Allmendinger's bold last-lap pass nets Talladega Xfinity win
A.J. Allmendinger waited to virtually the last second to make a pass and edged Sam Mayer to win Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
Austin Hill, who dominated much of the race, went to block Noah Gragson with four of 113 laps remaining, which opened the door for Mayer to move into the lead.
On the final lap, Allmendinger looked like he would finish behind Mayer but got another run and cut to Mayer’s right as Mayer tried to block him. He clipped Mayer by 0.015 seconds at the finish line to earn his first career win on a superspeedway.
The win is his fourth of the 2022 season and his victory automatically sends him into the semifinal round of the playoffs regardless of how he finishes next weekend at the Charlotte Roval.
“Still hate it, still hate it,” Allmendinger said of superspeedway racing, “but, gosh, we’ve been so close to winning one and I feel like I keep giving them away. I thought I gave this away. I’m still learning what too big of a lead is.
“Honestly, all credit to Landon Cassill – he kept shoving me. He stuck with me. That’s what’s great about Kaulig Racing when you have teammates like Landon and Daniel (Hemric). No matter where you go, you know they’re going to go with you. It makes it a little bit easier.
“I just wanted to win on a superspeedway. I finally got it.”
Mayer ended up second, just short of his first series win. Cassill was third, Ryan Sieg fourth and Josh Berry completed the top-five.
Rounding out the top-10 were Parker Kligerman, Ty Gibbs, Hemric, Brandon Jones and Gragson.
Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, the lead-lap cars all pit with Trevor Bayne first off pit road. Mayer was penalized for speeding on pit road and had to restart from the rear of the field.
On the restart on Lap 56, Bayne was followed by Gragson, Jones and Gibbs.
With a push from Jones, Gragson cleared Bayne on the restart and moved into the lead for the first time in the race.
Allmendinger moved into the top spot on Lap 59 only to see Sieg get around him to move out front on Lap 60.
On Lap 68, the first group of cars elected to make their final green-flag pit stop to take on new tires and fuel to make it to the finish of the race.
Myatt Snider get spun around by Blaine Perkins while they were making their respective stops.
Once the cycle of stops was completed on Lap 81, Austin Hill re-emerged as the leader.
With 15 laps remaining, the front of the field remained single-file with Hill out front followed by Allmendinger and Gragson.
With four laps to go, Hill went to block Gragson which allowed Mayer to move into the lead.
Hill got a shove from Allmendinger to hold off Justin Allgaier and take the Stage 2 win.
Allmendinger finished third, Bayne fourth and Jeb Burton rounded out the top-five.
Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, most of the field pit with Hill first off pit road. He led the way on the restart on Lap 31.
Bayne quickly powered to the lead on the restart.
On Lap 41, Sheldon Creed emerged from a three-wide battle with the lead as Brandon Brown moved into second.
Hill powered back to the front on Lap 43.
Hill held off his teammate, Creed, to take the Stage 1 win.
Hemric was third, Jones was fourth and Bayne rounded out the top-five.
Hill started on the pole and led the way early until Gibbs spun on the backstretch after contact with Allgaier to bring out a caution on Lap 4.
The race returned to green on Lap 7 with Hill still out front. Allgaier quickly powered to the lead after the restart.
With a shove from Creed, Hill moved back to the lead on Lap 14.
With two laps remaining in the stage, Hill and Creed continued to lead the field.
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