NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Noah Gragson Misses Championship 4: ‘Definitely a Bummer’

The Round of 8 may wind up being “what could have been” for Noah Gragson.

Despite scoring his 16th top five and 24th top-10 finish, both career highs in his Xfinity Series career, he fell short of advancing to the Championship 4 for the second year in a row. But that goal not being met doesn’t mean the season as a whole was completely unsuccessful.

“I feel like it was a success,” Gragson said. “The season’s not over, but at the beginning of the year, we wanted to go finish top five every race and the last six races we finished top three in five of the last six races. It’s unfortunate not making the Final Four, but if we don’t have that [36th-place finish] at Kansas and getting taken out, it might be a different story.”

“Super proud of [crew chief] Dave Elenz and the guys on this No. 9 Bass Pro Shops team. They put in a lot of effort, lot of late nights at the shop. Definitely a bummer, but I don’t think it’s a failure by any means, it just is what it is.”

His Round of 8 kicked off with a 36th-place finish at Kansas, immediately putting him behind the eight ball. Last weekend at Texas, he came up a few hundred yards short of redeeming himself with a win, only to slip up coming off turn 4 to the checkered flag and finish second.

And on Saturday at Martinsville, a third-place run wasn’t enough for Gragson to point his way in. It was going to be win or go home, and unfortunately for the No. 9, he came up short.

“He’s going for a championship in points and I didn’t wanna ruin his chances,” Gragson said of trying to get by Justin Allgaier. “Because it’s a teammate out there, you’re not going to bulldog your way through there.”

Gragson and the No. 9 JR Motorsports team will aim to close out the year on a high note next weekend at Phoenix Raceway (Saturday, Nov. 7 at 5 p.m. ET).

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Carl D.

Gragson is young, talented, and hungry. He’s also too aggressive for his own good. He will learn to temper that aggression, but until he does, he will continue to come up short in his quest for a championship.

Steve R

oh the poor little spoiled rich baby did not make the championship, It’s called Karma and when you say the F-word not once but twice on live TV and the Hypocrites at NASCAR choose to do nothing to you because you drive for Dale Jr. well Karma took care of that for us

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