Allgaier overcomes adversity at Darlington Raceway to end year-long winless drought
By: Hunter Thomas
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Justin Allgaier backed up a stellar runner-up Dover finish with a win in the Mahindra ROXOR 200 at Darlington Raceway on Saturday.
Allgaier, who pilot’s JR Motorsports’ No. 7 car has had a tough season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The veteran driver typically runs up front and finishes well, but so far this year, he has had many ups and downs. He hadn’t won a race since last year’s spring race at Darlington Raceway; however, his performance on Saturday lived up to the expectations.
Allgaier started from the rear due to a battery change at the start of Saturday’s race. The team didn’t let the adversity deter them, though. Allgaier made his way through the field to lead a race high of 76 laps. In the final laps, Allgaier held off teammate, Noah Gragson in a two-lap shootout to capture his 17th career series victory.
“This team right here, the pit stops were killing it,” Allgaier said. “They were awesome. Theis Hellmann’s Camaro was so fast. It’s just a testament to the 7 guys, but everyone at JR Motorsports, they’ve been working so hard. It has shown with our finishes, not just with our 7 team, but with all of us.”
Gragson, driver of the No. 9 Bass Pro Shops/True Timber/BRCC Chevrolet held on to finish second. Gragson had a strong afternoon, winning both, Stages 1 and 2. He led 45 laps as well. On the final restart, he lined up on the outside of the second row behind Allgaier. AJ Allmendinger who started on the inside of the front row quickly fell back and was overtaken by Gragson. Allgaier was in Gragson’s sights in the final two laps, but he just didn’t quite have enough speed to catch him.
“We just kept persevering,” Gragson said. “The Hendrick engines were awesome today, one-two finish for JR Motorsports. Thanks to everybody back at the Hendrick engine shop and JR Motorsports and everybody who makes this possible. What a day.”
Riley Herbst finished third on Saturday in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 98 Monster Energy Ford. The effort in the Mahindra ROXOR 200 is Herbst fourth top-five finish of the season. He finished Stage 1 in fifth and Stage 2 in 10th, so he had a solid points day at the track, Too Tough To Tame.
“We were pretty good the first stage,” Herbst said. “The second stage we were even better and then I messed up on the restart and spun the tires and finished the second stage in ninth or tenth. I was pretty bummed out about that and luckily we were able to get our track position back to kind of where we ran all day in the fourth or fifth spot and ended up third. Another top five and another top 10 is just what we need – consistency – and I think we’re doing a pretty good job.”
John Hunter Nemechek and Sam Mayer completed the top-five. Rounding out the top-10 was Landon Cassill, Brandon Jones, Allmendinger, Daniel Hemric and Austin Hill.
There were eight cautions for 33 laps. No cautions were for multi-car accidents.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will visit Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday May 21. The SRS Distribution 250 will broadcast live on FS1 and PRN at 1:30 p.m. ET.