BRISTOL, Tenn. — Noah Gragson held off Brandon Jones to win his third consecutive Xfinity Series race, AJ Allmendinger won the regular season title and Ryan Sieg raced his way into the playoffs Friday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Gragson was the only car not to pit with 25 laps to go and inherited the lead. He held off a furious challenge by Jones, who will take over Gragson’s car next year JR Motorsports.
The victory is Gragson’s sixth of the year.
Austin Hill placed third and was followed by Sam Mayer and Riley Herbst. Justin Allgaier, who led a race-high 148 laps, finished ninth after a speeding penalty on the final pit stop.
Sieg, who entered the race 19 points behind Landon Cassill for the final playoff spot, finished 10th to advance.
Sheldon Creed saw his chances to make the playoffs end with a crash on Lap 129. He was racing side-by-side with Ty Gibbs for the lead when Gibbs was hit from behind by Noah Gragson. The contact sent Gibbs up the track into Creed’s car. Both went into the wall and were eliminated.
“Man, that’s the way my year has gone,” Creed told NBC Sports’ Dave Burns. “We have speed at times and then stuff like that happens.
That incident happened less than 20 laps after Landon Cassill, who entered the race holding the final playoff spot, went behind pit road for repairs after a mechanical issue. Cassill returned to the race 112 laps behind the leaders and moved ahead of Creed and Gibbs but could not gain on any other drivers. Cassill finished 35th.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Ty Gibbs
STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Brandon Jones’ runner-up finish is his best result in 13 starts at Bristol. … Riley Herbst’s fifth-place finish is his first top five since Nashville in June. … Stefan Parsons finished a career-best eighth.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Sheldon Creed, who entered the race 32 points out of the final playoff spot, was battling for the lead and the automatic transfer to the second round when he was collected in an incident. … A mechanical issue sent Landon Cassill behind pit wall for repairs and cost him a shot at making the playoffs.
NEXT: The Xfinity playoffs begin Sept. 24 at Texas (3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network)