The Xfinity Series Championship 4 is Set

Noah Gragson

Getty Noah Gragson won at Martinsville and reached the championship four.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series championship four is now official. Only the Phoenix race remains in the 2021 season following a caution-filled trip to Martinsville Speedway on October 30. Austin Cindric, AJ Allmendinger, Noah Gragson, and Daniel Hemric now have one shot to win the trophy after Gragson won in a wild overtime finish.

The final stage featured several cautions for on-track incidents, a red-flag stop for fluid, and Harrison Burton losing a jack in the middle of the oval with 27 laps to go. The drivers lined up for a restart with Gragson and Allgaier side-by-side. The driver of the No. 9 jumped to the lead and appeared to be within reach of the championship four, but Hemric overtook him with a faster car and held on until Haley spun and brought out the caution with six laps to go.

The drivers lined up once again for an overtime restart at the Paperclip. Gragson took the outside lane while Hemric lined up on the inside. JR Motorsports driver took the lead coming out of Turn 4, but Josh Berry brought out the caution before Gragson took the white flag.

They lined up once again with Gragson and Cindric side-by-side. The No. 9 jumped to the lead and held on until the final turns, but the No. 22 dove to the bottom and tried to steal the victory. However, Gragson won the final drag race and locked up the first championship four appearance of his career. He celebrated by shotgunning a beer while the crowd roared its approval.

The 2021 Xfinity Series season will come to an end on Saturday, November 6. Cindric, Allmendinger, Gragson, and Hemric will battle for the championship trophy while Justin Haley, Brandon Jones, Justin Allgaier, and Burton will look ahead to the 2022 season.

2 Drivers Secured Their Spots Before the Halfway Point

Heading toward the October 30 race at Martinsville, two drivers sat in a terrific position. Cindric, the defending champion, and Allmendinger, the regular-season champion, both sat 47 points above the cutline. They only needed to turn in strong performances and avoid mistakes to secure their spots in the title race.

Both drivers achieved this goal by the end of Stage 2. Cindric won the first stage and then finished fifth in Stage 2, giving him enough points to clinch his spot before the halfway point of the race. He will now head to Phoenix and defend his title before moving to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2022.

Allmendinger, on the other hand, finished Stage 1 in the fourth position after battling to gain ground. This finish gave him seven points. He then finished seventh in Stage 2, adding another four points to his total. Allmendinger also clinched his spot in the championship four with a quiet and consistent performance early.

With both Cindric and Allmendinger clinching their spots, they will enter the championship race as heavy favorites to win. They each won five races before heading to Phoenix, and their battle for the regular-season championship came down to a crash at the finish line of Bristol Motor Speedway.

A Superspeedway Ace Suffered Catastrophic Brake Issues

Haley, the driver of the No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet Camaro, entered the October 30 race at Martinsville Speedway with one goal — win in his 100th start and join Allmendinger in the championship four. He remained within striking distance of achieving this goal, but catastrophic brake issues ruined his evening.

The problem surfaced early in the final stage. Haley headed to his pit stall under caution on Lap 126 due to major brake issues. Once he pulled off of the track, his brakes caught on fire. The No. 11 team extinguished the blaze, but Haley had to go to the garage for extra work six laps later.

Haley ultimately returned to the race track, but he was 22 laps behind the competition. He had no realistic opportunity to make up this deficit and work his way into the championship race.

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