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Las Vegas native Noah Gragson loses lead, race on final restart

Updated March 5, 2022 - 7:31 pm

Noah Gragson restarted from the lead with six laps to go in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 300 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

But Gragson lost his lead in Turn 1 as Ty Gibbs received a push from Justin Allgaier. Gibbs managed to hold off Gragson for the final six laps as the Las Vegas native came home in second place.

With 64 laps to go, Gragson pitted from the lead under green with what he believed was a tire going down.

“I felt like … there was a slight vibration,” Gragson said. “We got the lead back on green flag pit stops and had to start conserving fuel.”

Gragson believed that the air pressure was too high on the right rear tire, which caused the tire to feel loose. He said that issue went away after a few laps of racing.

On restarts, the drivers on the front row had utilized pushes from the drivers on the second row to gain the lead off Turn 1. On the final restart, Daniel Hemric was not able to give Gragson the push he needed to maintain the lead.

When Gibbs did receive such a push from Allgeir, he was able to get past Gragson and never relinquished the lead.

“Hats off to (Gibbs), they beat us straight up,” said Gragson, who won the first two stages and led for a total of 52 laps after qualifying in third place.

Riley Herbst, the other Las Vegas native in the field, had a top-10 run going before a crash with 10 laps to go.

He narrowly missed a crash involving Austin Hill and Ryan Truex off Turn 4. Herbst got hit from behind and spun through the grass. The damage knocked him out of contention for a good result. He finished 14th.

Herbst, who qualified in fourth, had been battling a loose race car early in the runs and had found his way into the top-10 and was looking for his third such finish out of three races to start the season.

Gragson has started the season with three straight top-three finishes and is the points leader in the Xfinity Series. But the Las Vegas native wants to get into victory lane at his hometown track.

“At the end of the day, this is a bucket list track for me being from Las Vegas,” Gragson said after his sixth top-10 finish at LVMS.

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on Twitter.

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