In a sense, Justin Allgaier earned three victories in Saturday’s DC Solar 200 Xfinity Series race at Phoenix Raceway.
First was Allgaier taking the checkered flag, his fourth career Xfinity Series win and his first since August 2012 at Montreal, snapping an 80-race winless streak. It was also the first career Xfinity win for JR Motorsports at Phoenix.
Second, the Illinois native also earned an automatic berth in this season’s Xfinity Series playoffs.
Third – and perhaps the best part of all for Allgaier and his JR Motorsports team – was winning $100,000 in the first of four Dash 4 Cash races this season in the Xfinity Series.
“I knew it was going to come down to a short run at the end,”said Allgaier, who jumped ahead of the pack with four laps to go on the final restart. “I knew we had the car and just needed a good restart and we got that.”
If Allgaier goes on to win the other three Dash 4 Cash races this season, the spring events at Bristol, Richmond and Dover, Allgaier has the potential to earn $1 million in total.
Also of note:
* Erik Jones led 51 of the first 60 laps to win Stage 1. William Byron (finished third) and Elliott Sadler (fifth) advanced into Dash 4 Cash eligibility for the final stage of the race (Laps 121-200).
* Ryan Blaney won Stage 2 (Laps 61-120), while Allgaier finished second and Tyler Reddick sixth, earning the other two Dash 4 Cash positions for the final stage.
WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: In only his fourth career Xfinity race, rookie William Byron not only won the pole but also finished a very strong fourth. Byron now has three top-10 finishes in his first four starts (ninth at Daytona, seventh at Atlanta and 14th at Las Vegas).
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Defending Xfinity Series champ Daniel Suarez (finished 39th) saw his day end early, blowing a tire after making contact with Jeremy Clements and wrecking on Lap 11. … Joey Gase lost a tire on Lap 151, but things got worse when his car caught fire. Gase, who finished 35th, was uninjured. … With 11 laps left, Austin Dillon was running in sixth place when he was clipped by Cole Custer, spun and collected Ryan Sieg. Dillon finished 33rd while Sieg ended up 34th. The ninth caution of the race resulted in a red flag period to clean up oil in Turns 1 and 2.
NOTABLE: Austin Dillon and crew chief Justin Alexander were called to the NASCAR trailer after the race due to the apparent retaliation of Dillon intentionally running into Custer’s Ford during the caution period after his wreck with Sieg. On his way to the NASCAR hauler, Dillon was asked by Fox what he expected to happen. “I don’t think it’ll be that bad,” Dillon said. “We’ll probably just have a Coke, discuss things and it’ll be all good.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “To finish first, first you must finish. We’ve gotten the first finish out of the way. We’ve got three more to do.” – Race winner Justin Allgaier on winning not only Saturday’s race but also the first of four Dash 4 Cash events in 2017.
WHAT’S NEXT: NXS 300, March 25, Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, California.