NASCAR Racing Experience 300

Noah Gragson wins Xfinity opener at Daytona for first series victory

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Noah Gragson won Saturday’s Xfinity Series opener at Daytona, taking the victory in a three-lap shootout that ended under caution and claiming his first career Xfinity Series win.

The victory comes in his 37th career start.

Gragson, 21, led 15 laps and beat Harrison Burton, Timmy Hill, Brandon Jones and Chase Briscoe.

It is JR Motorsports’ third straight win in the season-opening race at Daytona and its fifth win in the last seven.

Gragson is the seventh Xfinity driver to earn his first win at Daytona.

The Las Vegas native took his time getting to victory lane.

His lengthy celebration on the frontstretch saw him: fan a flame on the track caused by his burnout, climb the catchfence with his crew, execute an impressive Bo Duke hood slide across his car, try multiple times to toss a water bottle into the stands before he finally planted the checkered flag atop his car before driving to victory lane.

“I’m so thankful for this opportunity,” Gragson told FS1. “Man, I’m speechless right now, I didn’t think this would come. … I spent a lot of time with (team owner) Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. this week, talking for about two hours. Wanted to be a better speedway race. He told me ‘go have fun, wreckers or checkers, you got to manage you gaps, be there at the end and just go lead the damn the thing.’ That’s what we did.”

Later in the media center, Gragson said “Without that talk I don’t think I’d be sitting here.”

Gragson had to bounce back from a Lap 32 speeding penalty. It’s the fifth time in the last seven Daytona races that the winner rebounded from an in-race penalty.

The race ended under caution due to a large wreck on the backstretch on the final lap.

The finish was setup by a wreck on a restart with seven laps to go.

It collected Jeb Burton, Austin Cindric, Ryan Sieg, Brett Moffitt and others. It began after Briscoe took the lead and he moved up to  block Gragson as they neared Turn 3. Burton, running behind Gragson, checked up and was turned by Cindric. He bounced off Jones before turning back into the wall, causing a chain reaction.

The wreck resulted in a seven minute and 50 second red flag.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Jeb Burton led a 1-2-3-4 sweep by JR Motorsports to end the first stage.

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier won the stage under caution following a wreck by Riley Herbst, pole-sitter Myatt Snider and Chris Cockrum on the last lap.

More: Race results, point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Harrison Burton earned his best finish in 10 Xfinity starts and his second top five … Timmy Hill earned his best finish and his first top five in 185 career Xfinity starts. It came hours after his MBM Motorsports team received a L2 level penalty for an improper body modification, which included a six-race suspension for his crew chief.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Caesar Bacarella finished 29th after he spun on his own exiting Turn 4 on the first lap of the race … Jeremy Clements finished 28th after the hood on his No. 51 car tore apart on Lap 19 and caused a debris caution … Defending race winner Michael Annett got loose and spun on Lap 38 and collected Austin Hill and rookie Joe Graf Jr in a wreck. Annett was later in the last-lap crash … Justin Allgaier finished 30th after he was involved in a wreck with Josh Bilicki and Clements with 13 laps to go.

NOTABLE: The top three lap leaders of the race – Jeb Burton (26 laps), Justin Allgaier (23) and Myatt Snider (22) all were eliminated in crashes.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “You know, don’t expect I’ll ever (go to victory lane at Daytona) again as a driver, so I’ll take these whenever they’re coming, right.  If I can get in here as an owner or part of any kind of success like this, it’s a great feeling.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr. to FS1 after Gragson’s win.

WHAT’S NEXT: Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 3:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 22 on FS1.

Check back for more.

Myatt Snider wins pole for Xfinity Series opener at Daytona

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Myatt Snider claimed the pole for today’s Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

The son of NBC Sports reporter Marty Snider, the 25-year-old Richard Childress Racing driver earned the pole in his first career Xfinity start. He posted a top speed of 188.430 mph.

Snider is the 12th driver to win the pole in their Xfinity debut.

It is the third consecutive pole for RCR in the season-opening race at Daytona, following Tyler Reddick in 2019 and Daniel Hemric in 20018. It is RCR’s 10th Xfinity pole at Daytona, which leads all teams.

Snider, the 2018 Truck Series rookie of the year, is driving RCR’s No. 21 car part-time this year.

“The last couple of days have been interesting,” Snider told FS1. “I’ve about gone to school basically. This is completely different from the truck series and how the truck series races. But I’m just blessed with the opportunity to race at Richard Childress Racing. … But we’ve got an insanely fast race car, obviously. I’m so stoked to be with these guys. … I can’t put it into words. First career start, first career pole.”

More: Myatt Snider’s European racing adventure

Snider will be joined on the front row by defending race winner Michael Annett.

The top five is completed by Justin Haley, Jeb Burton and SS Greenlight Racing’s Joe Graf Jr.

The Kaulig Racing cars driven by Ross Chastain and AJ Allmendinger each suffered similar mechanical issues in the left front during their qualifying runs, according to team general manager Chris Rice. It resulted in them posting the two of the slowest speeds in qualifying. With a lack of owner points, Allmendinger and Chastain failed to make the race.

Chastain will still get to race with Ryan Sieg‘s team allowing him to drive Jeff Green‘s 38 car.

The other DNQ drivers were Tommy Joe Martins, Chad Finchum and Colin Garrett.

Prior to qualifying NASCAR announced a L2 level penalty against MBM Motorsports and its No. 66 team for an improper body modification on the nose.

Crew chief Sebastian LaForge has been suspended for six Xfinity races effective immediately and fined $50,000.

The team has also been docked 75 owner points.

The No. 66 car, driven by Timmy Hill, qualified 26th for today’s race.

Click here for the starting lineup.

Today’s Xfinity race at Daytona: Start time, lineup and more

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The Xfinity Series gets its 2020 season underway today with the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona International Speedway.

This will be the first chance for drivers to establish themselves following the departure of the “Big 3” of Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer and Christopher Bell.

Here’s all the info you need ahead of the race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 2:37 p.m by Richard Petty. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 2:49 p.m.

PRERACE: Qualifying is 11 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 12:15 p.m. Driver introductions are at 2:05 p.m. The invocation will be given at 2:30 p.m. by Sonny Gallman, pastor at Central Baptist Church in Daytona Beach. The National Anthem will be performed at 2:31 p.m. by Catina Mack.

DISTANCE: The race is 120 laps (300 miles) around the 2.5-mile oval.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 30. Stage 2 ends on Lap 60.

TV/RADIO: FS1 will televise the race. Coverage will begin at 2:30 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s radio coverage will begin at 2 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com forecasts partly cloudy skies, a temperature of 83 degrees and no chance of rain for the start of the Xfinity race.

LAST TIME: Michael Annett won this race, beating Justin Allgaier and Brandon Jones. Ross Chastain won the July race last year over Justin Haley and Christopher Bell.

TO THE REAR: Ross Chastain will start from the rear after mechanical issues resulting in him failing to qualify in his Kaulig Racing car. But he’ll step into Ryan Sieg Racing’s No. 38 car, replacing Jeff Green.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.

Xfinity Series practice report from Daytona

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Caesar Bacarella was fastest in the final Xfinity Series practice session Friday at Daytona International Speedway.

Bacarella was one of 21 drivers to make lap in the session. He posted a top speed of 186.293 mph.

No drivers from top-tier teams made a lap in the session.

The top five was completed by Brandon Brown, Ryan Sieg, CJ McLaughlin and Josh Williams.

Click here for the practice report.

First practice

Noah Gragson was fastest in the first of two Xfinity Series practice sessions Friday at Daytona International Speedway.

The JR Motorsports’ driver posted a top speed of 190.621 mph around the 2.5-mile speedway. Gragson made 17 laps in the session.

The top five was completed by Ross Chastain (190.621 mph), Justin Haley (190.573), AJ Allmendinger (190.569) and Brett Moffitt (190.512).

Rookie Riley Herbst recorded the most laps in the session with 24.

Click here for the speed chart.

Updated entry lists for Daytona 500 race weekend

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The official start of the 2020 NASCAR seasons is days away for all three national series at Daytona International Speedway.

Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series teams return to 2.5-mile speedway as the weekend builds to the 62nd Daytona 500.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for each series.

Cup – Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on Fox)

Forty-three cars are entered for this year’s Daytona 500, meaning three cars will fail to make the race.

Which three will be sent home will be decided Thursday night with the qualifying races (7 p.m. ET on FS1).

The drivers in danger of missing out are Daniel Suarez, Reed Sorenson and Chad Finchum (Duel No. 1) and JJ Yeley and Timmy Hill (Duel No. 2).

The top finishing “open” cars in each race advance to the 500.

Click here for the starting lineups for the qualifying races.

Xfinity – NASCAR Racing Experience 300 (2:30 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1)

Forty cars are entered into the Xfinity Series opener.

With the series’ field having been reduced to 36 cars, four will not make the race.

NBC Sports’ AJ Allmendinger is entered in Kaulig Racing’s No. 16 Chevrolet. Kaulig will be fielding three cars along with the full-time entries of Ross Chastain and Justin Haley.

Austin Hill is entered in Hattori Racing Enterprises’ No. 61 Toyota.

There are two cars listed without drivers.

Click here for the entry list.

More: Tommy Joe Martins’s family-owned Xfinity teams returns for third time

Trucks – NextEra Energy Resources 250 (7:30 p.m. ET Friday on FS1)

Forty trucks are entered in Truck Series season opener.

With the Truck Series’ fields capped at 32, nine trucks will fail to make the race.

Cup Series rookie John Hunter Nemechek is entered in NEMCO Motorsports’ No. 8 Chevrolet.

Cup Series rookie Brennan Poole is entered in On Point Motorsports’ No. 30 Toyota.

Xfinity Series driver Ross Chastain is entered in Niece Motorsports’ No. 40 Chevrolet.

Xfinity Series rookie Riley Herbst is entered in Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 51 Toyota.

The No. 03 of Tim Viens has withdrawn.

Click here for the entry list.