The driver of the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro finished second at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 5 after a six-lap battle with winner Ty Gibbs. With this performance, Noah Gragson became the only NASCAR Xfinity Series driver to post a top-three finish in every race in 2022.
Gragson kicked off his season with a third-place finish behind Austin Hill and AJ Allmendinger in the Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. 300 at Daytona International Speedway. He then finished second overall behind Cole Custer at Auto Club Speedway on February 26. His runner-up at Las Vegas Motor Speedway only continued this streak and kept him solidly above the playoff cutline heading toward the meat of the schedule.
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This start to the 2022 season is a major change for the Las Vegas native. His 2021 campaign started with numerous struggles. He posted six DNFs in the first 13 races due to either crashes or mechanical issues, which forced him to fight for points every week before he finally won two races at the end of the regular season.
Justin Allgaier, one of Gragson’s teammates at JR Motorsports, was within reach of this mark during the second race of the season. However, he finished eighth overall at Auto Club Speedway. His fifth-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway became only his second top-five of the season, but it still kept him in fourth place in the standings.
Gragson’s third top-three finish was not the only streak that he kept alive during the trip to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He also registered his seventh top-10 finish in seven starts at the 1.5-mile track.
Gragson Currently Holds the Points Lead
The driver of the No. 9 entered the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway second in the points standings behind Allmendinger. However, he made major moves during the snow-delayed race. Gragson swept the first two stages while Allmendinger only secured points in Stage 1.
The JR Motorsports driver is now in possession of the top spot in the championship standings. He holds a 17-point advantage over Gibbs, who has steadily risen up the leaderboard each week of the season. Allmendinger, the pole-winner for the past two races, dropped to the third position after a ninth-place finish.
While Gragson is the only driver to post top-three finishes in every single race, two others have remained very consistent. Allmendinger and Allgaier are the only other two drivers to post top-10 finishes all three weeks, keeping them both in contention for the playoffs.
1 Team Secured an Impressive Stat of Its Own
While Gragson continued his strong start to the season, another team made major moves at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kaulig Racing put all three cars inside the top-10 for the first time in 2022.
Allmendinger started on the pole before racing his way to a ninth-place finish. Landon Cassill, who saw his day at Auto Club Speedway come to an early end due to a blown oil line, raced his way to a sixth-place finish. This was his first top-10 of the season and it put him on the path to fighting for a spot in the playoffs.
Hemric, the reigning Xfinity Series champion, secured his first top-five finish of the year. He started sixth overall before locking up points in all three stages. He then kept pace with Gragson and Gibbs on the final restart and ended his day third overall.