7Noah Gragson863-180
14Michael Annett524-519
34Sam Mayer #186-857