NASCAR Xfinity Series

Noah Gragson takes United Rentals 200 victory

3 Mins read
Credit: Logan Riely/Getty Images

Noah Gragson‘s 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series season is off to a blazing start. After finishing third in the first race followed by a pair of seconds, he dominated Saturday’s United Rentals 200 at Phoenix Raceway by leading 114 of 200 laps to win his sixth career race.

Gragson qualified second next to Trevor Bayne, who would be his biggest challenge as he dominated the first stage. The lone incident of the segment came on lap 23 when Riley Herbst spun and hit the turn three wall. At stage’s end, Gragson, Brandon Jones, John Hunter Nemechek, Ty Gibbs, Justin Allgaier, Landon Cassill, A.J. Allmendinger, Josh Berry, and Sam Mayer followed Bayne.

“That was probably one of the hardest hits I have taken,” commented Herbst. While certainly a disappointing day for him, the Herbst family saw more luck in nearby Nevada as his uncle Tim finished second overall in the Mint 400. “I thought we had a pretty good Monster Energy Ford Mustang. I went into (turn) three and hit the brake and it hooked a hard right and went to the floor. I don’t know what happened.”

Issues on pit road like a poor stop and speeding penalty dropped Bayne back, and Stage #2 instead saw Gragson battle with Bayne’s Joe Gibbs Racing team-mate Jones for the lead. Mayer, a colleague of Gragson at JR Motorsports, and JGR’s Gibbs clashed on lap 56 as Berry made contact with Gibbs and sent him into a spin, though the field avoided his sideways car. It was the lone caution of the day as the final thirty laps in the stage ran green, during which Gragson fought with Jones before clearing him on lap 70 and leading the rest of the way. Allgaier, Jones, Bayne, Mayer, Nemechek, Allmendinger, Daniel Hemric, Cassill, and Mayer rounded out the top ten.

The final stage was completely green. Although Nemechek had the early advantage, Gragson took the lead on lap 113 and never looked back, only surrendering the position during green-flag stops at the 170-lap marker. With fifteen laps to go, Gragson got by Jones and drove away to the win.

“I thought when we came out of the pits there and were out ahead of [Noah], it was going to be pretty good because aero situations were pretty tough today and it seemed like whoever was leading the race was kind of difficult to pass,” commented Jones. “Noah was leading before we all pitted. We were a little bit faster, so I think they just made some adjustments and got it better.”

Gragson joins Kevin Harvick in 2005 as the only drivers in Xfinity Series history to record top-three finishes in each of the first four races of a season.

Two drivers in the field made their Xfinity débuts: Nick Sanchez finished twenty-sixth, while Parker Retzlaff qualified sixth but a fuel pump issue relegated him to thirty-sixth.

Race results

129Noah GragsonJR MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
2519Brandon JonesJoe Gibbs RacingToyota200Running
388Josh BerryJR MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
4118Trevor BayneJoe Gibbs RacingToyota200Running
51126John Hunter Nemechek*Sam Hunt RacingToyota200Running
6354Ty GibbsJoe Gibbs RacingToyota200Running
71716A.J. AllmendingerKaulig RacingChevrolet200Running
81511Daniel HemricKaulig RacingChevrolet200Running
92210Landon CassillKaulig RacingChevrolet200Running
10247Justin AllgaierJR MotorsportsChevrolet200Running
11439Ryan SiegRSS RacingFord199Running
121627Jeb BurtonOur MotorsportsChevrolet199Running
132668Brandon BrownBrandonbilt MotorsportsChevrolet199Running
1492Sheldon CreedRichard Childress RacingChevrolet199Running
151802Brett MoffittOur MotorsportsChevrolet199Running
163544Ryan EllisAlpha Prime RacingChevrolet199Running
171221Austin HillRichard Childress RacingChevrolet199Running
181451Jeremy ClementsJeremy Clements RacingChevrolet199Running
192336Alex LabbéDGM RacingChevrolet199Running
20134Bayley CurreyJD MotorsportsChevrolet199Running
211999Stefan ParsonsB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet198Running
2271Sam MayerJR MotorsportsChevrolet198Running
233191Mason MasseyDGM RacingChevrolet198Running
242531Myatt SniderJordan Anderson RacingChevrolet198Running
253266J.J. YeleyMBM MotorsportsFord198Running
26285Nick SanchezB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet198Running
273607Joe Graf Jr.SS-Green Light RacingFord197Running
283348Jade BufordBig Machine Racing TeamChevrolet197Running
29386Ryan VargasJD MotorsportsChevrolet197Running
301092Kyle WeathermanDGM RacingChevrolet197Running
312908David StarrSS-Green Light RacingFord196Running
322028Kyle SiegRSS RacingFord196Running
332745Kaz Grala*Alpha Prime RacingChevrolet196Running
343435Jeffrey EarnhardtEmerlling-Gase MotorsportsToyota196Running
353078Josh WilliamsB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet178Ignition
36638Parker RetzlaffRSS RacingFord158Fuel Pump
373723Anthony AlfredoOur MotorsportsChevrolet147Running
382198Riley HerbstStewart-Haas RacingFord20Accident
DNQ34Jesse LittleJesse Iwuji MotorsportsChevrolet
DNQ33Loris HezemansReaume Brothers RacingToyota
DNQ13Stan MullisMBM MotorsportsToyota
DNQ47Brennan PooleMike Harmon RacingChevrolet
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Xfinity points
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About author
Justin is a History major at San Jose State University and lifelong racing fan who has worked for The Checkered Flag since 2018. His coverage mainly focuses on NASCAR, the Stadium Super Trucks, and off-road series like Extreme E and SCORE International. He also dabbles in other disciplines such as IndyCar, rallycross, and sports cars.
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