Harrison Burton Denies Noah Gragson Championship Race Slot at Texas

Harrison Burton will not race for a championship next month, but he made a statement against his fellow NASCAR Xfinity Series contenders on Saturday night in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Noah Gragson was one corner away from punching his ticket into the championship race on Nov. 7 but was denied by Burton and was forced to settle for second, which ultimately may not be enough after entering the race 33 points out of a transfer spot.

Gragson relinquished at least a six-car length lead over the final lap and leaves The Lone Star State 24 points out of a transfer spot and may need to win next week at Martinsville to advance to the Championship 4.

“I felt like we had a fast car there and just frustrated at myself,” Gragson said. “Make or break your season right there, and just gave it away.”

Meanwhile, it was a redemption arc of sorts for Burton, who captured his third win of the season, but only after getting eliminated from championship consideration after the first round.

“That’s what we came to do — to be fast and to do what we did on that last lap was incredible,” Burton said.

Chase Briscoe remains the only driver to have advanced into the championship race by virtue of his victory last week at Kansas Speedway.

PLAYOFFS SHAKE-UP

The remaining three championship race slots will be decided next weekend at Martinsville Speedway, but the implications of Saturday afternoon at Texas will be felt throughout the off-season for those who don’t advance.

First, Ryan Sieg suffered a left front suspension failure, and needed a lengthy repair before returning the track, placing him 43 points of a transfer spot and in a must-win scenario next weekend at Martinsville.

Then there was an incident involving Ross Chastain and Justin Allgaier (more on that below) that considerably tightened the cutline.

Chase Briscoe
Austin Cindric +14
Justin Allgaier +8
Justin Haley +4

Brandon Jones -4
Ross Chastain -15
Noah Gragson -24
Ryan Sieg -43

A combination of four winners or the highest in points without a win will race for the championship in two weeks at Phoenix.

“Ross [Chastain] is pretty two-faced.” – @J_Allgaier #NASCARPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/1lLNmQ0Mi4

“TWO FACED”

Allgaier called Chastain “two-faced” for how he drives following the incident between them on a restart with 26 laps to go.

Allgaier restarted on the inside of the front row and was leading into Turn 2 when he slipped up the track and initiated and came into contact with Chastain. That eventually sent Allgaier into Brandon Jones, who then hit Chastain.

“(Austin Cindric) gave me a great push on the restart and was doing a great job to keep me down into Turn 1,” Allgaier said on the NBCSN broadcast. “I knew I wasn’t going to be able to hang the bottom, so I tried to drift up a little bit, trying to leave (Chastain) as much room as I could.

“When (Chastain) got to my quarter panel, we got loose. Then right here (as Allgaier watched a replay), he just decided to hang a left because he’s aggravated and wrecks the whole field. It’s a shame not only for our team but everybody else. Ross is pretty two-faced and says a lot of things outside the race car and drives like this on the racetrack a lot of the times. It’s pretty disappointing.”

Allgaier was unable to finish the race and finished 26th.

Chastain finished 16th and claimed responsibility.

“It’s my fault. We had a race winner today. … We brought a race-winning racecar to the track today and driver error,” Chastain said. “I made too many mistakes there. I don’t deserve what I have in front of me, I don’t deserve to drive this race car to be honest. To make those mistakes is absolutely unacceptable.”

“I don’t deserve to drive this race car. To make those mistakes is absolutely unacceptable.”@RossChastain takes the blame for the incident that cost him, Justin Allgaier, and Brandon Jones a chance to win and advance in the #NASCARPlayoffs. pic.twitter.com/OwUdBhT8ZC

This a continuation of a rocky relationship between the two contenders. They came nto contact with each other at Watkins Glen last season, resulting in a crashed race car for Allgaier. He retaliated later in the race against Chastain.

“Ross and I have had a rocky relationship,” Allgaier told NBCSNafter that race. “We’ve had some contact in the past. He took advantage in the bus stop and wrecked me on purpose. That was disappointing. I had every intention of probably turning him around. I didn’t want to put him in the fence. My apologies to (car owner) Johnny Davis and that No. 4 team. I had no intention of wrecking that car, but I wanted to make sure that I got the point across. That’s not the first time that he’s run into me and hurt our day. It’s just frustrating when people race you like that week in and week out.”

RESULTS

1. Harrison Burton
2. Noah Gragson
3. Anthony Alfredo
4. Austin Cindric
5. Brandon Brown
6. Michael Annett
7. Justin Haley
8. Ryan Vargas
9. Josh Williams
10. Tommy Joe Martins
11. Alex Labbe
12. Bayley Currey
13. Matt Mills
14. Brett Moffitt
15. Jesse Little
16. Ross Chastain
17. B.J. McLeod
18. Jeffrey Earnhardt
19. Kyle Weatherman
20. C.J. McLaughlin
21. Kody Vanderwal
22. Joe Graf, Jr.
23. Jesse Iwuji
24. Chase Briscoe
25. Brandon Jones
26. Justin Allgaier
27. Jeremy Clements
28. Colby Howard
29. Myatt Snider
30. Jeb Burton
31. Ryan Sieg
32. Riley Herbst
33. Austin Hill
34. Chad Finchum
35. David Starr
36. Timmy Hill


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