Allmendinger slogs way to Roval Xfinity win

AJ Allmendinger slogged his way to his second NASCAR Xfinity victory of the season in a soggy, messy, carnage-filled race on the infield road course at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday in the final race of the Round of 12 for the Xfinity Series playoffs.

Allmendinger passed race leader Chase Briscoe at the start of a green-white-checkered overtime finish and held on to beat out Noah Gragson and Daniel Hemric to the finish.

It was the end of a miserable experience for Allmendinger and nearly all the 12 drivers vying for a chance to move on to the next round of the playoffs.

“I was complaining the whole race,” Allmendinger said. “That was miserable.

“I don’t know what we just witnessed. Crazy. The 98 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 everything I could.”

Austin Cindric, driver of the #22 Wurth Ford, drives in the rain during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Alex Labbe, Ross Chastain and Austin Cindric rounded out the top five. Briscoe came home 18th but still held onto the top seed for the next round of the playoffs, followed by Gragson, Cindric, Brandon Jones, Justin Haley, Chastain, Ryan Sieg and Justin Allgaier.

Charlotte Motor Speedway’s first try racing in the rain was one of the most interesting NASCAR races in recent memory. With heavy rain in the area from the remnants of Hurricane Delta, the skies opened up just before the start of the green flag and had completely drenched the track by the time the field had completed the first stage.

Stephen Leicht, driver of the #13 JANIKING Toyota, and Michael Annett, driver of the #1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet, race in the rain. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

The deluge prompted NASCAR to throw the red flag t try and clear the puddles of standing water from the track – an attempt that ultimate proved futile as the rain continued to fall through the course of the race.

The wet conditions wreaked havoc on the field, which struggled even with rain tires – which were never intended to compete in such conditions – yet NASCAR let the race continue.

The official tally of 10 caution flags form 24 laps doesn’t do the carnage justice, as cars were seen hydroplaning and getting sideways even in the straightaway’s and cars that wound up sliding in the grass tossed up torrents of water that looked like ships plowing through a hurricane.

Chase Briscoe, driver of the #98 Ford Performance Racing School Ford, and AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #16 Ellsworth Advisors Chevrolet, battle in the rain (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

“It’s nothing like I’ve ever done before,” said Hemric, who came home third. “I’m going to sit back with a cold one and watch [the NASCAR Cup Series race at the ROVAL] tomorrow.”

Playoff contenders Riley Herbst and Noah Gragson tangled near the end of the first stage, continuing a rivalry that dates back to July at Texas Motor Speedway. Gragson was able to recover and eventually finished runner-up while Herbst finished 12 and was eliminated from the playoffs.

Playoff contender Harrison Burton blew a chicane late in the opening stage and missed out on a top-ten stage finish, and later dropped out with mechanical issues, as did fellow playoff contender Brandon Brown, who went off track to bring out the final caution flag.

Burton finished 33rd, while Brown ended the day in 26th. Both were eliminated along with Herbst and Michael Annett.

AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #16 Ellsworth Advisors Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Drive for the Cure 250. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Point’s leader Chase Briscoe led a race-high 23 laps and spent the entire second half of the race fighting Allmendinger for the top spot.

Following a caution flag on lap 65, Briscoe led the field to the green flag for the first attempt at a green-white-checkered but spun out coming off turn one, handing the lead to Allmendinger who led the next three laps for the win.

“Driver just made a mistake,” said Briscoe, who finished 18th. “In conditions like this you’ve got to be at 100 percent and I tried going 110 and it bit me. Very unfortunate. That one’s going to sting for a long time. I feel like I did my job for about 95 percent of the day, right.”


Fin Str No. Driver Team Laps Status Led
1 22 16 AJ Allmendinger Ellsworth Advisors Chevrolet 68 Running 12
2 1 9 Noah Gragson (P) Lionel Racing Chevrolet 68 Running 16
3 3 8 Daniel Hemric OnDeck Capital Chevrolet 68 Running 0
4 16 36 Alex Labbe Can-Am Chevrolet 68 Running 0
5 5 10 Ross Chastain (P) Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevrolet 68 Running 0
6 11 22 Austin Cindric (P) Wurth Ford 68 Running 0
7 38 17 Cody Ware Jacob Construction Ford 68 Running 0
8 24 7 Jade Buford Big Machine Distillery Chevrolet 68 Running 0
9 14 1 Michael Annett (P) Pilot Flying J Chevrolet 68 Running 0
10 4 19 Brandon Jones (P) Toyota Service Centers Toyota 68 Running 0
11 26 0 Jeffrey Earnhardt Contec Inc Chevrolet 68 Running 0
12 13 18 Riley Herbst # (P) Monster Energy Toyota 68 Running 7
13 32 78 Josh Bilicki Insurance King Toyota 68 Running 0
14 21 93 Myatt Snider # The Original Louisiana Hot Sauce Chevrolet 68 Running 0
15 31 8 Joe Graf Jr # Watchonista Chevrolet 68 Running 0
16 18 51 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet 68 Running 0
17 25 6 Ryan Vargas TikTok Chevrolet 68 Running 0
18 8 98 Chase Briscoe (P) Ford Performance Racing School Ford 68 Running 23
19 20 66 Timmy Hill(i) LEITHCARS.COM Toyota 68 Running 0
20 34 52 Kody Vanderwal # Space Shuttle Inn Chevrolet 68 Running 0
21 6 39 Ryan Sieg (P) Chevrolet 68 Running 0
22 29 4 BJ McLeod Swenson Chevrolet 68 Running 0
23 10 7 Justin Allgaier (P) BRANDT Chevrolet 68 Running 0
24 28 13 Stephen Leicht JANIKING Toyota 68 Running 0
25 23 5 Matt Mills Thompson Electric Toyota 67 Running 0
26 7 68 Brandon Brown (P) Ray’s Siding Co. Chevrolet 63 Accident 0
27 17 44 Tommy Joe Martins AAN Adjusters Chevrolet 63 Running 0
28 33 74 Gray Gaulding(i) Chevrolet 60 Electrical 0
29 36 99 CJ McLaughlin Hyundai Material Handling Chevrolet 54 Running 0
30 37 15 Jesse Little # Tufco Flooring Chevrolet 48 Engine 0
31 12 21 Kaz Grala Chevrolet 44 Suspension 3
32 30 90 Preston Pardus Chinchor Electric/Danus Chevrolet 41 Ignition 0
33 9 20 Harrison Burton # (P) Dex Imaging Toyota 37 Transmission 0
34 15 92 Josh Williams General Farmulations/Star Tron Chevrolet 36 Accident 0
35 2 11 Justin Haley (P) LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet 34 Accident 7
36 27 61 Austin Hill(i) AISIN AW Toyota 13 Accident 0
37 35 47 Kyle Weatherman Thin Gold Line Solutions Chevrolet 13 Accident 0
38 19 2 Brett Moffitt(i) Robert B. Our Co.  Inc. Chevrolet 2 Accident 0