Allgaier wins Xfinity Series race at Richmond

The veteran Justin Allgaier gave a master class in perseverance and fast cars Friday night, winning the Go Bowling 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Richmond Raceway. It was the 34-year old Allgaier’s first career win in 19 tries at the three-quarter mile track, and he finished .604-seconds ahead of a hard-charging 21-year-old Justin Haley.

The Xfinity Series all-time winningest driver, reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch finished third, 2.5-seconds behind Allgaier. The current Xfinity Series championship leader Austin Cindric won a stage and finished fourth – nearly eight-seconds behind the winner.

Polesitter Ross Chastain was fifth. Brett Moffitt, a NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series championship contender was sixth. Allgaier’s JR Motorsports teammates Michael Annett and Noah Gragson were seventh and eighth with Kaz Grala and rookie Riley Herbst rounding out the top-10. Annett’s finish has clinched him a spot in the playoffs on points.

Justin Allgaier, driver of the #7 BRANDT Chevrolet, and Chase Briscoe, driver of the #98 Ford, race  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Getting that second victory of 2020 goes a long way for Allgaier and his No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet team after an early season of heartbreak and inconsistency. So often he has shown up for a race and had something derail his winning chances. He led 156 laps – more than half the race – at Bristol earlier this season only to crash out and finish 18th. At Texas, he led 98 laps and settled for third. 

Finally, results are matching his efforts. Allgaier got his first win of the year at Dover five races ago, leading a race-best 120 of 200 laps. His 78 laps out front in his win Friday night at Richmond were also a race-best.

“I feel like we’ve had so many [wins] get away here, just haven’t been able to seal the deal and it’s been so frustrating,” said Allgaier, who has 13 career Xfinity Series wins. “But I’m proud of these guys and proud of the effort. The pit stops were amazing. Everybody at JR Motorsports, they built a fantastic Camaro.

“I’ve got to thank the man upstairs,” Allgaier continued, noting, “Tonight was definitely a push to the end but we just had the luck we needed. I say luck, but luck is opportunities meeting preparation. We were prepared and the opportunities came tonight.” 

Although disappointed not to win, Haley was encouraged after the race hoping he may have proven himself a short-track ace to those fans who consider him a speedway master only. He led 51 laps and his charge to the front was impressive by any standard.

His No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet fell back to 25th place after making not one, but two pit stops during the Stage 1 caution period. In 40 laps however, he’d rallied all the way up to fifth place. He took the lead on Lap 174 and was finally passed by Allgaier with 29 laps remaining.

“Allgaier was just a little better,” Haley said, adding with a smile, “I’m about tired of everyone on social media saying I can’t show up anywhere but superspeedways. So I finally showed up somewhere where talent matters.”

Justin Allgaier, driver of the #7 FilterTime Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Go Bowling 250  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Cindric earned his series-best 10th stage victory in Stage 1 with Allgaier leading the way in Stage 2 in what was a largely “clean” race – only five caution flags (three mandated by NASCAR for a competition caution and the two stage breaks) and no major incidents.

“If we had a caution we had an amazing short run car tonight, so I’m really proud of that effort to bring a fast PPG Ford Mustang in race one here,” said Cindric.

“Obviously, it will be hotter conditions tomorrow, so we definitely have to work on that side of things, but to be able to hold on to fourth like we did I was max tire-save most of the stint until about 40 to go and I’m lucky I held on to what I had, but, overall, like I said, we had speed we just have to maximize where we need it most.”

The Xfinity Series Playoffs begin in two weeks and the 12th and final transfer position remains up for grabs between a pair of privateer family-owned teams and drivers Brandon Brown and Jeremy Clements. Brown came into the race with a 45-point advantage and the two ran near each other much of the night.

Ultimately, Clements finished 17th and Brown was on his heels in 18th. Brown now holds a 43-point advantage as they reset for Saturday’s second Richmond race.

The Team Penske driver Cindric takes a 67-point championship advantage over Chase Briscoe, who finished 11th at Richmond.

Race Results

Fin Str No. Driver Team Laps Status Led
1 16 7 Justin Allgaier FilterTime Chevrolet 250 Running 78
2 10 11 Justin Haley LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet 250 Running 51
3 29 54 Kyle Busch(i) Starburst Duos Toyota 250 Running 0
4 7 22 Austin Cindric PPG Ford 250 Running 64
5 1 10 Ross Chastain Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevrolet 250 Running 39
6 20 2 Brett Moffitt(i) Robert B Our Inc Co Chevrolet 250 Running 0
7 9 1 Michael Annett Pilot Flying J Chevrolet 250 Running 0
8 4 9 Noah Gragson Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber Camo Chevrolet 250 Running 0
9 24 21 Kaz Grala Chevrolet 250 Running 0
10 8 18 Riley Herbst # Monster Energy Toyota 249 Running 0
11 5 98 Chase Briscoe Go Bowling Ford 249 Running 7
12 6 39 Ryan Sieg Chevrolet 249 Running 0
13 22 5 Matt Mills J.F. Electric Chevrolet 249 Running 0
14 2 19 Brandon Jones Menards/Inspire Toyota 249 Running 0
15 21 44 Tommy Joe Martins AAN Adjusters Chevrolet 249 Running 0
16 3 20 Harrison Burton # Morton Buildings/DEX Imaging Toyota 249 Running 11
17 19 51 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet 248 Running 0
18 13 68 Brandon Brown Original Larry’s Hard Lemonade Chevrolet 248 Running 0
19 23 8 Joe Graf Jr # Bucked Up Energy Chevrolet 248 Running 0
20 31 7 Joey Gase Donate Life Virginia Chevrolet 248 Running 0
21 26 74 Bayley Currey(i) Danny Dietz Tribute Chevrolet 248 Running 0
22 12 92 Josh Williams Alloy/Sleep Well Chevrolet 247 Running 0
23 15 36 Alex Labbe Larue/Rousseau Chevrolet 247 Running 0
24 17 0 Jeffrey Earnhardt Chevrolet 247 Running 0
25 14 4 Jesse Little # JD Motorsports Chevrolet 247 Running 0
26 36 47 Kyle Weatherman Honor And Sacrifice Chevrolet 247 Running 0
27 30 78 Mason Massey A-Z Companies Inc. Toyota 246 Running 0
28 33 52 Kody Vanderwal # The Rolling Home Show with Bill Malone Chevrolet 246 Running 0
29 32 6 BJ McLeod JD Motorsports Chevrolet 245 Running 0
30 34 99 Vinnie Miller Koolbox Toyota 242 Running 0
31 27 90 Dexter Bean Sleep Well/Alpha Prime Chevrolet 241 Running 0
32 28 8 Jeb Burton State Water Heaters Chevrolet 233 Running 0
33 18 15 Colby Howard Project Hope Foundation Chevrolet 220 Running 0
34 35 13 Stephen Leicht Toyota 88 Axle 0
35 11 93 Myatt Snider # Superior Essex Chevrolet 46 Accident 0
36 37 66 Timmy Hill(i) CRASHCLAIMSR.US Toyota 4 Vibration 0
37 25 61 Chad Finchum SMITHBILT HOMES Toyota 246 Running 0