Photo via NASCAR.com
It was a day dominated by Joe Gibbs Racing, but the eventual winner of today’s race was not JGR driver that many expected following the first two stages.
It was Brandon Jones who would win the first two stages of the Production Alliance Group 300 today and he led every lap in both stages. Once the final stage got underway, chaos would ensue.
Justin Haley would make contact with Anthony Alfredo, which would cause a tire rub and make Haley spin off of turn 4 and like NASCAR folks always say, “Cautions breed cautions”, and that’s exactly what would happen.
Multiple cautions would occur on the backstretch with the first involving Brandon Brown, Michael Annett, Joe Graf Jr., and Brett Moffitt. With the numerous lanes that Auto Club Speedway can give to drivers, all of them will come back up the race track and if the driver is stuck in a middle lane, he can become a pinball. Annett, who drives for JR Motorsports, wound up with a 17th-place finish.
Matt Mills would spin to bring out another caution after the restart and then we would see a third-straight incident on the backstretch and most impactful one of the race as Ross Chastain and Noah Gragson would get together, which resulted in Chastain turning Gragson into the outside wall. Gragson wound up finishing 26th, but Chastain would recover well and claim an 8th-place finish.
Jones would see himself shuffled to around 5th place on these restarts and once the race saw a solid green flag run, he would pick up a tire rub, which would ruin his day and ended up with a 30th-place finish.
With under 30 laps to go, it was a battle between Chase Briscoe and Harrison Burton for the win. The two would go back and forth for the lead for a few laps before Burton would clear Briscoe. Briscoe would get into the wall for a third time on the day, which resulted in him spinning due to a flat right right rear tire.
On the final restart of the day, it would be Burton running away with a win, but due to lap traffic, his teammate Riley Herbst and Austin Cindric would close the gap to under a second, but Burton would run the high line to slow both of their momentum down and would hold on to win his first career race in NASCAR’s top-three series. Burton also assumed the Xfinity Series points lead.
Stats from the day
With a 10th-place finish today, Josh Williams scored his 2nd career top-ten finish in the Xfinity Series. His other one coming at Talladega last year.
In his Xfinity debut, Anthony Alfredo scored his best finish in NASCAR with a sixth-place run. His best finish in the truck series was 8th.
Jeremy Clements scored his 20th career top-ten finish in the Xfinity Series and his first since Kansas last year.
Vinnie Miller scored his 2nd career top-15 finish in his Xfinity career and his first on a non-superspeedway track.
Chad Finchum scored his 8th top-20 finish in the Xfinity Series.
With his 18th-place finish, Tommy Joe Martins scored his 10th top-20 result in his Xfinity Series career.
The Xfinity Series will head to the desert at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona next Saturday.
Driver points after Auto Club: https://www.jayski.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2020/02/01/2020-03nxs-points.pdf