Justin Allgaier holds off Truex for Atlanta Xfinity win
Justin Allgaier’s fended off the fastest car in the race just long enough to claim his first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory of the 2021 season.
Allgaier had to hold off veteran Martin Truex Jr. – who had dominated most of the race – over the final 11 laps but held on to win Saturday’s EchoPark 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
It had been a tough start to the season for Allgaier, who had wrecked out of a pair of races and only collected his first top-10 finish last weekend at Phoenix.
The win all-but locks Allgaier into this year’s playoffs, basically giving him a reboot to his season.
Once his exited his JR Motorsports No. 7 Chevrolet, Allgaier immediately dedicated the win to William “Rowdy” Harrell, a well-known Hendrick Motorsports and JRM crew member who tragically died in an automobile accident last November.
Allgaier said he was well aware he was going to have to hold off Truex – who got shuffled to the rear of the field late in the race due to a pit road speeding penalty – to have a shot at the win.
“I knew Martin was going to be coming at the end of the race there. I didn’t know if I needed to do anything different. I didn’t know if there were any options that I needed to change my line (around the track),” Allgaier said.
“It’s really special. We’ve not been to Victory Lane since we lost Rowdy. It’s been an emotional time as much as anything. We put ourselves in the right spot and ultimately it worked out for us.
“This sport is so humbling. It’s so hard to get to Victory Lane. This team does an incredible job. We have not fired off at the beginning of the season like we wanted to.
“The effort really has been great; pit stops have been fantastic.”
While Allgaier was celebrating his win with a burnout on the frontstretch, drivers Noah Gragson and Daniel Hemric got into a fight on pit road over an incident that happened earlier in the race during pit stops.
Harrison Burton finished third, Gragson fourth and A.J. Allmendinger rounded out the top-five.
Completing the top-10 were Riley Herbst, Michael Annett, Justin Haley, Hemric and Ryan Sieg.
Saturday’s race was also the qualifier for the four drivers who will compete for the $100,000 Dash4Cash bonus in three weeks at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. They are Allgaier, Harrison Burton, Gragson and Allmendinger.
Following the break between Stages 2 Truex continued to lead the field with Allgaier running second and Harrison Burton third.
With 60 laps to go in the race, Truex held a 1.3-second lead over Allgaier. Harrison Burton was third, Haley fourth and Jeremy Clements remained fifth.
On Lap 113, Mason Massey spun off Turn 2 and down the backstretch to bring out a caution. The lead-lap cars all pit with Truex the first off pit road.
Truex was penalized for speeding during his stop and Hemric was penalized for having a crew member over the wall too soon, requiring both to restart from the rear of the field.
On the restart on Lap 118, Allgaier led the way followed by Harrison Burton, Clements, Herbst and Haley. Truex restarted 23rd.
As the field raced into Turn 1, Clements appeared slow on the restart and made contact with Jeb Burton, doing considerable damage to both cars and placing the race back under caution.
When the race returned to green with 40 laps remaining, Allgaier led the way followed by Harrison Burton and Herbst. Truex lined up 19th.
With 36 laps remaining, Truex had already made his way back into the top-five. With 33 to go, Gragson got around Truex to claim a spot in the top-five.
On Lap 132, Sieg got into Josh Berry, sending Berry’s No. 8 Chevrolet into the frontstretch grass, which ripped apart the part of Berry’s car.
Most lead-lap cars pit but Colby Howard and Jesse Little stayed on the track. When the race returned to green on Lap 138, Allgaier quickly moved into the lead.
With 20 laps remaining, Allgaier maintained a small lead over Harrison Burton as Truex had rebounded to third and Gragson ran fourth.
Truex got around Harrison Burton on Lap 152 to move into the second spot, just under a second behind Allgaier.
Truex held off Allgaier to complete a sweep of the race’s first two stages.
Haley was third, Harrison Burton fourth and Clements rounded out the top-five.
Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, most of the lead-lap cars elected to pit with Truex the first off pit road.
Brandon Jones was penalized two laps for having too many men over the wall while under the damaged vehicle policy and Clements was penalized for removing equipment during his stop. Landon Cassill and Berry were also penalized for improper fueling.
The race returned to green on Lap 51 with Brown in the lead – he stayed out – followed by Myatt Snider, Sieg, Tommy Joe Martins and Truex.
Truex, on new tires, quickly powered back to the lead by Turn 3 after the restart.
With 20 laps to go in the second stage, Truex built up a more than 1-second lead over Snider as Haley ran third and Harrison Burton fourth.
Truex captured the Stage 1 win under caution as several cars wrecked in Turn 3 during the one-lap dash to the end of the 40-lap segment,
Harrison Burton ended up second, Allgaier third, Haley fourth and Annett rounded out the top-five.
Among the cars suffering damage on the last-lap incident were Allmendinger, Austin Cindric, Gragson, Brandon Jones and Brett Moffitt.
Cindric, who started on the pole, led the first six laps until Truex got around him to take the lead for the first time in the race.
On Lap 21, NASCAR displayed a competition caution to allow teams to check tire wear. The lead-lap cars remained on the track.
When the race returned to green on Lap 25, Truex led the way followed by Harrison Burton, Moffitt, Haley and Cindric.
With 10 laps remaining in the first stage, Truex maintained a small but steady lead over Harrison Burton with Moffitt running third.
Dexter Bean spun off Turn 1 and down the backstretch to bring out the first caution of the race. A handful of cars elected to pit but Truex and others remained on the track. When the race returned to green on Lap 40.
Allmendinger had to start the race from the rear of the field after his No. 16 Chevrolet suffered multiple failures in pre-race inspection.
|2||54||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||163||2:10'51.533||1.449||1.449||103|
|18||44||Tommy Joe Martins||Chevrolet||163||2:11'14.849||24.765||2.185|
|22||78||Jesse Little||Chevrolet||162||2:10'55.134||1 Lap||1 Lap|
|23||17||Cody Ware||Chevrolet||162||2:11'02.267||1 Lap||7.133|
|24||74||Bayley Currey||Chevrolet||162||2:11'13.861||1 Lap||11.594|
|25||10||Jeb Burton||Chevrolet||162||2:11'50.091||1 Lap||36.230|
|26||48||Jade Buford||Chevrolet||161||2:10'54.258||2 Laps||1 Lap|
|27||61||David Starr||Toyota||161||2:11'02.486||2 Laps||8.228|
|28||47||Kyle Weatherman||Chevrolet||161||2:11'22.492||2 Laps||20.006|
|29||07||Joe Jr.||Chevrolet||161||2:11'22.821||2 Laps||0.329|
|30||23||Blaine Perkins||Chevrolet||160||2:10'51.874||3 Laps||1 Lap|
|31||6||Ryan Vargas||Chevrolet||160||2:10'53.084||3 Laps||1.210|
|32||99||Mason Massey||Toyota||160||2:10'59.756||3 Laps||6.672|
|33||68||Brandon Brown||Chevrolet||160||2:11'08.504||3 Laps||8.748||4|
|34||5||Matt Mills||Chevrolet||156||2:11'01.383||7 Laps||4 Laps|
|35||90||Dexter Bean||Chevrolet||156||2:11'23.814||7 Laps||22.431|
|36||52||Gray Gaulding||Chevrolet||150||2:11'03.451||13 Laps||6 Laps|
|37||19||Brandon Jones||Toyota||132||2:11'04.165||31 Laps||18 Laps|
|38||8||Josh Berry||Chevrolet||130||1:47'19.234||33 Laps||2 Laps|
|39||13||Chad Finchum||Toyota||59||50'49.378||104 Laps||71 Laps|
|40||02||Brett Moffitt||Chevrolet||39||28'41.506||124 Laps||20 Laps|
Austin Cindric takes Phoenix Xfinity win after wild restart
Gragson, Hemric collide on pit road and then fight post-race