NASCAR Xfinity Series

Noah Gragson finally finds Victory Lane with Darlington win

2 Mins read
Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Twenty-four races into the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season and fifty since his last win, Noah Gragson finally broke his dry spell on Saturday when he won the Sport Clips/VFW Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway. It is his third career win and first at the track.

Pole sitter Daniel Hemric would run strong in the first two stages and won the first. However, his abysmal luck once again bit him in the rear when he spun on the final lap of the second stage which allowed Gragson to win that segment. Gragson had finished second to Hemric in Stage #1. The top ten in Stage #1 consisted of Hemric, Gragson, A.J. Allmendinger, last week’s winner Justin Haley, Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin, Harrison Burton, Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones, Myatt Snider, and Justin Allgaier. The second stage’s top fnishers were Gragson, Hamlin, Cindric, Allgaier, Hemric, Allmendinger, Burton, Austin Dillon, Haley, and Snider.

The final stage was marked by drama beginning with Riley Herbst slamming into Tommy Joe Martins‘ car which had been slowing down due to an engine failure. On the ensuing restart, Hamlin and Timmy Hill comprised the front row; the latter had stayed out but his transmission got stuck between gears, causing him to fall back and stack up the field.

Hemric spun again as a debris caution came out with four laps remaining to spark overtime. Prior to the restart, Hamlin was slapped with a penalty for having equipment over the wall too soon, ending his hopes of winning for the sixth time at Darlington. Gragson, who had been leading when the yellow arrived, held off Burton and Cindric to take the victory.

“It’s been way too long,” said Gragson. “A lot of frustration this year, and things haven’t gone our way, but we’re getting some momentum when we need to, and I just can’t thank everybody enough on this #9 team.”

Race results

FinishStartNumberDriverTeamManufacturerLapsStatus
189Noah GragsonJR MotorsportsChevrolet152Running
2620Harrison BurtonJoe Gibbs RacingToyota152Running
32422Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord152Running
4311Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet152Running
5510Jeb BurtonKaulig RacingChevrolet152Running
647Justin AllgaierJR MotorsportsChevrolet152Running
72823Tyler Reddick*Our MotorsportsChevrolet152Running
81551Jeremy ClementsJeremy Clements RacingChevrolet152Running
992Myatt SniderRichard Childress RacingChevrolet152Running
102236Alex LabbéDGM RacingChevrolet152Running
111239Ryan SiegRSS RacingFord152Running
121454Denny Hamlin*Joe Gibbs RacingToyota152Running
131002Ty DillonOur MotorsportsChevrolet152Running
14191Michael AnnettJR MotorsportsChevrolet152Running
151692Josh WilliamsDGM RacingChevrolet152Running
16174Landon CassillJD MotorsportsChevrolet152Running
173126Colin GarrettSam Hunt RacingToyota152Running
182617Mason MasseySS-Green Light RacingChevrolet152Running
193207Joe Graf Jr.SS-Green Light RacingChevrolet152Running
20216A.J. AllmendingerKaulig RacingChevrolet152Running
212048Jade BufordBig Machine RacingChevrolet152Running
223990B.J. McLeod*DGM RacingChevrolet152Running
23335Matt MillsB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet152Running
24118Daniel HemricJoe Gibbs RacingToyota152Running
25276Ryan VargasJD MotorsportsChevrolet152Running
26210Jeffrey EarnhardtJD MotorsportsChevrolet152Running
273015Colby HowardJD MotorsportsChevrolet152Running
282368Brandon BrownBrandonbilt MotorsportsChevrolet151Running
293531Austin Dillon*Jordan Anderson RacingChevrolet151Running
301861David StarrMBM MotorsportsToyota151Running
313874Carson WareMike Harmon RacingChevrolet151Running
323478Jesse LittleB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet150Running
332519Brandon JonesJoe Gibbs RacingToyota146Running
343747Kyle WeathermanMike Harmon RacingChevrolet134Running
353699Ryan EllisB.J. McLeod MotorsportsFord133Running
362966Timmy Hill*MBM MotorsportsFord116Accident
371344Tommy Joe MartinsMartins MotorsportsChevrolet108Accident
38798Riley HerbstStewart-Haas RacingFord107Accident
39118Sam MayerJR MotorsportsChevrolet45Brakes
404052Gray GauldingJimmy Means RacingChevrolet2Electrical
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Xfinity points
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History major at San Jose State University and lifelong motorsports fan who covers NASCAR and the Stadium Super Trucks.
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