H. Burton becomes youngest Martinsville winner

NASCAR

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Harrison Burton played the spoiler for a second consecutive week by winning Saturday at Martinsville Speedway to disrupt the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs.

Burton became the youngest winner in Martinsville history at 20 years, 22 days, breaking the mark set by his father, Jeff, in 1990 when he was 23. It was Burton’s fourth win of the season and, just like last week, spoiled the championship picture.

Burton’s back-to-back wins prevented Noah Gragson and Ross Chastain from advancing to next week’s Xfinity Series championship race at Phoenix. The title will instead be decided between Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier and Justin Haley.

The Xfinity Series is crowning its first new champion in three years; Tyler Reddick was promoted to Cup after winning the last two crowns.

Gragson a week ago at Texas was cruising to the checkered flag and an automatic berth in the finale when Burton hurtled past him and snatched the win. It put Gragson in a must-win situation Saturday at Martinsville, where the Xfinity Series raced for the first time since 2006.

But Burton was fairly dominant in his Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing and wasn’t challenged at the end. Allgaier finished second with enough points to advance into the championship race, while Gragson finished third and below the cutline.

Chastain, who also likely needed to win to advance, finished fifth.

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