“Checkers or wreckers” was the mindset for Noah Gragson and it ended up being a wrecker for him and the No. 9 JR Motorsports team as he ran into David Starr with three laps to go and an 8+-second lead. Another year of misfortune for Gragson at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
One man’s trash became another’s treasure as Myatt Snider held off the field on the second overtime restart to earn his first career win in any of the three series in NASCAR.
Tires were the name of the game Saturday afternoon at Homestead as Goodyears wore quickly and if you were on old tires trying to compete with drivers on fresh tires.
Pole-sitter Austin Cindric ran away from the field in the opening laps of the race, but a late caution for Stefan Parsons forced drivers to make a decision on whether to pit for tires and potentially sacrifice stage points or stay out and try to get the stage win. Well, 20 cars came in while 20 cars stayed out, splitting the field in half.
Cindric was among drivers that stayed out, but the lap times between old and fresh tires was drastic as Justin Haley worked his way from 20th to the lead in just three laps.
Kaulig Racing ran 1-2-3 as Haley, A.J. Allmendinger and Jeb Burton all came to pit road after that first caution. Allmendinger passed Haley late in stage one and went on to take the win. Daniel Hemric and Harrison Burton passed Burton to nullify a 1-2-3 stage finish for Kaulig.
Allmendinger led the next 30 laps after winning the race off pit road during the caution.
During that time, NASCAR debutant Santino Ferrucci ran inside the top 20, but scrubbed the wall in turns three and four, costing him two laps.
Another caution for Parsons brought the field together again to make the decision on whether to take tires or stay out. Noah Gragson was among those that stayed out so he could save tire sets for the end of the race. Under caution, Harrison Burton’s engine blew up and his day was over after running inside the top 10 for a majority of the race.
On the restart, Cindric found the lead with ease on fresh tires and went on to win stage two.
The final stage saw some wild restarts as drivers went four and even five-wide to get around slower cars who stayed out and assert themselves over their counterparts on fresh tires. Unlike the first two stages, multiple cautions came out early in the final stage.
Coming off turn two, Justin Allgaier tried clearing himself in front of Riley Herbst, but there wasn’t enough room and Herbst turned Allgaier into the wall, ending Allgaier’s day. While under caution, Ty Dillon’s day ended after having a hole in the radiator.
Following the second caution of the final stage, a long green-flag run ensued and lasted 55 laps.
Gragson took the lead with 30 to go after passing Brett Moffitt, who was running sponsor-less with the up-and-coming team Our Motorsports. However, Moffitt clipped the wall late and cut a tire, which ended his chances of winning.
With the late cautions, Our Motorsports still claimed top 10’s from both of their cars as Tyler Reddick finished second and Moffitt rebounded for an eighth-place finish.
Brandon Jones finished third, while Hemric came home fourth after a wild day on pit road. Jeb Burton rounded out the top five.
Cindric, Haley, Moffitt, Ryan Sieg and Jeremy Clements completed the top 10.
The Xfinity Series heads out West next Saturday for a date at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Unofficial race results:
Race length: 2 hours, 30 minutes, 58 seconds
Lead changes: 22
Average speed: 106. 730 mph