Noah Gragson Edges Austin Cindric At Martinsville To Advance To The Championship 4

Noah Gragson Edges Austin Cindric At Martinsville To Advance To The Championship 4

by October 31, 2021 1 comment

RIDGEWAY, Va. – Noah Gragson edged Austin Cindric to the finish line in the Dead on Tools 250 at Martinsville Speedway to advance to the Championship 4. The margin of victory was 0.064, which is the closest NASCAR Xfinity Series finish in Martinsville history.

Gragson entered the night having to win in order to compete for the championship next weekend at Phoenix Raceway; however, it took two late-race cautions for the opportunity to come to fruition. Daniel Hemric appeared as if he was en route to winning his first-ever NASCAR national series race, but Justin Haley spun in Turn 4 and brought out the caution with just five laps to go. Gragson restarted on the front row alongside of Hemric, and by the time the two drivers reached Turn 4, it was Gragson out front. The caution quickly came back out due to Josh Berry spinning in Turn 4.

“I have got to tell you – it’s the first time as a racer that I’ve had to choose to not put myself in the best position to win,” Hemric said. “I wanted to line up on the top. I felt like I could beat him if everything is all fair games, but the ultimate goal at the start of the season with this Poppy Bank Toyota Supra team was do what we officially have a shot to do in Phoenix next weekend. It just felt like we had a shot to minimize the damage and that’s what we did. I’m so disappointed. This car should be in Victory Lane.”

On the NASCAR Overtime restart, Gragson led the way, but this time, it was Austin Cindric who was battling him for the lead. As the two drivers entered Turn 3 for the final time, Gragson’s car brake hopped, and the bottom lane opened up for Cindric. The two drivers battled door-to-door in the final corner, and in the end, it was Gragson in the JR Motorsports No. 9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber BRCC Chevrolet earning his third victory of the season.

“I want to cry right now,” Gragson said. “It has been a rough season. We got a couple of wins there at Darlington and at Richmond. It wasn’t looking good after last weekend, and I was pretty fire up. I told my guys that we’ve got an opportunity. We’re still in it. I’m so thankful. It’s such an awesome opportunity. Second win here at Martinsville. I get to take home a clock.”

Gragson joins Cindric, hemric and AJ Allmendinger in the Championship 4. Cindric enters the final NASCAR Playoff race as the defending series champion.

“I wasn’t going to use up Noah, obviously,” Cindric said. “I intend on racing him for a championship a certain way. I said it after Bristol. Here in that way. I just needed a couple more inches, maybe move up the track just a little bit more, but overall, I’m really proud of this season. I’ve been saying it since last year and this year, I feel the same way, and I’m not talking about going back-to-back. It’s about making it to the Championship 4. I feel like that’s the hardest thing you can do in a national series is to make it there.”

Hemric held on to finish third, followed by Sam Mayer, Justin Allgaier, Brandon Jones, AJ Allmendinger, Alex Labbe, Jeremy Clements and Riley Herbst.

Throughout the night, there were 13 cautions for 75 laps. The largest accident occurred on Lap 194, when five drivers piled up in Turn 2. The red flag was displayed for 10 minutes and 47 seconds.

The final race of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs will be held at Phoenix Raceway on Saturday, November 6. Live coverage of the race will broadcast on NBCSN and MRN at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/

1 Comment so far

Jump into a conversation