NASCAR Xfinity Series

Noah Gragson edges out Cindric for Dead On Tools 250 victory, clinches Final Four spot

2 Mins read
Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

It took a drag race to the finish for Noah Gragson to lock his spot in the Championship Round, but he is now in contention for his first NASCAR Xfinity Series title. Gragson edged out Austin Cindric to win Saturday’s Dead On Tools 250 at Martinsville Speedway by just .064 seconds, making him one of four drivers to race for the championship alongside Cindric, Daniel Hemric, and A.J. Allmendinger.

Cindric, the reigning champion and pole-sitter, and Gragson dominated the race as they respectively led 64 and 153 of 250 laps. The former dominated the opening stage as he led every lap to win, while Cindric did the same for Stage #2.

The incidents began to mount in the third and final segment; compared to just two on-track cautions across the first two stages (Stage #2 was entirely green), there were four times as much in Stage #3. One such caution on lap 244 came after Justin Haley‘s brakes caught fire and blew his right-front tyre, causing him to spin and eliminating him from title contention.

Ty Gibbs led the way for much of Stage #3 until he was turned by Gragson and impacted by Joe Gibbs Racing team-mate Harrison Burton, dealing damage to the latter’s playoff run. Gragson assumed the lead until JGR’s Hemric passed him on lap 232. Hemric, who was still seeking his first career win, saw his hopes disappear with Riley Herbst spinning Josh Berry on lap 250 to set up overtime.

A poor restart by the inside line enabled Gragson to propel into first with Cindric in tow. Cindric closed the gap in the final corners and was able to pull alongside Gragson, but could not complete the overtake. The win is Gragson’s third of 2021, a career high, and means he has won at all three short tracks on the Xfinity schedule (Bristol in 2020 and Richmond in September). He had won at Martinsville in the Camping World Truck Series in 2017, which also locked him into that year and series’ final round.

“It’s been a rough, rough season,” said Gragson. “We had a couple of wins there, at Darlington and Richmond. After that deal last weekend (crash at Kansas), I was pretty fired up. I told my guys we still have an opportunity. We’re still in it.”

Cindric will fight for his second straight championship while Gragson, Allmendinger, and Hemric are gunning for their first.

Race results

199Noah GragsonJR MotorsportsChevrolet257Running
2122Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord257Running
3718Daniel HemricJoe Gibbs RacingToyota257Running
4118Sam MayerJR MotorsportsChevrolet257Running
557Justin AllgaierJR MotorsportsChevrolet257Running
6819Brandon JonesJoe Gibbs RacingToyota257Running
7316A.J. AllmendingerKaulig RacingChevrolet257Running
82536Alex LabbéDGM RacingChevrolet257Running
91851Jeremy ClementsJeremy Clements RacingChevrolet257Running
101698Riley HerbstStewart-Haas RacingFord257Running
112292Josh WilliamsDGM RacingChevrolet257Running
12234Landon CassillJD MotorsportsChevrolet257Running
13122Myatt SniderRichard Childress RacingChevrolet257Running
143026Colin GarrettSam Hunt RacingToyota257Running
153207Joe Graf Jr.SS-Green Light RacingChevrolet257Running
162817J.J. YeleySS-Green Light RacingChevrolet257Running
173148Jade BufordBig Machine RacingChevrolet257Running
183890Preston PardusDGM RacingChevrolet257Running
191302Brett MoffittOur MotorsportsChevrolet257Running
201020Harrison BurtonJoe Gibbs RacingToyota257Running
213761Stephen LeichtMBM MotorsportsToyota257Running
22270Jeffrey EarnhardtJD MotorsportsChevrolet257Running
233499Ryan EllisB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet257Running
243666David StarrMBM MotorsportsToyota257Running
252623Natalie DeckerOur MotorsportsChevrolet257Running
263378Akinori Ogata*B.J. McLeod MotorsportsToyota257Running
27254Ty GibbsJoe Gibbs RacingToyota257Running
282931Josh BerryJordan Anderson RacingChevrolet256Running
29355Matt MillsB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet255Running
303952Spencer Boyd*Jimmy Means RacingChevrolet254Running
311439Ryan SiegRSS RacingFord253Running
32216Ryan VargasJD MotorsportsChevrolet249Running
33411Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet222Brakes
342447Kyle WeathermanMike Harmon RacingChevrolet221Running
352015Bayley Currey*JD MotorsportsChevrolet212Running
361768Brandon BrownBrandonbilt MotorsprotsChevrolet204Accident
371510Jeb BurtonKaulig RacingChevrolet194Accident
3861Michael AnnettJR MotorsportsChevrolet192Accident
394074Mike HarmonMike Harmon RacingChevrolet38Overheating
401944Tommy Joe MartinsMartins MotorsportsChevrolet36Rear Gear
Bold – Currently in playoffs
Underline – Eliminated from playoffs
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Truck 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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