Noah Gragson won Saturday’s K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma Raceway in overtime under caution after Ryan Preece was black flagged for a restart violation.
Gragson, who competes full-time in the Xfinity Series, earned the win after battling back from his own restart violation in the first segment of the 57-lap race.
The race needed three overtime attempts to reach the checkered flag. The second was setup by a Lawless Alan wreck that resulted in a red flag. The final attempt was created by a Bill Kann wreck on the ensuing restart.
It was the restart from the Kann accident where Preece was deemed to have jumped the start.
Gragson restarted third and passed Daniel Hemric to put himself in position to inherit the win.
“Hell of race,” Gragson told NASCAR.com. “I was very fortunate to have a really fast Switch Camaro thanks to Jeff Jefferson and Jerry Pitts at Jefferson Pitts Racing. … Kind of had a little bit of adversity there in the middle of the race. Got called for jumping the start as the leader. Never really heard that one before.”
Ryan Preece said he was “pissed” and called the penalty “bull(expletive)” and declared “we won that race.”
“On the restart before that I was rolling it pretty fast and Daniel I think was restarting in second gear,” Preece said. “I heard that coming to the (final) green, so I backed down at the restart, I slowed down. … Maybe it looked like it, but I didn’t go any sooner.”
When asked if he would talk to NASCAR, Preece responded, “What are you going to do? I mean it’s their playground, it’s their sandbox. They’re going to do what they want. They manipulated the race at the end of the day. We won that race.”
Gragson was one of five national series drivers competing in the race.
The final top five was Gragson, Hemric, Austin Dillon, Xfinity Series driver Cole Custer and David Mayhew.
Pole-sitter Hailie Deegan never led a lap and finished eighth. Preece was scored finishing 20th after his penalty.
Gragson’s win comes in his first K&N West race since 2016. He now has five wins in 28 starts. He also has two wins in the K&N East series.
It also serves as a bit of redemption for Gragson, who led 34 laps in this race in 2016 before finishing second to Chase Elliott.
The race will air tape delayed June 27 at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.