Harrison Burton wins at Martinsville; Xfinity Championship 4 field set

With the NASCAR Xfinity Series returning to Martinsville Speedway for the first time since 2006 and three spots to the Championship 4 round up for grabs at the start, rookie Harrison Burton knocked another one out of the park after holding off Justin Allgaier to win the Draft Top 250 at the Paperclip circuit. The victory was Burton’s fourth of this season and of his career as he also claimed back-to-back victories for the first time in his NASCAR national touring series career.

The starting lineup was based on four stats: current owner’s standings, driver’s and owner’s results from a previous Xfinity race and the fastest lap recorded from a previous Xfinity race. With that, Austin Cindric started on pole position and was joined on the front row with Noah Gragson.

Kyle Weatherman and Josh Reaume started at the rear of the field due to driver changes. In addition, Reaume’s No. 93 Chevrolet team have been docked a pit selection for next weekend’s finale event at Phoenix Raceway due to the car failing pre-race inspection twice.


American Muscle

When the green flag waved and the race started, Cindric jumped ahead with the lead and he was able to come back around the start/finish line to lead the first lap. Behind, Gragson retained second place ahead of Kaulig Racing teammates Justin Haley and Ross Chastain. Justin Allgaier closed in in fifth place while Jeb Burton settled in sixth ahead of Brandon Jones.

The first caution of the race flew on the fourth lap when Gray Gaulding fell off the pace and was nearly rammed by leader Cindric and the oncoming leaders when his No. 07 Panini Chevrolet Camaro continued to stall before it came to a rest in Turn 1.

The race restarted on the eighth lap with Cindric and Gragson on the front row followed by Haley, Allgaier, Chastain and Jeb Burton. At the start, Cindric retained the lead following a strong start while Haley mounted a challenge on the inside lane for second place. Behind, Allgaier and Chastain were in the top five while Joe Gibbs Racing’s Harrison Burton and Brandon Jones moved into sixth and seventh. 

Shortly after, Harrison Burton moved into fifth place and teammate Jones followed suit while Chastain slipped back to seventh place while stuck on the outside lane. In addition, Michael Annett joined the party as he started to challenge Chastain for more.

By Lap 15, Cindric continued to lead by more than half a second over Haley with Gragson trailing by more than a second. Allgaier and Harrison Burton were in the top five followed by Brandon Jones, Chastain, Jeb Burton, Annett and Brett Moffitt. Meanwhile, Chase Briscoe and Ryan Sieg were in 11th and 12th while A.J. Allmendinger was in 19th place behind Riley Herbst and Jeremy Clements. 

Five laps later, on Lap 20, Cindric stabilized his advantage by more than half a second over Haley while Gragson, Allgaier and Harrison Burton continued to run in the top five. 

A few laps later, Bayley Currey made contact with the wall after sustaining a flat tire, but  he was able to nurse his car back to pit road with a tire rub and the race continued under green. 

When the competition caution flew on Lap 25, Cindric was still at the front as the leader followed by Haley, Gragson, Allgaier and Harrison Burton while Brandon Jones, Chastain, Jeb Burton, Annett and Moffitt were in the top 10.

Under caution, some like Sieg, Myatt Snider, Ryan Vargas and Brandon Brown pitted while the rest led by Cindric remained on the track.

When the race restarted on Lap 31, Cindric retained the lead following another strong start while Gragson retained second place on the outside lane. Behind, Haley and Harrison Burton battled for third place while Allgaier was in fifth place ahead of Chastain. Behind, Allmendinger used the outside lane to move up to 11th place. 

By Lap 35, Cindric and Gragson were at the front followed by Harrison Burton, Haley, Allgaier and Chastain. Not long after, the caution returned when Gaulding spun in Turn 1 while he was engaged in a three-wide battle with Stefan Parsons and Colby Howard.

The race restarted on Lap 42 with Cindric and Gragson on the front row. At the start, Gragson mounted a challenge for the lead on the outside lane next to Cindric. Back at the start/finish line, Gragson led a lap for himself as he and Cindric made contact in Turn 1 before battling hard through Turns 2 and 3. Entering Turn 4, Gragson cleared Cindric for the lead as Harrison Burton mounted a challenge for second place on Cindric. 

By Lap 46, Harrison Burton moved into second place over Cindric while Gragson continued to lead. Shortly after, Jeb Burton wheel hopped and got loose entering Turn 3 as he slid towards the outside wall and got shuffled out of the top 10, though he was able to continue and the race remained under green. 

Back towards the front, Harrison Burton started to close in on Gragson for the lead. Behind, Cindric retained third place followed by Haley and Allgaier while Chastain, Jones, Annett, Allmendinger and Moffitt were in the top 10 with Briscoe just outside of the top-10 mark on the track.

While Gragson and Harrison Burton battled for the lead, Allmendinger continued to carve his way toward the front as he overtook Allgaier for sixth place. Behind, Briscoe, a 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship contender, cracked the top 10 in 10th place. 

With five laps remaining in the first stage, Gragson retained a narrow lead over Harrison Burton and Cindric while Kaulig Racing’s Haley, Chastain and Allmendinger pursued behind. 

With one lap remaining in the first stage, the leaders started to approach lapped traffic. Despite encountering lapped traffic and being challenged by Harrison Burton, Gragson was able to retain the lead and win the first stage on Lap 60 for his ninth stage victory of the season. Burton settled in second place followed by Cindric, Chastain and Haley while Allmendinger, Jones, Allgaier, Annett and Briscoe were scored in the top 10.

Under the stage break, most of the leaders pitted and Harrison Burton exited with the lead over Gragson followed by Cindric, Allgaier and Allmendinger, who was hit by Brandon Jones as Jones was exiting his pit stall. Back on the track, J.J. Yeley, Stefan Parsons and Sieg remained on the track. Shortly after, Parsons surrendered his position towards the front by pitting.

The second stage started on Lap 68 with Yeley and Harrison Burton on the front row followed by Sieg and Gragson. At the front, Yeley retained the lead while Harrison Burton mounted a challenge behind. 

On Lap 70, Harrison Burton emerged with the lead for the first time after passing Yeley. Not long after, Gragson moved into second place over Yeley while Cindric, Haley, Chastain, Sieg and Allgaier battled behind. 

Three laps later, the caution returned for a multi-car wreck in Turn 3 that involved Donald Theetge, B.J. McLeod and Parsons. Not long after, the race was red-flagged for more than seven minutes due to mud and dirt on the track that was kicked on the racing surface from the incident. 

When the red flag was lifted and the race resumed under green on Lap 80, the battle for the lead ignited between Harrison Burton and Gragson with Gragson prevailing the following lap. Behind, Cindric was in third place in front of Kaulig Racing’s Chastain and Haley while Allgaier and Sieg battled for sixth.

On Lap 83, Harrison Burton reassumed the lead following a lengthy battle with Gragson. A lap later, Chastain overtook Cindric for third place as teammate Haley started to mount a challenge for more along with Allgaier. Behind, Allmendinger moved into seventh place while Jones, Sieg and Herbst were in the top 10. Briscoe, meanwhile, was back in 13th place. 

By Lap 90, Harrison Burton was still leading while Chastain, who moved into second place, started to close in for the lead. Gragson fell back to third place while Haley and Allgaier were in the top five. Allmendinger moved up to sixth followed by Jones, Cindric, Herbst and Sieg while Briscoe was in 12th behind Annett. 

On Lap 92, Chastain muscled his way below Harrison Burton to take the lead. While Chastain settled into an advantage of half a second over Harrison Burton, Gragson retained third place followed by Haley, Allgaier, Allmendinger and Cindric. 

At the Lap 100 mark, Chastain, who was approaching lapped traffic, extended his advantage by more than a second over Harrison Burton with Gragson, Haley and Allgaier pursuing behind. By then, the remaining eight Playoff contenders were running in the top 13 with Briscoe still mired back outside the top 10.

Five laps later, the caution returned when fire erupted out of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro driven by Matt Mills, who parked and exited his car on the backstretch. Under caution, some like Harrison Burton, Annett, Allmendinger, Jeb Burton, Sieg, Herbst, Snider, Briscoe, Brandon Brown, Jesse Little and others pitted while the rest led by Chastain remained on the track.

With six laps remaining in the second stage, the race restarted with Chastain and Gragson on the front row. At the start, Chastain was able to clear Gragson for the lead entering Turn 1 while Gragson was able to fend off Haley for second. Allgaier and Cindric were in the top five followed by Jones, who overtook Moffitt for position. 

Down to the final laps of the second stage, Chastain continued to lead with Gragson remaining in pursuit. With clean air being key, Chastain was able to hold on and win the second stage on Lap 120 and for his third stage victory of the season. Gragson settled in second followed by Haley, Allgaier and Cindric while Jones, Moffitt, Allmendinger, Harrison Burton and Timmy Hill rounded out the top 10. 

Under the stage break, some of the leaders pitted with Chastain exiting pit road ahead of Gragson, Jones, Allgaier, Cindric and Haley. Back on the track, Allmendinger, who pitted prior to the conclusion of the second stage, remained on the track and assumed the lead followed by Harrison Burton, teammate Herbst, Jeb Burton, Sieg and Briscoe. 

With 123 laps remaining, the final stage commenced. At the start, Allmendinger retained the lead and Harrison Burton fended off teammate Herbst for second. Behind, Jeb Burton muscled his way into third place while Myatt Snider, who overtook Briscoe and Herbst for position, went to work on Sieg for fourth. 

With 118 laps remaining and the pack behind the leaders bumping and battling hard for position, the caution returned when contact from Allgaier in Turn 4 and a bump from Haley entering Turn 1 sent Yeley spinning as everyone behind scattered to avoid hitting Yeley.

Under caution, the No. 61 Toyota Supra driven by Chad Finchum was towed back to the garage due to mechanical issues.

When the race restarted under green with 112 laps remaining, Allmendinger retained the lead following a strong start while cousins Harrison and Jeb Burton battled for second. Behind, Snider and Sieg battled in the top five while Herbst was in sixth ahead of Briscoe. Behind, Chastain and Jones battled for a top-10 spot while Allgaier was in 13th. Gragson, Cindric and Haley were mired back in 16th, 17th and 18th.

With 105 laps remaining, Allmendinger continued to lead by nearly two seconds over Harrison Burton while Jeb Burton was in front of a bevy of competitors in third place. By then, Chastain carved his way into eighth place as he went to work on Briscoe for more. 

Five laps remaining and with 100 laps remaining, Allmendinger stabilized his advantage by more than a second over Harrison Burton with Jeb Burton trailing by more than three seconds. Sieg, Snider and Herbst were in the top six while Chastain, a Playoff contender trying to fight his way into the Championship 4 finale round, moved into seventh place ahead of Briscoe. 

Meanwhile, Allgaier, Gragson and Cindric were in 10th, 11th and 12th while Haley and Jones were in 14th and 15th behind Brandon Brown.

Fifteen laps later, with 85 laps remaining, Allmendinger continued to lead followed by Harrison and Jeb Burton. Sieg, Snider and Herbst continued to run in fourth through sixth while Chastain started having JR Motorsports’ Allgaier, Annett and Gragson close in for seventh place. 

Nearly five laps later, Chastain attempted to push Herbst beneath Snider for position to move forward on the track, but it did not work as Chastain lost his momentum and Allgaier was able to overtake him for position and continue to move up on fresh tires. 

With 75 laps remaining, Allmendinger continued to lead over Harrison and Jeb Burton followed by Sieg and Allgaier, who overtook Herbst for position. Behind, Chastain slipped back to 10th place while Gragson and Annett moved up to eighth and ninth. 

Down to the final 70 laps of the race, the battle for the lead between Allmendinger and Harrison Burton started to heat up as they were mired in lapped traffic. A few laps later, the caution flew when Bayley Currey made hard contact into the outside wall entering Turn 2.

Under caution, the leaders pitted and Harrison Burton was able to reassume the lead after exiting pit road ahead of Allmendinger with Jeb Burton, Sieg and Allgaier exiting in the top five.

With 61 laps remaining, the race restarted under green with Harrison Burton and Allmendinger on the front row. At the start, Burton and Allmendinger battled dead even for the lead and continued to do so for the next four laps before Burton made contact and got loose entering Turn 4 with Allmendinger with the latter prevailing on the outside lane. 

Behind, Allgaier overtook teammate Jeb Burton for third place while Gragson passed Sieg for fifth place. Behind Sieg and Herbst was Chastain, mired in eighth place and still scored outside of the top-four cutline in the Playoff standings. 

With 52 laps remaining, Harrison Burton reassumed the lead while Allmendinger fell off the pace and made a pit stop under green due to cutting a left-rear tire as a result of his on-track battle and contact with Burton for the lead. 

Back on the track and down to the final 50 laps, Allgaier moved into second place behind Harrison Burton while Gragson, Jeb Burton and Herbst were in the top five. Chastain was in sixth ahead of Sieg, Cindric, Briscoe and Haley with Jones in 11th place.

With 45 laps remaining, Harrison Burton continued to lead by a narrow margin over Allgaier with Gragson, Jeb Burton and Chastain in the top five. By then, Cindric, Allgaier and Haley were above the top-four cutline in the Playoff standings and in position of transferring to the Championship 4 round with Chastain, Jones, Gragson and Sieg trailing on the outside of the cutoff mark.

Under 40 laps remaining, Harrison Burton stabilized his advantage by nearly a second over Allgaier, who continued to pressure the rookie for the lead. Gragson retained third place while Chastain overtook Jeb Burton for fourth place.

Four laps later, the caution returned when Snider spun following contact with Brandon Brown. Under caution, some like Sieg, Briscoe, Brandon Jones, Annett and others pitted while the rest led by Harrison Burton remained on the track.

With 30 laps remaining, the race restarted under green with Harrison Burton and Allgaier on the front row. At the start, Burton and Allgaier battled dead even for the lead with the former prevailing the following lap. Allgaier settled in second while teammate Gragson, facing a “must-win” situation, moved into third place. Jeb Burton was in fourth while Chastain was in fifth ahead of teammate Haley, Herbst and Cindric.

Down to the final 20 laps of the race, Harrison Burton was still leading, though JRM teammates Allgaier and Gragson kept Burton within their sights. Behind, Chastain overtook Jeb Burton for fourth place while Haley, clinging onto the final transfer spot to the Championship 4 round, battled Herbst to retain sixth place. Cindric was in eighth while Jones was in 10th ahead of Briscoe. 

With less than 15 laps remaining and with Harrison Burton still leading Allgaier by more than half a second, Haley was shuffled back to 12th place while teammate Chastain was in fourth place as both Kaulig Racing teammates were left in a battle with one another for a championship finale spot. 

Down to the final 10 laps of the race, Harrison Burton continued to lead by nearly a second over Allgaier with teammate Gragson trailing by nearly two seconds. Chastain settled in fourth ahead of Jeb Burton while Herbst, Briscoe, Jones, Annett and Cindric were in the top 10. Haley was in 12th and holding onto the final transfer spot by four points over teammate Chastain.

With five laps remaining, leader Harrison Burton started to catch lapped traffic as he continued to lead by less than a second over Allgaier with Gragson trailing behind by more than a second and Chastain trailing by four seconds. 

Despite the lapped traffic, Harrison Burton continued to stabilize his advantage over Allgaier, who continued to close in. At the final lap, Burton continued to lead by half a second. Coming back around to the checkered flag, Burton was able to hold on and win by approximately three-tenths of a second over Allgaier.

At 20 years and 22 days old, Harrison Burton became the youngest winner at Martinsville Speedway, eclipsing his father Jeff’s previous record at 23 years, two months and 24 days old.

During his cool-down lap and victory burnout, Harrison received congrats from his father Jeff, who interviewed his son during the on-track celebration.

“What’s up, dad? That was pretty awesome!” Burton exclaimed. “Great race car. I got the best team in the garage. That’s pretty fun!”

“I heard my old man get on the radio, which was pretty special,” Burton added during a post-race interview. “He’s funny on the TV. He was probably hating that because he tries to stay as non-biased as possible and avoids talking about me as much as he can. When they told him to do that, he was probably excited to talk to me but probably, he was a little bit nervous. That was awesome to have my dad talk to me. The amount of stuff that my dad and my mom have done for me, sacrificing time together, sacrificing time with my sister,…To give back to them by winning these races and, hopefully, proving that all that time spent away was worth it, racing all over the country with my mom, that means a lot.”

Allgaier finished in second place and raced his way into the Championship 4 round while teammate Gragson failed to advance to the Championship 4 round despite finishing in third place. 

“I’m just proud of our team, everybody at JR Motorsports,” Allgaier said. “We had four really fast Camaros today. We came in today with the idea of just managing the stages as best we could, managing the race as best we could. At the end there, I really wanted to be able to get up there and pass Harrison, but hats off to those guys. They did a great job. I just didn’t do a good job on getting off the corner. I struggled all day to get my rhythm down. Once we finally did that, I felt like we had a really fast Camaro. Proud to get Unilever a good finish. Most importantly, proud to get all of our partners an opportunity to go for a championship next week. That’s what this is all about. Just got to get after it next week…We just got to go all week and work as hard as we can, and be there whenever it comes time.”

Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images.

“I definitely thought our Bass Pro Shops/True Timber was pretty good,” Gragson said. “I was saving my tires a little bit the run before that…We put on one hell of a stretch in the Playoffs. Overall, we can’t hang our heads over this stretch. We did the best we could do. It wasn’t meant to be. We’ll go fight hard next weekend at Phoenix. I like that track. I wish I was competing in the Final Four. Congrats to all the guys who made it happen. I’m hungry to win one. It sucks finishing second and third. I wanna go win.”

Jeb Burton recorded a strong fourth-place run while Chastain finished in fifth place and failed to advance to the Championship 4 round by four points. 

“I made too many mistakes the two races leading up to this,” Chastain said. “I know that. It was a tough week coming here knowing the hole I put us in. Today though, the fight was awesome. I just wanted to win Martinsville. I knew how fast our car was, especially in clean air. Proud of the fight, proud of the effort from everybody. I’ve got great owners. Can’t wait to go to Phoenix and put all the effort after Phoenix into 2021.”

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images.

Herbst, Briscoe, Annett, Jones and Cindric rounded out the top 10 on the track. Cindric and Haley, who finished 12th, secured the final two spots to the Championship 4 round, joining Allgaier and Chase Briscoe. 

“Yeah, obviously, coming to a race track with a brand new set-up and a car that hasn’t been here, I’m sure [crew chief Brian Wilson] was pretty nervous but obviously, he did a great job,” Cindric said. “Our guys worked incredibly hard on this Pirtek Ford Mustang for this race. Really proud of that. I don’t think we really got to show its capability today. I took the easy way out and picked a lot of bottom lane restarts, which were a lot safer. I hate playing the points game, but we have done that the entire Playoffs. I’m happy we’re in the final four…We get to go to Phoenix and have a lot of fun. I’m excited to go fight for a championship…We got to beat everyone, that’s the thing. You can’t just be better. You have to be the best.”

“The motor’s actually blown up,” Haley said. “From about halfway through the race, the motor started letting go. Just so thankful for everyone at Kaulig Racing. When I first signed on, Chris Rice [President of Kaulig Racing] was like, ‘Hey man, this is a 12th-place car. You got to get it. We gotta work together, we got to get it in the Final Four, we gotta win races and we can do it.’ I believed him. It’s just so awesome to get this thing in the Final Four. If you told a lot of people at the start of the year that the No. 11 car out of Kaulig Racing was gonna be in the Final Four, I’m sure they’d probably say you’re wrong. So, so thankful. Sigh of relief. Matt Kaulig, have a drink for me.”

Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images.

Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier and Justin Haley will contend for this year’s NASCAR Xfinity Series championship next weekend at Phoenix Raceway. In addition to the drivers’ championship, all four will battle for this year’s owners’ championship.

Ross Chastain, Brandon Jones, Noah Gragson and Ryan Sieg, who finished 11th, have been eliminated from title contention.

“I wanted to go to Phoenix and have a shot to [win the title],” Jones said. “Luckily, we announced that we’re coming back next year and we’re gonna have a shot at it again. Pretty cool to see Harrison get a couple more wins before the year’s over. I think these guys still need to watch out. We’re gonna be really good at Phoenix when we get there. I think we still could be better for next year.”

There were 11 lead changes for six different leaders. The race featured 10 cautions for 63 laps.

Results.

1. Harrison Burton, 81 laps led

2. Justin Allgaier

3. Noah Gragson, 23 laps led, Stage 1 winner

4. Jeb Burton

5. Ross Chastain, 31 laps led, Stage 2 winner

6. Riley Herbst

7. Chase Briscoe

8. Michael Annett

9. Brandon Jones

10. Austin Cindric, 42 laps led

11. Ryan Sieg

12. Justin Haley

13. Brett Moffitt

14. J.J. Yeley, five laps led

15. Jeremy Clements

16. Tommy Joe Martins

17. Timmy Hill

18. Brandon Brown

19. Josh Williams

20. Mason Diaz

21. Joe Graf Jr.

22. Jesse Little, one lap down

23. Myatt Snider, one lap down

24. Stefan Parsons, one lap down

25. Colby Howard, two laps down

26. A.J. Allmendinger, two laps down, 68 laps led

27. Alex Labbe, three laps down

28. Jeffrey Earnhardt, four laps down

29. Kody Vanderwal, four laps down

30. Kyle Weatherman, four laps down

31. Donald Theetge, five laps down

32. Carl Long, six laps down

33. B.J. McLeod, 11 laps down

34. Ryan Vargas, 17 laps down

35. Gray Gaulding – OUT, Electrical

36. Bayley Currey – OUT, Accident

37. Chad Finchum – OUT, Engine

38. Matt Mills – OUT, Oil line

39. Josh Reaume – OUT, Suspension

Bold indicates Championship finale contenders

Standings

1. Chase Briscoe – Advanced

2. Austin Cindric – Advanced

3. Justin Allgaier – Advanced

4. Justin Haley – Advanced

5. Ross Chastain – Eliminated

6. Brandon Jones – Eliminated

7. Noah Gragson – Eliminated

8. Ryan Sieg – Eliminated

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will travel to Phoenix Raceway for the 2020 season finale and where a champion will be crowned. The race will occur on Saturday, November 7, at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.


Get 2 FREE stocks valued between $2.50-$1,400 when you open and fund a Webull brokerage account or earn 5% annual interest rate at Worthy.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here