Earnhardt Country: JRM’s Noah Gragson Beats Out Jeffrey Earnhardt at Talladega

The Xfinity Series returned back to Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama for some plate racing action. Easily the biggest story of the day was the return of an Earnhardt-piloted 3 car to the track where Dale Earnhardt Sr. won a record 10 races. Jeffrey Earnhardt jumped into the Richard Childress #3 Chevrolet for a one-off race at the track where his grandfather so often dominated – and in typical Earnhardt fashion, went out and took home his first career pole award.

“This is unbelievable man – this has been a dream of mine for years to get this opportunity. Everything’s just fallen into place” said Earnhardt following his qualifying effort in which he out-dueled the series’ biggest stars in the final round of qualifying after posting the third best time in round one.

Austin Hill started on the outside pole, allowing RCR to secure a front-row sweep. Ty Gibbs, Sheldon Creed, Daniel Hemric, and Landon Cassill made up the next two rows. Jesse Iwuji, Natalie Decker, and CJ McLaughlin failed to qualify for the race. This marks the third time in the team’s first 9 races that Jesse Iwuji Motorsports has failed to qualify.

At the end, it was Noah Gragson who ultimately came out on top, beating out runner-up Jeffrey Earnhardt who just missed out on a story book ending despite bringing home his career best finish. Despite staying relatively clean throughout the first two stages of the race, it took three overtime attempts before a winner was finally crowned.

As it happened:

The only caution in stage one came on lap 11 when Alpha Prime driver Ryan Ellis had a driveline issue and spun on his own. Ellis was able to stay on track however, only losing one lap.

Stage 1 results:

1) Josh Berry
2) Ty Gibbs
3) AJ Allmendinger
4) Landon Cassill
5) Austin Hill
6) Justin Allgaier
7) Noah Gragson
8) Anthony Alfredo
9) Sam Mayer
10) Brett Moffitt

Stage two saw JJ Yeley lead a few laps to start before the JR Motorsports cars of Noah Gragson and Josh Berry took over the top two spots. There were a few lead changes, mainly between the JR Motorsports drivers and Austin Hill, with the field still managing to stay clean despite some fairly intense three and four wide racing.

With three to go in the stage however, the second incident caution of the day flew as Mason Massey drifted up the track and got into Josh Berry’s car, causing Massey to spin and make hard contact with the Josh Berry, JJ Yeley, Chandler Smith, Ryan Ellis and Brett Moffit were also involved in the wreck. Smith and Massey suffered day-ending damage.

Stage 2 results:

1) Justin Allgaier
2) Sam Mayer
3) Austin Hill
4) Brandon Jones
5) Ty Gibbs
6) Drew Dollar
7) Brandon Brown
8) Jeffrey Earnhardt
9) Myatt Snider
10) Ryan Sieg

The final stage saw decidedly more chaos than the first two, as a plethora of wrecks saw three green white checker attempts take place. Ultimately, it was Noah Gragson who had to hold off Jeffrey Earnhardt in his legendary #3 car for his second win of the 2022 season.

Ultimately 16 cars ended up registering a DNF. Notably among them included: Justin Allgaier, Sheldon Creed, Austin Hill, Sam Mayer, Daniel Hemric, and points leader Ty Gibbs.

AJ Allmendinger won the Dash 4 Cash for the second consecutive week with his third place finish.

Final Results:

1) Noah Gragson
2) Jeffrey Earnhardt
3) AJ Allmendinger
4) Ryan Sieg
5) Landon Cassill
6) Anthony Alfredo
7) Riley Herbst
8) Joe Graf Jr.
9) Myatt Snider
10) Brett Moffitt
11) Josh Berry
12) Alex Labbé
13) Drew Dollar
14) Shane Lee
15) Jeb Burton
16) Joey Gase
17) Bailey Currey
18) Kyle Sieg
19) Josh Williams
20) Ryan Vargas
21) Gray Gaulding
22) Justin Allgaier
23) Jeremy Clements
24) Sheldon Creed
25) Caesar Bacarella
26) Brandon Jones
27) Austin Hill
28) Sam Mayer
29) Kaz Grala
30) Brandon Brown
31) Matt Mills
32) Ryan Ellis
33) David Starr
34) Daniel Hemric
35) Ty Gibbs
36) JJ Yeley
37) Mason Massey
38) Chandler Smith

Image credit: RCR Twitter

Published by Walker Skeeter

Walker is a 4th year climatology PhD candidate at the University of Delaware. Despite being a climate scientist, Walker has been a NASCAR fan for over 20 years! His favorite drivers are Bubba Wallace, Tyler Reddick, and Alex Bowman in cup, and AJ Allmendinger, Tommy Joe Martins, and Ryan Vargas in Xfinity. Outside of racing, he enjoys talking about (and studying) the weather, watching Baltimore sports, and playing video games.

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