On a restart with seven laps to go, several cars drifted wide in Turn 1, including Chase Briscoe. He ran into the back of Allmendinger’s car when he was squeezed by another car and then knocked off course. That ended Briscoe’s race. He finished 29th. Jones went from seventh to first on that restart, putting him in position for the runner-up result.
Chaos reigned early.
Justin Haley had his race end on Lap 12 when he got into the grass on the backstretch chicane and the grass tore up his splitter and damaged the front of his car, ending his race. He finished last in the 38-car field. At the same time, Kaulig Racing teammates Ross Chastain and Allmendinger had problems. Chastain had a mechanical issue. Allmendinger was penalized a lap for pitting out of the box when his fuel can was still attached as his car moved out of its stall.
Gragson crashed while leading on Lap 18. He got his right side tires into the grass, lost control in the infield portion of the course and slid through Turn 5 into the tire barrier.
The start of the race was delayed more than 90 minutes by lightning. NASCAR declared race conditions as damp for the start of the 52-lap race, meaning teams had the option to put on rain tires before the race.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Austin Cindric
STAGE 2 WINNER: Chase Briscoe
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Noah Gragson’s third-place finish continued his road course success. He has finished in the top 10 in all seven Xfinity road course starts. … Jeremy Clements’ sixth-place finish is his fourth top 10 of the season, tying his total from last season for the most in a year.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Justin Allgaier left frustrated with his ninth-place finish. He was upset with AJ Allmendinger for spinning him late while Allgaier ran third. … Daniel Hemric‘s rough season continued. He finished 37th after a crash. It is Hemric’s fifth finish of 30th or worse in 13 starts this season. … Earl Bamber, the two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, turned Riley Herbst early and wrecked late after getting off course on the backstretch chicane. He finished 33rd for Richard Childress Racing after running toward the front.
NOTABLE: Austin Cindric joins Sam Ard as the only drivers to win five times in six series races.
NEXT: The series races Saturday, Aug. 22 at Dover (12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). The Xfinity Series
Brendan Gaughan set for Daytona road course after COVID-19 recovery
After quarantining for two weeks and testing negative for COVID-19 twice more than 24 hours apart, Gaughan has been medically cleared to go racing again.
And he won’t even have to wait until the Cup Series regular-season finale on Aug. 29 to do it.
Originally scheduled to only compete in the season’s four superspeedway races with Beard Motorsports, Gaughan will suit up to drive the No. 62 Chevrolet in Sunday’s race on the Daytona road course (3 p.m. ET on NBC).
He joins Jimmie Johnson in having tested positive for COVID-19 and returned to race. While Gaughan last competed in the June 22 race at Talladega, Johnson only missed the Brickyard 400 before returning to the track.
“I feel fantastic,” Gaughan said in a press release. “I’m finally out of the house. The toughest part of the whole ordeal was the mental aspect. I truly feel for people who struggle with depression and have to deal with COVID-19, because this thing is tough. You literally get stuck in a location by yourself. Fortunately for me, I had my puppy. I missed my two children tremendously. But it’s amazing now because we live in the age of the Jetsons that we can pick up a phone and look at their faces.”
To get clearance to race, Gaughan tested twice for COVID-19 in more than 24 hours and also had to get a doctor’s note saying he was good to go.
“That was it,” Gaughan said. “As long as I’m negative, they are good with it. They still have their protocols in place, so when we get to the track we are all still separated. The drivers don’t get to mingle with the teams right now. NASCAR has done a phenomenal job with it and they have been able to stay open for business while having very, very minor effects from this.”
While he was originally just going to race at Talladega and the Daytona oval, Gaughan says this weekend’s road course race “technically counts.”
“We said all of the Daytona races,” Gaughan said. “What happened is that as soon as it got added to the schedule immediately my mind went, ‘Wow, I would love to race the Daytona road course.’ There’s very few of us Cup drivers that have experience on that race course. And with no practice and no qualifying, that gives about 10 of us a very large advantage over the field.”
Gaughan competed on the road course and earned a class victory in the 2011 Rolex 24 at Daytona, with his team beating second place by a full lap. He’s ran in the Rolex 24 twice since, finishing third in 2016 in the Prototype Challenge class and 14th in 2018 in the Prototype division.
“I was immediately enticed by it,” Gaughan said of the road course race. “Then you know how much I always speak so highly of Richard Childress Racing. Richard called and said, ‘Hey, come on man, you know you want to do it,’ and I kind of chuckled because everyone knows I love my road racing. I talked to the Beard family and said, ‘Hey, you want to add a race to the schedule?’ It wasn’t in the budget. It wasn’t planned originally, but the Beards were on board.
“They are in the same boat as me. This is a retirement year like me and they are having the same fun I am. They went, ‘Ooohh, we can do well there.’ So we called Richard up and he built me a brand new Beard Oil Distributing/South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro from RCR that we were able to rent for Beard Motorsports to go race.”
Gaughan, who will start last in the race due his lack of owner points, dissected how different it will be navigating the road course in Cup compared to the sports car he drove the last time he raced on it.
“I need to remember that the last time I raced there in an LMP car, I could lift at the ‘1’ sign going into the chicane on the back straightaway,” Gaughan said. “Now if I lift at the ‘1’ in a Cup car, I will end up at the airport. So I need to remember that I’m going to need a little more braking zone room. But you basically already know the line and you know where you want to be. You know the feel of the place.
“You know where some passing zones are. You kind of know how to run that race, which is the big advantage that comes with it. Having a car built from Richard Childress means that I don’t have to worry that it’s going to have parts and pieces that aren’t any good. And I still have Darren Shaw, my crew chief, who I’ve been working with at Beard Motorsports. We’ve still got our guys working it and our guys doing it, so I kind of have the best of all worlds here. And there is an advantage for people that have been there. I also gave myself a little bit of an insurance policy. I offered to sponsor Andy Lally in the Xfinity race. To me, Andy Lally is the premier sports-car racer in America.
“I don’t think anybody can argue that there is anybody better than Andy Lally. So, I offered to sponsor Andy because he’s racing Saturday. I told him he has to stay over Sunday and do some driver coaching and give me his notes. Not only do I have experience on the track, I will have notes from a stock car on the track from the day before.”
NASCAR’s national series will make their debuts on the Daytona road course this weekend. The Cup, Xfinity and Truck events will be held without any practice or qualifying.
NASCAR is prohibiting drivers from competing in more than one series this weekend on the Daytona road course in an effort to get extra track time. NASCAR states that is to make the event fair for everyone.
Sunday’s Cup race will be broadcast on NBC.
Here are the preliminary entry lists for the races at the Daytona road course
Cup – Go Bowling 235 (3 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC)
Thirty-nine drivers are entered for the race at the Daytona road course.
The race was stopped for 1 hour and 33 minutes for a weather delay near the end of the first stage.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Haley won the stage in a one-lap shootout.
STAGE 2 WINNER: AJ Allmendinger won under caution.
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Kaz Grala earned his fourth top five in 29 Xfinity start … Preston Pardus finished eighth. He has two top 10s in four career starts.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE:Daniel Hemric finished 35th after his engine expired on Lap 7 … Jesse Little finished 33rd after he got stuck in a Turn 2 sand trap with four laps left in the second stage. Safety officials were unable to remove his car in time to finish the stage under green.
WHAT’S NEXT: Race on the Daytona road course, 3 p.m. ET Aug. 15 on NBCSN.