Road America Xfinity Recap: Noah Gragson

(Photo: Getty Images)

Start: 5th
Finish: 4th

Noah Gragson drove to a fourth-place finish on the left-and-right turns of Road America in Saturday’s CTECH Manufacturing 180 for the Xfinity Series. Gragson spent the bulk of the day among the frontrunners, but the No. 9 Switch team had to bounce back from an early pit-road speeding penalty that mired them deep in the field. They clawed their way back inside the top five to lock down their sixth top five and 14th top 10 of the season.

Gragson fired off from a solid fifth-place starting spot and patiently settled in as the field began stringing out. His initial feedback centered around a tight condition on the No. 9 Switch Chevrolet that the team would work on throughout the race. Gragson held on to a spot in the top 10 and rode to the stage-ending caution in seventh.

The team elected to pit with the bulk of the field under the caution flag and Gragson came to the attention of the crew for a chassis adjustment in addition to four tires and fuel. But it was under this stop that NASCAR determined the No. 9 sped on pit road. As a result, Gragson had to line up 26th for the Stage-Two restart.

With the drop of the green flag, Gragson showed his road course skills. He worked up to 15th in only a lap, then cracked the top 10 by lap 16. Ultimately, Gragson would wheel his way to fifth for the conclusion of Stage Two and return to pit road for a second scheduled stop.

Gragson took the start of the final stage in ninth and launched up to the fifth spot before the final caution slowed the field with three laps remaining. Gragson was in an advantageous spot for the restart and once up to speed managed to secure one final position and then hold off all challengers over the final two laps to come home fourth. It marked Gragson’s best road-course finish of 2019.

Christopher Bell won the race. He was followed to the line by Austin Cindric, Tyler Reddick, Gragson and Kaz Grala.

Noah Gragson, driver No. 9 Switch Chevrolet team

“A big thanks to all the guys on the Switch team. We fought hard today. These road course races are always a bit of a wild card but it ended up being a solid points day for us. The last couple laps were pretty edgy out there with everybody bunched up fighting for position. But we’ll bank this fourth-place and turn our sights on Darlington.”