Allmendinger wins wild Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Roval
A.J. Allmendinger returned to a NASCAR Victory Lane on Saturday for the first time in five years.
Allmendinger got a good jump on Austin Cindric on a restart with three of 67 laps remaining and easily held off Tyler Reddick to win Saturday’s Drive for the Cure 250 on the Charlotte Roval.
The win is the first in a NASCAR national series for Allmendinger since his lone Cup Series victory in 2014 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.). It’s the third Xfinity Series win of his career.
“Whooo! Damn, I’m tired – thank you everybody!” Allmendinger said after exiting his No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet. “I can’t thank Matt Kaulig enough, first of all. He put his belief in me, wanting me to come here and help build this team.
“I have to thank Tyler Reddick – he’s phenomenal. He told me when I got here I needed to get better on the road courses because he out-qualified me in every race lately and even beat me in a couple.
“I knew with him behind me, I could be defensive on the right-side and give myself an angle and Tyler wouldn’t shove down in there. I appreciate that. I tried to change the restarts up enough each time but you can only do so much. I knew once we got into clear air this thing was good. In traffic, it was a struggle.”
Cindric ended up third, Justin Allgaier was fourth and Noah Gragson – who started the race from the rear of the field in a backup car – ended up fifth.
Rounding out the top-10 were Alex Labbe, John Hunter Nemechek, Cole Custer, Chase Briscoe and Ryan Truex.
On Lap 48, Allmendinger went to the inside of Christopher Bell exiting Turn 8 and moved into the lead for the first time.
With 13 laps remaining in the race, Allmendinger had opened up an almost 2-second lead over Bell as Cindric ran third.
On Lap 55, Briscoe got around Cindric in Turn 10 to move into the third position.
Shortly after Briscoe and Bell ran side-by-side on the exit of the frontstretch chicane on Lap 58, Bell went off course. Then as the two raced into Turn 2, Bell spun Briscoe to bring out a caution.
Bell was penalized for missing the chicane and had to restart the race from the rear of the field. On the restart on Lap 61, Allmendinger remained in the lead followed by Cindric and Reddick.
Custer inherited the lead when several drivers elected to pit before the end of the stage and held off Briscoe to take the Stage 2 win.
Reddick finished third, Allgaier was fourth and Gragson completed the top-five.
Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, those drivers who had not yet pit did so, which allowed Custer to stay out and inherit the lead.
The race returned to green on Lap 25 with Custer out front followed by Bell, Harrison Burton, Allmendinger and Reddick.
Bell got around Custer in Turn 3 to take the lead for the first time in the race.
With 10 laps to go in the second stage, Bell held about a 1-second lead over Allmendinger with Custer running in third.
On Lap 32, both Nemechek and Preston Pardus drove through the frontstretch chicane and had to serve a stop-and-go penalty.
After 35 laps, Bell was able to expand his lead slightly on Allmendinger. Custer remained third, Cindric was fourth and Briscoe was fifth.
Cindric elected to pit on Lap 37 as did Truex and Will Rodgers. Burton pit on Lap 38 as well.
Both Bell and Allmendinger decided to pit on Lap 38, which turned the lead back over to Custer with two laps remaining.
Briscoe held off Cindric on his way to leading every lap and winning Stage 1.
Allgaier was third, Labbe fourth and Jeremy Clements completed the top-five.
Briscoe started on the pole and managed to keep the lead on the first lap despite a pile-up at the backstretch chicane.
Reddick missed both the backstretch and frontstretch chicane and had to serve penalties for both, which send him back to 22nd.
Caution was displayed on Lap 3 as David Starr’s No. 52 Chevrolet came to a stop on the track. The race returned to green on Lap 6 with Briscoe continuing to lead the way followed by Cindric and Custer.
Playoff contender Justin Haley had to take his No. 11 Chevrolet to the garage after suffering a broken sway-bar.
With 10 laps remaining in the first stage, Briscoe had built up about a 1-second lead over Cindric while Custer remained in third. Haley returned to the track after making repairs, but six laps down.
On Lap 16, Burton had to make a stop-and-go penalty on the track for blowing through the backstretch chicane. Allmendinger had to do the same one lap later.
Several drivers elected to pit on Lap 18 for new tires and fuel, including Bell, Reddick, Allmendinger and Rodgers.
|7||23||John Hunter Nemechek||Chevrolet||67||4.612|
|30||39||Ryan Sieg||Chevrolet||65||2 laps|
|31||11||Justin Haley||Chevrolet||61||6 laps|
|32||07||Ray Black Jr.||Chevrolet||60||7 laps|
|33||4||Garrett Smithley||Chevrolet||54||13 laps|
|34||52||David Starr||Chevrolet||28||39 laps|
|35||61||Tommy Joe||Toyota||26||41 laps|
|36||13||Chad Finchum||Toyota||26||41 laps|
|37||38||Bayley Currey||Chevrolet||10||57 laps|
|38||78||J.J. Yeley||Toyota||5||62 laps|
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