MARTINSVILLE, Va. – He’s no longer in contention for the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship, but don’t tell Harrison Burton that.
After being bounced from the playoffs in the opening round, Burton took his second Xfinity Series victory in a row Saturday in the Draft Top 250 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
The driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota held off veteran and playoff contender Justin Allgaier by .355 seconds for the win, his fourth of the season. He led the final 53 laps en route to victory lane.
In doing so, the 20-year-old became the youngest winner (20 years, 22 days) in Xfinity Series history at Martinsville – bettering his father Jeff Burton’s mark of 23 years, two months, 24 days.
Burton led five times Saturday for a race-high 81 laps in the series’ first race at Martinsville since 2006.
“It was a really fun race. Martinsville is one of those places that’s really cool to win at, for me in particular, because my family is from here,” Burton noted. “There’s a guy in a hot dog for Halloween. The fans here are awesome. It’s amazing to win here at what is one of my home tracks I would say and do what my dad did. I think it was his first Xfinity win that was here.”
Also special was the coveted grandfather clock trophy that Burton was able to take home.
“It’s probably one of the coolest trophies in the whole series that we get. It’s pretty hard to describe how exciting this is,” Burton said. “My race team worked their tails off on this car expecting us to have to fight to get into Phoenix to win a championship and we got knocked out, but we’ve proven people wrong.
“We won two in a row in this round and we’re going to go try to make it three at Phoenix.”
Saturday was important for more than just Burton. His victory meant that three of the final four championship-eligible positions were decided by points, as opposed to wins in the round of eight.
Allgaier’s runner-up effort put him into the title round, joining 10th-place finisher Austin Cindric, 12th-place finisher Justin Haley and seventh-place Chase Briscoe, who had already advanced with a win two weeks earlier.
Noah Gragson cam home third ahead of the winner’s cousin, Jeb Burton, and Ross Chastain.
Gragson and Chastain fell just short of advancing into the Championship 4. Brandon Jones (ninth place) and Ryan Sieg (11th place) also failed to earn a position in the title-decider.
Just because they didn’t advance, however, didn’t mean those eliminated from playoff contention weren’t in the conversation for much of the afternoon.
Gragson won the first stage and led 23 laps on the day. Chastain won stage two and led 31 laps Saturday afternoon.
Eventually, however, pit strategy became a deciding factor.
Non-championship contenders such as Burton and veteran A.J. Allmendinger, who led 68 laps, were able to gamble on pit stop timing and track position.
Allmendinger had the lead after the stage two restart and he and Burton were the only two drivers to trade the top position from there on, while the early leaders navigated back up through the field in traffic – dicing through cars and pursuing their own agendas.
Of the four drivers who have advanced to decide the championship next week at Arizona’s Phoenix Raceway, Allgaier is the only one with previous experience in the Championship 4. The other three are making their debuts in the title-deciding race.
Allgaier will enter Phoenix with his fourth chance at an Xfinity Series title. His previous best points finish in the elimination format was third in both 2016 and 2017.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.