JR Motorsports driver Noah Gragson took advantage of his teammate's bad fortune when Justin Allgaier ran out of fuel at the start of the third overtime and held off Jeffrey Earnhardt to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.
“This team at JR Motorsports, they never quit,” Gragson said. “We’ve had a kind of a rough last month, just not getting the finishes that we wanted. I couldn’t make moves on the top there very much at the beginning of the race, so I just kept running the bottom, running the bottom, and we’d get shuffled back and keep moving back up.
“I’ve got to run in the Cup race, but the Talladega Boulevard looks a lot more enchanting right now and inviting, so I might have to go out there and then throw some beads.”
On the second of the two overtime laps, Jeffrey Earnhardt slipped past AJ Allmendinger for second but couldn’t catch Gragson before the finish. Although he cam up short, he was not disappointed with the effort.
“I’m living the dream here, I’m just so thankful to get this opportunity,” said Earnhardt, whose crew chief, FOX Sports broadcaster Larry McReynolds, was serving his first stint on a pit box since 2000. “Thanks to RCR for building this amazing race car. We were fast all weekend long.
“We just fell a little short there, but congrats to Noah. He’s good at plate races.”
Allmendinger had led on the second overtime restart and appeared to have control of the race when Jeremy Clements Chevrolet stalled in Turn 2, causing the 10th and final caution of the race. With his third-place result, however, Allmendinger claimed the $100,000 Xfinity Dash 4 Cash bonus available to the top finisher among four eligible drivers.
“I thought I crashed about seven times on the last lap,” Allmendinger said. “I really appreciate what Xfinity and Comcast do to allow us to race for 100 grand at these four races. I didn’t realize that the 7 started laying back, and you can’t take off before him. I was really checking up when he ran out of fuel.
“At that point, the 9 had such a run. This Chevy handled really well. We just lacked kind of the top-end speed, so they could get to my bumper, then basically boot me out of the way. I was just hanging on there. Jeffrey did a good job to make the move.”
Rounding out the top 5 was Landon Cassill and Ryan Sieg.
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