The NASCAR Xfinity Series returned after a three-week break for a Friday night race at Martinsville Speedway. This race displayed the first Dash 4 Cash event of 2021 with Harrison Burton, Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson and A.J. Allmendinger competing for $100K among the highest finisher of the four drivers.
Weather was a huge factor in this race. The start of Friday’s race was delayed by over 20 minutes due to rain. Then, with 91 of the 250 laps completed, the rain came back and delayed the race until Sunday at noon EST. Once the race resumed on Sunday, weather was no longer a factor.
Burton, who won the last Xfinity race at Martinsville last Halloween, started on the pole and led for most of stage one. However, after many cautions, he dropped into the lower top 10 for most of the race. He ended up finishing seventh.
In the last Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Gragson and Daniel Hemric got into a fistfight after an incident on pit road during the race where Gragson backed into Hemric’s pit stall. These two battled it out all race long with Gragson winning stage one and Hemric winning stage two after not pitting during a caution at the end of stage two. They ran second and third at the end of the race with the two running behind Josh Berry as Gragson held off Hemric to finish second. Hemric finished third, picking up his fourth top-five finish of the season.
Gragson’s second-place finish ended up earning him $100k as he was the highest finisher of the four drivers competing for the prize. Allgaier finished ninth, Burton finished seventh and Allmendinger finished 13th after spending stage one at least a lap down. With the total of 12 cautions in the race, he was able to gain his laps back and get up to 13th place.
Riley Herbst, who took over for Chase Briscoe in the No. 98 car, came into this race with three DNFs so far in 2021. Despite running in the top five for most of stage two and the early parts of the final stage, his run of bad luck continued as he suffered a flat tire, forcing him to pit. He finished 29th, the fifth time in the seven Xfinity races he finished outside the top 10.
Berry battled with up-and-coming star, Ty Gibbs, throughout the final stage. Berry retook the lead from Gibbs with about 25 laps to go, holding off Gragson and Hemric on the final laps to pick up his first career Xfinity Series win after his highest finish coming into the race was seventh. This capped a successful race for JR Motorsports as they won the race and the $100k. However, since Berry is only a part-time driver in the Xfinity Series, this does not put him in the playoffs.
The Xfinity Series will return in two weeks for the Ag-Pro 300 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Unofficial race results: