A thunderstorm pelted Talladega Superspeedway at just the right time for Jeb Burton.
After a seven-car wreck on the backstretch, Burton held the lead under caution when the rain intensified. After NASCAR brought the Xfinity Series cars to pit road, the clouds opened and made a first-time winner of No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet driver.
Burton’s win in Saturday’s Ag-Pro 300 was the third straight at Talladega for Kaulig Racing, which swept last year’s two events with driver Justin Haley.
“Unbelievable, man,” said Burton, son of 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton. “It’s been a tough road to get to this point. Just an unbelievable race team. Today we had Mother Nature on our side, but we had a fast car anyway. We ran up front all day …
“We’ve been building and building and building, and I feel like I’ve kind of been the weak link the last couple of races, and I need to clean some things up. Just the momentum — that’s what I needed … I want to win races. I told them (Kaulig Racing) that I wanted to come there and hang banners.”
The wreck on the backstretch on Lap 85 of a scheduled 113 destroyed the cars of Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Brandon Jones and Ty Dillon and ended the last green-flag run of the race. Michael Annett spun off the bumper of Joe Graf Jr.’s car, igniting a seven-car accident that brought out the fourth and final caution of the afternoon.
Dillon’s Toyota was knocked up the track into the Supra of Jones, as both cars sustained severe damage.
The first two 25-lap stages ran without incident. Haley surged into the lead on the final lap of Stage 1 and beat Burton to the stripe to score the NASCAR Playoffs point.
The second stage went to Noah Gragson, who moved past Austin Cindric on Lap 50 to get the green-white-checkered flag.
Series leader Cindric finished second in the race, followed by AJ Allmendinger, Riley Herbst and Ryan Sieg. Sixth-place Gragson pocketed the $100,000 Xfinity Dash 4 Cash bonus for the second straight race as the highest finisher among four eligible drivers.
“A hundred thousand dollars is a big deal for us,” Gragson said. “This is two times in a row. It’s pretty cool to be able to do that, but, man, I wanted to race for the win… A hundred thousand’s nice, but I race for wins. It is what it is. It’s ‘Dega, baby.”
Burton, Cindric, Allmendinger and Gragson all qualify for the next round of the Dash 4 Cash on May 8 at Darlington Raceway (1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM).
Cindric, the reigning series champion, leaves Talladega with a 59-point lead in the standings over second-place Daniel Hemric, who ran 12th Saturday.
NOTE: The race winning No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet of Jeb Burton passed NASCAR’s post-race inspection. There were no other issues.