OBSERVATIONS: ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway
No matter the reason as you can pick what you want, whether attraction of a short track or seeing no Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regulars, the NASCAR XFINITY Series delivered for the second straight week with the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway.
There was pit strategy near the end of a stage, and battles for position throughout the whole race – including three-wide at times. You also had six different drivers pace the field, showing potential to possibly reach victory lane. The Dash 4 Cash even had a bit of drama with on-track incidents. Do we need to say anymore?
Christopher Bell may have went home with the trophy, but he didn’t have it easy, enduring a serious challenge from Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Noah Gragson in the closing laps. Really, seeing that pair run one-two shows the growth of young talent in NASCAR. When they both entered the fray, it was hold nothing back, go crazy style. However, in having been both riled back a bit courtesy of Kyle Busch, we’re seeing their talent shine.
A runner-up for Gragson in his XFINITY debut is nothing to be disappointed about, but you have to wonder – what if? Utilizing the bottom line, he closed the two-second gap to Bell over five laps, looking underneath, even tapping the bumper of the No. 20 Toyota Camry a couple times, before fading a little. If Gragson didn’t switch to the top after a couple failed attempts, he may have been able to make the pass. You also have to wonder if there were flashbacks to ISM Raceway last year when the pair wrecked while battling for the lead as NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teammates for Kyle Busch Motorsports, too.
Meanwhile, Elliott Sadler placed third for the Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus, which came as no surprise as he ran upfront all night, pacing 30 laps. Though, this is another what if scenario as you have to wonder if Daniel Hemric would have snagged it without his issues. He had a quick car as well, leading 11 laps, until he had a flat tire and hit the wall. His Richard Childress Racing team could’ve handled that better. How do you leave a guy who has a tire going down on track for 17 laps to try and make it to the end of the stage? That should’ve been instant pit stop, and work towards fighting back. Instead, he finished 29th.
Now heading to Talladega Superspeedway, one can only guess what will happen and who will head home $100,000 richer due to another Dash 4 Cash bonus.
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