Noah Gragson Outruns Brandon Jones In Bristol To Win Food City 300by Hunter Thomas September 16, 2022 1 comment
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Noah Gragson ran the high line and outran a hard charging Brandon Jones to win the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The JR Motorsports driver only led once throughout the race, but he ran up front all race long. In the final 25 laps, Gragson paced the field, but it was Jones who hunted him down. As the laps ticked away, Jones got closer and challenged Gragson for the lead; however, Gragson was running the high groove, which proved to be faster. The two drivers battled each other with respect, and in the end, it was Gragson who crossed the finish line first, earning his career-high, sixth victory of the season.
“After that last caution came out, I knew if we could ring the top, it was going to be hard for him (Jones) to get there,” Gragson said. “I appreciate Brandon Jones racing us clean. He fed us a bumper with two laps to go. I was hanging on scrubbing the fence.”
Jones put in a valiant effort, overcoming adversity; however, he came up just short of the victory. Jones believed that it was his race to lose, and in the closing laps, he gained on Gragson in the wrong sections of the track, hindering his momentum.
“This one hurts the most just because it was our race to win, I felt like,” Jones said. “We battled so many things tonight adversity wise, and just kept coming back. It was really cool to look at our race as a whole to see where it started to see where it ended for us. Really thought when the 7 (Justin Allgaier) sped – I thought easy, piece of cake, we’ve got him easy, but the bottom didn’t take off great, but those newer, fresher tires certainly paid a dividend at the end. I just caught him (Gragson) at the wrong time, every single time. I could get in deeper into the corner, and I could kind of get him in the middle, but I could never get him at the exit. I had maybe two times where I had a shot maybe to try to get in his left rear, try to get him loose. I put maximum pressure on him.”
Austin Hill, Sam Mayer who recovered from an early spin and Riley Herbst rounded out the top-five. Completing the top-10 was Regular Season Champion AJ Allmendinger, Josh Berry, Stefan Parsons who earned a career-high finish, Justin Allgaier and Ryan Sieg.
Ty Gibbs won Stage 1, and Allgaier won Stage 2.
Following the race, it was Daniel Hemric and Sieg who clinched the final two spots in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs.
There were six lead changes among five drivers. Allgaier led a race high of 148 laps.
The caution flag flew on eight occasions. The most notable accident occurred on Lap 130, when Ty Gibbs crashed into Sheldon Creed in Turn 2 after slight contact from Gragson. Creed entered the night well outside of the Playoff cutline and needed a win to advance.
The Round of 12 of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs will kickoff at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 24. Live coverage of the Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 will broadcast live on USA and PRN at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com