Chandler Smith had a 4.495-second margin of victory on Saturday at Richmond Raceway. (Dawson Hess photo)

Smith Claims Second Straight Richmond Xfinity Victory

Chandler Smith led an impressive 76 laps, all in the final stage, to win Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Richmond Raceway.

 The Joe Gibbs Racing driver piloted the No. 81 Toyota to victory lane for the second time in 2024, scoring the win by 4.495 seconds over teammate Aric Almirola, who swept Saturday’s stages in the ToyotaCare 250.

“I was riding pretty hard honestly. I went right off the rip pretty hard just to get control of the lead and set my own pace. Once I could set my own pace, I was riding pretty decently there. If a caution came out — it is what it is — it probably wouldn’t have been my time, but it was our time today and I’m going to cherish the moment,” Smith said.

Taylor Gray made it a 1-2-3 sweep for JGR in his series debut, with the No. 19 Toyota ahead of Corey Heim and Jesse Love.

“We struggled mid-race, but all the guys on my Richard Childress Racing team kept digging to find a way to end with a decent day. We certainly did that. We tried some things, and it didn’t quite work out for us,” Love said.

Short-track ace Bubba Pollard finished sixth in his NASCAR debut, driving the No. 88 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports with Parker Kligerman seventh, Austin Hill eighth, Sammy Smith ninth and Cole Custer completing the top 10 — the first car one lap down.

Tempers boiled over at lap 173 when Joey Gase was dumped by Dawson Cram heading to turn one. Cram shoved Gase down the frontstretch, sending Gase’s No. 35 car spinning rear-end first hard into the SAFER barrier in turn one.

Upon exiting the vehicle, Gase finished ripping off the fiberglass bumper cover — donning the words “Race Against Crime” — then threw the bumper directly at Cram’s windshield as the No. 4 car rolled past under caution.

Brandon Jones of JR Motorsports qualified second but suffered a mechanical failure heading into turn one at lap 43. His No. 9 Chevrolet spewed fluid on corner entry, sending the vehicle sideways and crashing into the outside wall before later catching fire. Jones escaped unharmed but with a 37th-place finish after his early exit.

Ryan Sieg and Jeremy Clements also incurred damage as part of the incident.