Allmendinger wins chaotic, soaked Xfinity race at Charlotte Roval
A.J. Allmendinger was no fan of NASCAR electing to race in pouring rain on Saturday, but he made the best of it – with a trip to Victory Lane.
Chase Briscoe led the way on the start of a two-lap overtime but spun going into Turn 1, which allowed Allmendinger to move into the lead.
He then spent the final 1½ laps on the 2.28-mile, 17-turn Charlotte Roval course holding off a spirited challenge from Noah Gragson to win the Xfinity Series race at Charlotte for the second consecutive season.
The win is Allmendinger’s second win of the season and fifth of his career.
The race featured 10 cautions, a nearly 39-minute red-flag for standing water on the track and was run nearly entirely in the rain.
Early in the race, with standing water on the track, Allmendinger repeatedly complained to his team over the radio that NASCAR should be stopping the race.
“I don’t know what we just witnessed,” Allmendinger said. “Chris Rice (crew chief) stuck with me, I’m not going to lie, I was complaining the whole race. That was miserable, crazy.
“Chase Briscoe was doing a fantastic job. I didn’t really have anything for him after a couple laps but I knew that final restart, I was going to do whatever I could.
“IMSA has headlights, so it’s not as bad. But in the infield, with no lights in there, and the world’s biggest jumbotron blaring in, you couldn’t see anything. I was just guessing where the corners were, just praying that when you hit the puddle, you don’t go sliding off the race track.”
Daniel Hemric finished third, Alex Labbe was fourth and Ross Chastain rounded out the top-five. Completing the top-10 were Austin Cindric, Cody Ware, Jade Buford, Michael Annett and Brandon Jones.
Briscoe ended up 18th.
“The driver just made a mistake,” Briscoe said. “With conditions like these, you need to be 100 percent and I tried to go 110 and it bit me. I felt like I did my job for about 95 percent of the day right.
“I just hit a puddle and it spun me out.”
Four drivers were eliminated from further competition in the Xfinity Series playoffs following the race – Harrison Burton, Brandon Brown, Riley Herbst and Annett.
Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, a handful of teams elected to pit but Briscoe remained on the track and in the lead when the race returned to green on Lap 43.
Gragson wrecked between Turns 1 and 2 but the race stayed under green.
On Lap 45, Allmendinger moved into the fifth position as the track remained under rain conditions.
With 20 laps to go and track conditions getting darker, Briscoe had built a more than 2-second lead over Chastain as Labbe spun in Turn 4.
Jesse Little stalled on the track on Lap 49 which forced NASCAR to place the race under yellow again and daylight running out.
Chastain decided to pit from the second position to take on enough gas to make it to the finish of the race. Briscoe remained on the track and in the lead on the restart on Lap
Allmendinger got around Briscoe through Turn 5 to retake the lead as Snider moved into second. Coming off Turn 17, Myatt Snider got loose which allowed Briscoe to move back into second.
On Lap 56, Briscoe ran down Allmendinger on the backstretch and got around him in the backstretch chicane to retake the lead.
With 10 laps remaining, the rain had lightened up quite a bit and Briscoe maintained about a 1-second lead over Allmendinger as Hemric ran third.
On Lap 60, C.J. McLaughlin spun in Turn 1 and while he was trying to get back on track, he nearly collided with race leader Briscoe as the race was placed under caution again.
The race returned to green on Lap 62 with Briscoe out front followed by Allmendinger and Hemric.
In Turns 3 and 4, Allemdinger and Briscoe went side-by-side for the lead with Allmendinger again retaking the top spot. With four laps remaining, Briscoe got around Allmendinger in Turn 5 to reclaim the lead. Gragson moved into third.
Brown wrecked on Lap 64 to force another caution. The rain also picked up as the infield part of the track appeared very dark. The race returned to green with Briscoe still in command heading into overtime.
Briscoe held off Chastain in a one-lap dash to claim the Stage 2 victory in the rain, his 10th stage victory of the 2020 season.
Labbe was third, Cindric was fourth and Gragson rounded out the top-five.
Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, many lead-lap cars pit but Kaz Grala stayed out and continued to lead the way on the restart on Lap 24.
Gragson got around Grala through Turn 1 on the restart to reclaim the top spot.
On Lap 24, both Grala and Brown missed the frontstretch chicane which allowed Herbst to move into second.
At the start of Lap 26 and the race still run in pouring rain, Herbst got into Gragson in Turn 2 and knocked him off course which eventually forced NASCAR to display a caution.
On Lap 31, NASCAR finally displayed a red flag because there was too much standing water on the track. Following a nearly 39-minute delay, NASCAR placed the race back on yellow even though it was still raining.
On the restart on Lap 34, Herbst remained out front followed by Josh Williams and Allmendinger.
Coming off Turn 2 on the restart, Justin Allgaier and Herbst wrecked while racing for the lead in an incident that also collected Justin Haley, Preston Pardus and Annett. Allmendinger inherited the lead as the caution was displayed again.
The race returned to green on Lap 37 with Allmendinger out front followed by Briscoe and Chastain.
Briscoe grabbed the lead through Turn 1 on the restart as Williams hit the wall but was eventually able to continue on without a caution.
On Lap 37, NASCAR was forced to throw a caution for Burton, who was stopped on the track in Turn 4 with a clutch problem.
The race returned to green with one lap remaining in the stage and Briscoe in the lead.
Grala got around Gragson in the infield course on the final lap and took the Stage 1 victory, his first stage victory of the season.
Labbe finished third, Haley was fourth and Allgaier rounded out the top-five.
Gragson, who started on the pole, led the first lap before Brett Moffitt wrecked off Turn 4 on Lap 2 to bring out the first caution of the race.
Before the race returned to green, light rain began coming down around the speedway and NASCAR gave teams the opportunity to change to wet tires under the caution.
The race returned to green on Lap 7 with Haley in the lead.
Gragson quickly got around Haley and Chastain to reclaim the lead following the restart.
Briscoe spun off the exit of Turn 4 on Lap 11 but was able to restart and continue on without a caution. He was running fifth at the time and dropped to 13th by the time he recovered.
On Lap 14, Gragson spun out in the rain, as did Kyle Weatherman.
NASCAR put out the caution as multiple cars ran off track on Lap 15, including Ryan Vargas, Chastain and McLaughlin.
|25||5||Matt Mills||Chevrolet||67||2:44'14.307||1 Lap||1 Lap|
|26||68||Brandon Brown||Chevrolet||63||2:31'49.240||5 Laps||4 Laps|
|27||44||Tommy Joe Martins||Chevrolet||63||2:43'48.087||5 Laps||11'58.847|
|28||74||Gray Gaulding||Chevrolet||60||2:28'41.038||8 Laps||3 Laps|
|29||99||CJ Mclaughlin||Toyota||54||2:44'00.913||14 Laps||6 Laps|
|30||15||Jesse Little||Chevrolet||48||2:05'02.511||20 Laps||6 Laps|
|31||21||Kaz Grala||Chevrolet||44||1:54'33.555||24 Laps||4 Laps||3|
|32||90||Preston Pardus||Chevrolet||41||1:49'08.742||27 Laps||3 Laps|
|33||20||Harrison Burton||Toyota||37||1:40'06.040||31 Laps||4 Laps|
|34||92||Josh Williams||Chevrolet||36||1:34'25.055||32 Laps||1 Lap|
|35||11||Justin Haley||Chevrolet||34||1:32'13.024||34 Laps||2 Laps||7|
|36||61||Austin Hill||Toyota||13||26'57.649||55 Laps||21 Laps|
|37||47||Kyle Weatherman||Chevrolet||13||28'51.660||55 Laps||1'54.011|
|38||02||Brett Moffitt||Chevrolet||2||4'34.493||66 Laps||11 Laps|
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