Snider wins at Homestead after Gragson slams into lapped car

HOMESTEAD, Florida (AP) - Noah Gragson was nearly 9 seconds ahead, the outside lane was wide open and the white flag was waiting for him.
The JR Motorsports driver was on the verge of an elusive victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway. And then the unthinkable happened. A lapped car burst a tire and turned right in front of it. A split second sooner or later, and Gragson would have driven by and landed on the winning streak.
Instead, Gragson had nowhere to go and no time to stop. He slammed into David Starr and ended his day in a disappointing way.
Myatt Snider was the beneficiary. Snider won the Xfinity Series race on Saturday and took the checkered flag in extra time after Gragson's premature wreck with two laps to go.
"What are you going to do?" Said Gragson. "You got (idiots) in the way every week."
The 26-year-old Snider celebrated his first victory in 36 starts with a second round on the 1 1/2-mile route.
The Richard Childress Racing driver spun his tires on the first of two restarts in overtime, but got a second chance thanks to a late caution after AJ Allmendinger spun. Snider didn't make the same mistake twice, driving with RCR teammate Tyler Reddick and doing the last two laps without a major test.
"It's just amazing to finally be in this position," said Snider.
The biggest challenge for the first-time winner - the second in as many weeks in the second-rate NASCAR series - was finding the winning streak. Snider missed the turn before pulling back and trying again.
Reddick finished second, followed by Brandon Jones, Daniel Hemric, Jeb Burton and polesitter Austin Cindric. The race provided some evidence that Cindric may have more competition than expected after finishing first and second in the first two races.
Gragson was as much a story as Snider. He was on his way to his first win since last June when Starr burst a right front tire and turned into the outside wall - right in front of Gragson.
Gragson got out of his crumpled car, shook his head and fists in disgust. He took off his helmet and gloves and waved to the crowd before getting into a waiting ambulance for a mandatory trip to the Infield Care Center.
It was his third disappointing result in a row at Homestead. Gragson had the dominant car in both races at Homestead last year but couldn't win either.
"Definitely a bummer," said Gragson. "You know who won this race based on the speed of the last three times we've been here ... There's only one thing we can do and that's a rebound."
Snider, the son of NASCAR broadcaster Marty Snider, took advantage and brought Richard Childress Racing onto the winning streak for the first time in 2021. He didn't have friends and family members to celebrate, which might not have been a bad thing.
"If you look on the good side since everyone is not here, I can save them and (spread the party) for a long time," he said.
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More AP NASCAR: https://apnews.com/NASCAR
In this article:
Marty Snider
Myatt Snider
Noah Gragson
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