By Sarah Handy, Staff Writer
It may be early but JR Motorsports driver Noah Gragson is off to a solid and consistent start in his 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series campaign. Last Saturday’s Production Alliance Group 300 from Auto Club Speedway marked back-to-back top three finishes for Gragson after finishing third in the season-opener at Daytona the week before. The No. 9 Bass Pro Shops Chevy rolled off the starting grid in the sixth position and was a contender all day.
Gragson was flawless throughout the afternoon, except for one slight pit road mishap that occurred on lap 125 during the eighth caution of the race. The No. 9 slide through his pit stall, forcing him to back up before the stop could be conducted.
It didn’t set him back however as Gragson flew through the field after restarting 14th and was back running at the front by lap 129. The Las Vegas native went on to finish both stages in the fourth position and lead for a total of 25 laps on the day.
In a race that saw three NASCAR overtimes, Gragson ultimately brought his Chevy home in the second position. Post-race he said that the team could have made some better adjustments there at the end but that the 07 of Cole Custer (race winner) was fast all day.
“Probably could have made a little better of adjustments, but it just came up short,” said Gragson. “The 07 was real fast all day. We’ll take it. It was a building block, super proud of this Bass Pro Shops team. They worked their tails off. We had a lot of speed today.
We’ll learn from our adjustments, learn for the future, and we were close. Pit crew did great all day. Felt like a fast car all weekend. Like you said at the end, [definitely] different scenarios there throughout the whole race, so take that and move on to Las Vegas.”
The Xfinity Series will now shift its focus to Gragson’s home track of Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon, a track where the JR Motorsports driver has never finished outside of the top-six. In his two Vegas starts last season, the hometown driver had finishes of fifth and third respectively.
Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 300 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway is scheduled for 4:30pm Eastern on FS1.
Photo Credit: Rachel Schuoler / Kickin’ The Tires