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NASCAR Xfinity at Bristol: Gragson nudges teammate aside to win

NASCAR Xfinity Series Cheddar's 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway:  Gragson nudges teammate aside to win

Bristol, TN, June 1/20 (GRW): Coming to what looked like the final restart with six laps to go, the JR Motorsports teammates Noah Gragson and Justin Allgaier were lined up side-by-side in the front row. On the green, Allgaier was unable to pull ahead of Gragson and the two of them went corner to corner side-by-side. Gragson was on the low side and he slid up into Allgaier sending him up into wall.

This brought out yet another caution and sent the race into overtime. Allgaier’s race was as good as over and Gragson was in command. On this restart, he shot out into the lead over Chase Briscoe and held on for the remaining distance, taking the checker by a 0.328-second margin. Brandon Jones finished third, Harrison Burton fourth and Myatt Snider fifth.

The starting order was determined by draw putting Burton on the pole – and he led for most of the first 45 laps of the 300-lap race. Already there had been a big crash on lap 7 which knocked Austin Cindric and Michael Annett out of the race and, although he was able to continue, left Ross Chastain laps down and out of contention.

Gragson came to the fore on lap 46 and held on to win the first Stage which ended on lap 85. Burton was still in contention and he regained the lead on lap 92 for another 37 laps. Coming off the sixth caution, which came at lap 125, Allgaier showed his stuff and passed Burton for the lead. There was another caution – with a red-flag – before the end of the second Stage. Allgaier was the Stage winner ahead of Gragson, Justin Haley and Burton.

PHOTO NXS BMS Hemric Pit 060120Daniel Hemric pits during the Cheddar's 300 (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Allgaier now had the upper hand and he controlled the race lead though this third, 130-lap Stage. And he was still the race leader when that second-last caution came – setting up the unfortunate altercation with his teammate which saw Gragson winning. Allgaier was scored as 18th, three laps back. The team meeting with their boss Dale Earnhardt Jr the next day must have been interesting.

“I really apologize to Justin and the No. 7 team, that’s not how I want to race but I saw a position open up, he kind of slipped off the bottom the lap before and I tried to get to the bottom and I just got too loose,” Gragson said. “But one heck of a night for this No. 9 team.”

The television commentary for this race featured the Busch brothers – Kurt and Kyle Busch. These two have had a colourful and often controversial career – as often as not, with their barbs directed at each other – and often the centre of controversy. However, on this night, which was Kyle’s first time in this television role, they were well-behaved and the image of good manners. They complemented each other well and their commentary was obviously based on a wealth of knowledge which came from all their years at this difficult oval. We can hope that we might again see this duo on television in this role many times.

Click HERE for the results of the Cheddar's 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway

The next Xfinity race will be held next Saturday, June 6 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

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