A thunderstorm pelted Talladega Superspeedway at just the right time for Jeb Burton.
After a seven-car wreck on the backstretch, Burton held the lead under caution when the rain intensified. After NASCAR brought the Xfinity Series cars to pit road, the clouds opened and made a first-time winner of the driver of the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet.
Burton’s win in Saturday’s Ag-Pro 300 was the third straight at Talladega for Kaulig Racing, which swept last year’s two events with driver Justin Haley.
“Unbelievable, man,” said Burton, son of 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton. “It’s been a tough road to get to this point. Just an unbelievable race team. Today we had Mother Nature on our side, but we had a fast car anyway. We ran up front all day…
“We’ve been building and building and building, and I feel like I’ve kind of been the weak link the last couple of races, and I need to clean some things up. Just the momentum—that’s what I needed… I want to win races. I told them (Kaulig Racing) that I wanted to come there and hang banners.”
The wreck on the backstretch on Lap 85 of a scheduled 113 destroyed the cars of Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Brandon Jones and Ty Dillon and ended the last green-flag run of the race. Michael Annett spun off the bumper of Joe Graf Jr.’s car, igniting a seven-car accident that brought out the fourth and final caution of the afternoon.
Dillon’s Toyota was knocked up the track into the Supra of Jones, as both cars sustained severe damage.
The first two 25-lap stages ran without incident. Justin Haley surged into the lead on the final lap of Stage 1 and beat Jeb Burton to the stripe to score the Playoff point.
The second stage went to Noah Gragson, who moved past Austin Cindric on Lap 50 to get the win.
Series leader Austin Cindric finished second, followed by AJ Allmendinger, Riley Herbst and Ryan Sieg. Sixth-place Gragson pocketed the $100,000 Xfinity Dash 4 Cash bonus for the second straight race as the highest finisher among four eligible drivers.
“A hundred thousand dollars is a big deal for us,” Gragson said. “This is two times in a row. It’s pretty cool to be able to do that, but, man, I wanted to race for the win… A hundred thousand’s nice, but I race for wins. It is what it is. It’s ‘Dega, baby.”
Jeb Burton, Austin Cindric, AJ Allmendinger and Noah Gragson all qualify for the next round of the Dash 4 Cash at Darlington Raceway on May 9.
Cindric, the reigning series champion, leaves Talladega with a 59-point lead in the standings over second-place Daniel Hemric, who ran 12th on Saturday.
- (9) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 90.
- (1) Austin Cindric, Ford, 90.
- (11) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 90.
- (19) Riley Herbst, Ford, 90.
- (17) Ryan Sieg, Ford, 90.
- (4) Noah Gragson, Chevrolet, 90.
- (18) Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 90.
- (5) Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 90.
- (10) Myatt Snider, Chevrolet, 90.
- (3) Harrison Burton, Toyota, 90.
- (23) Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, 90.
- (2) Daniel Hemric, Toyota, 90.
- (27) Timmy Hill, Ford, 90.
- (14) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 90.
- (22) Colin Garrett, Chevrolet, 90.
- (26) David Starr, Toyota, 90.
- (13) Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, 90.
- (20) Jade Buford, Chevrolet, 90.
- (37) Colby Howard, Chevrolet, 90.
- (32) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 90.
- (30) Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 90.
- (33) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 90.
- (21) Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 90.
- (38) Natalie Decker, Chevrolet, 90.
- (36) Matt Mills, Chevrolet, 90.
- (34) Jesse Little, Chevrolet, 90.
- (31) Mason Massey, Toyota, 90.
- (15) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 90.
- (8) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 90.
- (39) Ryan Vargas #, Chevrolet, 90.
- (6) Josh Berry #, Chevrolet, 90.
- (12) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 88.
- (35) Joe Graf Jr., Chevrolet, 88.
- (24) Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, Electrical, 87.
- (16) Ty Dillon, Toyota, Accident, 87.
- (29) Joey Gase, Ford, 85.
- (7) Brandon Jones, Toyota, Accident, 84.
- (28) Caesar Bacarella, Chevrolet, DVP, 84.
- (40) Jason White, Ford, Suspension, 51.
- (25) Bayley Currey, Chevrolet, Overheating, 34.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 139.164 mph.
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 43 Mins, 13 Secs. Margin of Victory: Under Caution Seconds.
Caution Flags: 4 for 15 laps.
Lead Changes: 22 among 12 drivers.
Lap Leaders: D. Hemric 1-15;N. Gragson 16;D. Hemric 17-19;A. Cindric 20-21;N. Gragson 22-24;J. Haley 25-26;J. White 27;J. Burton 28-37;A. Cindric 38-40;J. Burton 41;A. Cindric 42-49;N. Gragson 50-51;R. Sieg 52;N. Gragson 53-54;M. Snider 55-57;A. Cindric 58-68;H. Burton 69;B. Brown 70;C. Howard 71-73;R. Vargas # 74-76;H. Burton 77-81;J. Burton 82-91.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Austin Cindric 4 times for 24 laps; Jeb Burton 3 times for 21 laps; Daniel Hemric 2 times for 18 laps; Noah Gragson 4 times for 8 laps; Harrison Burton 2 times for 6 laps; Colby Howard 1 time for 3 laps; Myatt Snider 1 time for 3 laps; Ryan Vargas # 1 time for 3 laps; Justin Haley 1 time for 2 laps; Jason White 1 time for 1 lap; Ryan Sieg 1 time for 1 lap; Brandon Brown 1 time for 1 lap.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 11,10,9,22,20,16,18,19,68,7
Stage #2 Top Ten: 9,7,22,19,54,2,18,02,1,68