Gragson gets Xfinity finale berth with first Homestead win

Oct 22, 2022, 5:20 AM | Updated: 6:00 pm
Noah Gragson celebrates on the roof of his car after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race at...

Noah Gragson celebrates on the roof of his car after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Homestead, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

              Noah Gragson poses with the trophy after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Homestead, Fla. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)
            
              Noah Gragson, second from left, climbs the wall with his crew after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Homestead, Fla. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)
            
              Trevor Bayne makes a pit stop during a NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Homestead, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
            
              Noah Gragson (9) and Jeremy Clements (51) compete during the NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Homestead, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
            
              Noah Gragson waves to the crowd before a NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Homestead, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
            
              Noah Gragson (9) crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Homestead, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
            
              Noah Gragson (9) does a burnout after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Homestead, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
            
              Noah Gragson celebrates on the roof of his car after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Homestead, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) — Noah Gragson gave JR Motorsports two drivers in the Xfinity Series championship finale with his win Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Gragson led 127 of the 200 laps then held off Ty Gibbs and AJ Allmendinger on a late restart to earn his eighth win of the season and the 13th of his Xfinity Series career.

Gragson joins teammate Josh Berry, who won last week at Las Vegas for the Chevrolet team owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., as the first two drivers locked into the championship finale at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 5. The remaining two spots will be determined next week at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.

“Tonight’s not about locking in the championship four,” Gragson said. “It’s about all the hardship that we’ve had here at Homestead.”

Last February, Gragson was on the verge of victory at Homestead when he slammed into a lapped car that had blown a tire ahead of him.

“I really wanted to win this one,” Gragson said, “more than any other race in my career.”

Gragson was dominant throughout, sweeping the stages and holding off runner-up Gibbs and Allmendinger on a late restart.

Gibbs will head to Martinsville third in the playoff standings.

“That’s a place we were really fast at earlier this year and probably had a shot to win,” Gibbs said. “I’m excited to go back there.”

Allmendinger, the regular-season champion, finished third after entering the race below the playoffs cutline after a late pit stop for two loose wheels caused him to finish 22nd last weekend.

Gragson, with three victories more than any other driver in the series this season, opened the playoffs by becoming the first driver in 39 years to win four races in a row.

“We’re going to show up prepared,” Gragson said. “We’re going to execute at the highest level. We’ve been executing as a championship team, and I just hope that after the season ends, people remember the season as the 9 team was the dominant team.”

___

More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Vancouver Canucks' Elias Pettersson, back, of Sweden, Curtis Lazar (20), Quinn Hughes, back right, ...
Associated Press

Pettersson scores early in OT, Canucks beat Canadiens 7-6

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Elias Pettersson scored 13 seconds into overtime and the Vancouver Canucks rallied to beat the Montreal Canadiens 7-6 on Monday night. Ilya Mikheyev scored two goals, Andrei Kuzmenko had a goal and an assist, and Conor Garland, Bo Horvat and Jack Studnicka also scored for the Canucks. Pettersson also had […]
24 hours ago
Indiana Pacers forward Jalen Smith (25) dunks against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30...
Associated Press

Rookie Nembhard has 31, leads Pacers past Warriors, 112-104

SAN FRANCSICO (AP) — Rookie Andrew Nembhard outshined the Splash Brothers on their home court. Nembhard scored a season-high 31 points and added 13 assists and eight rebounds to lead the undermanned Indiana Pacers to a 112-104 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Monday night. A second-round draft pick, Nembhard made a key 3-pointer […]
24 hours ago
Associated Press

North Dakota State wins 67-62 over Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Boden Skunberg scored 20 points as North Dakota State beat Portland 67-62 on Monday. Skunberg also contributed 10 rebounds for the Bison (2-8). Tajavis Miller shot 7 for 13, including 3 for 7 from beyond the arc to add 17 points. Damari Wheeler-Thomas went 5 of 9 from the field to […]
24 hours ago
Associated Press

Odunewu’s 23 lead New Mexico State past Simon Fraser 77-35

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Shakiru Odunewu had 23 points in New Mexico State’s 77-35 win against Simon Fraser on Monday. Odunewu also contributed 10 rebounds and three blocks for the Aggies (4-2). Kyle Feit added 16 points while shooting 6 for 15, including 4 for 12 from beyond the arc, and he also had […]
24 hours ago
San Diego State guard Matt Bradley, below, drives with the ball as Troy guard Nelson Phillips defen...
Associated Press

Bradley leads No. 22 San Diego St over Troy 60-55

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Matt Bradley scored 19 points and No. 22 San Diego State beat Troy 60-55 on Monday night. Darrion Trammell made a layup in traffic, converted two free throws and forced a key steal in the final three minutes to seal the win for the Aztecs (7-2). “Another hard-fought game,” San Diego […]
24 hours ago
Calgary Flames forward Nazem Kadri, left, celebrates his goal with teammate Rasmus Andersson during...
Associated Press

Kadri’s winner halts Coyotes’ comeback, Flames win 3-2

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Nazem Kadri scored the tiebreaking goal with 4:18 left in the third period and had two assists to lead the Calgary Flames to a 3-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night. Dillon Dube and Elias Lindholm also scored for Calgary, which has won five of its last six games […]
24 hours ago
Gragson gets Xfinity finale berth with first Homestead win