Noah Gragson finishes 10th at Indy after another run-in with Sage Karam

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Noah Gragson runs well in NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In four events combined – one on the oval and now three on the road course – Gragson has three top fives and four top 10s.

On Saturday July 30, Gragson won stage one, was forced to pit due to his damaged No.9 and bounced back to finish 10th.

“I just enjoy this place,” Gragson said. Front stretch after race. “It’s special, it’s a lot of fun and it doesn’t matter if it’s a road course or an oval. I really enjoyed it from the start and had a lot of fun with it.

Gragson led six laps en route to claiming his eighth stage victory this season. He now has 23 playoff points, currently tied for the most in the series.

“We have to keep winning races, keep running as hard as we can at the end of the day,” Gragson said.

Shortly after stage two, Gragson’s No.9 was damaged when he was involved in a three-way incident, including Sage Karam. Karam and Gragson tangled at Road America, culminating in Gragson destroying Karam, and then NASCAR subsequently penalizing Gragson for his actions.

“No. 45 still doesn’t know how wings work and everything, but just part of it,” Gragson said.

Karam, meanwhile, had a different opinion.

“It was like three or four wide there,” Karam said. “When it’s three to four wide, there’s really no room left to go. He was behind me and I think he was actually the one who made three wide so I had nowhere to go. Then I walked inside him and I guess he was angry that I walked in beside him. But, I mean, this is all unintentional. They put their car in this situation to make it three or four wide, and I get it. Everyone is aggressive, but don’t get mad when it doesn’t go your way.

“So that was just the point of view. I’m not mad at Noah, I’m not trying to do anything to Noah on purpose. I just feel like he tried to put three cars on a bend and it just wasn’t going to happen. Then he gets mad at me. But it’s okay. We’ll keep going.

NASCAR mandated Gragson pit so their JR Motorsports crew could repair their No. 9. As a result, Gragson’s pit strategy was changed and he had to cross the field to regain those positions.

“We won the first stage, but I don’t feel like we showed our true potential with all the damage,” Gragson said. “We had an awkward pit streak because we got some damage.”

During the interview, Gragson was approached by Santino Ferrucci. Ferrucci made his second Xfinity start this season, and both riders thanked each other for racing cleanly, which even Ferrucci admitted to being unsure of when Gragson got to Ferrucci.

“I love Noah,” Ferrucci said. “He’s a good guy. He’s just a bit wild. When I saw him go by, I was like, ‘Hm, let’s see what happens.’ We had a really clean run in a few corners.

Through 20 Xfinity races this season, Gragson now has 14 top 10s. His performance would have made him a prime candidate to move up to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2022, especially tied to the No. 42 Petty GMS Motorsports Chevrolet that will be released by Ty Dillon at the end of the season.

For his part, Gragson didn’t have much to say about the rumours.

“Who knows what they are talking about? said Gragson. “I appreciate their thoughts, but [I’m] I’ll just try to keep winning Xfinity races for now.

Ferrucci said he also thinks Gragson will be heading to the Cup Series next year. As a result, Gragson’s remark to Ferrucci made him smile after a 17th-place finish.

“It’s rather good [to hear] given that he will be in the Cup next year,” said Ferrucci.

Next on the Xfinity Series record is a trip to Michigan International Speedway. Gragson was quick on the 2-mile track, with second and third place finishes in her two Xfinity races there.

“It’s a good lead for us,” Gragson said. “We have raced well there in the past. I’m really proud of the team; I just have to keep working hard through the regular season and the good points days.

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