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Weekend at Watkins Glen Brings NASCAR Team 1 Step Closer to Playoffs

Ty Dillon and Noah Gragson both spent the weekend in New York at Watkins Glen International for the Xfinity and Cup series races. This road race is the 22nd out of 33 for the Xfinity Series and leaves Gragson with four regular races before the playoffs begin. Dillon, on the other hand, has one more regular season race before the Round of 16 begins for the Cup Series. 

 

Photo by Harold Hinson/Harold Hinson Photography.

Noah Gragson held 16th position in the starting lineup for the Saturday, Aug. 20, race at Watkins Glen after landing in 18th during the practice run. The Sunoco Go Rewards 200 road race on a 2.45-mile track saw Gragson move from 16th up to eighth within Stage One, but after pitting, he finished the opening stage in 11th position. For the start of Stage Two, Gragson managed to cycle into sixth and finished that stage in fourth. During the opening laps of Stage Three, Gragson climbed to third place, but during the pit stop and later in the course, he drifted to sixth place. This allowed him to avoid a melee at the front of the field, improve two positions, and finish the race in fourth. This fourth-place finish marks the team’s 12th top-five finish of the season, not to mention the third in the last four races. 


“It seems like road-course racing in Xfinity has gotten a lot harder, especially with the Cup guys running it,” Gragson said. “It’s a challenge because everybody’s so good. We were 16th in qualifying. To be able to run in the top five there at the end of the race — all through the third stage — and come home with top five is really big for us. This is one of my worse road courses but a good chance for us to build and get better as a team. Obviously, you want to win, but if you can’t do that, a top five is good result.” 


Photo courtesy of Ty Dillon.

Ty Dillon kicked off his practice round for the Go Bowling at the Glen and finished in 32nd out of 39 drivers. However, for the starting lineup, he started in 27th position. Sunday’s race saw a very wet road race, so rain tires were a necessity. With a number of other drivers spinning out or facing mechanical failures, Dillon was able to consistently progress up the track and finished the race in 16th place, just above his brother Austin Dillon. Ty Dillon holds 29th in the series with 377 points after the Go Bowling at the Glen race. 



Where to find the drivers next: Next up for Gragson and Dillon is a trip back to Daytona for the Wawa 250 Powered by Coke on Friday and the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on Saturday.