JR Motorsports driver Noah Gragson won his eighth Xfinity Series race of the year at Homestead-Miami Speedway. This victory punched his ticket to the championship four, but it was far more meaningful due to some adversity he has faced in the past.
Gragson met with media members after celebrating his win, and he delivered some strong comments. He explained that this win was the most important considering that he has dominated past races before having victory ripped from his grasp. This includes a collision with David Starr with mere laps remaining in the 2021 race, which took him from first to 33rd.
“Felt like we probably should have four of them here and we only got one,” Gragson said during his post-race presser. “So coming into the weekend, I really wanted to win this one more than any other race in my entire career. And we weren’t great on the short run today either. The 21 was really good, the 16 was really good. The team… it’s just believing in our group — Luke Lambert and the rest of the Bass Pro Shop team.”
A Late Caution Almost Disrupted a Dominant Night
Collision with Starr aside, there were multiple races in past years where Gragson had a dominant car. He appeared to be en route to a win before a late incident brought out the caution and forced the field to line up again. He didn’t have the best short-run car during these past races, which ultimately led to losses.
History nearly repeated itself on October 22. Gragson had an eight-second lead over the rest of the field, and he was positioned to win. However, the caution flag flew for an incident between Stefan Parsons and Kyle Sieg with fewer than 20 laps remaining.
The field lined up once again and erased Gragson’s massive lead. He had to try to take care of business on the final restart once again. This time, he achieved this goal while finally winning at the South Florida track.
“We still had a pretty big lead there at the last caution, and I was like, ‘Damn it, not again,'” Gragson continued. “But Luke [Lambert] made great adjustments, and we were able to hold them off.”
Gragson Joins Another JRM Driver in the Championship 4
With the win in his pocket, Gragson is now set for the championship race at Phoenix Raceway. He will return to the championship four for the second consecutive season, and he will join another JRM driver.
Josh Berry, the driver of the No. 8, was the first to punch his ticket to the championship four. He did so by winning the playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Gragson then joined him one week later after the race in Florida.
There is now one race remaining in the Round of Eight, and there are six drivers fighting for the final two spots. Ty Gibbs (+30) and AJ Allmendinger (+5) are in the best positions considering that they are above the cutline. Though JRM driver Justin Allgaier is only five points out of a transfer spot while Sam Mayer is 28 points below the cutline and in a must-win position.