Justin Allgaier wins Xfinity race at Mid-Ohio

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Justin Allgaier passed Austin Cindric with four laps remaining in the Xfinity race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and held the advantage to win his third race of the season. This is the most wins in a season for Allgaier.

Allgaier survived an off track incident on lap 25 and a spin on lap 59 on his way to victory lane.

Custer and Allgaier provided the fireworks on lap 59.

“It was a frustrating day, to say the least,” Custer said in a press release. “Our Haas Automation Mustang was really good. I thought we were a second-place car. We probably could’ve kept up with the 22 (Austin Cindric). I have to apologize to Justin (Allgaier). It worked out for him, but I hit him in the wrong spot there and spun him around. That’s my fault and I’ll apologize. We’ll just move on to Bristol. I want to win. That’s what we want to do. It’s frustrating when things don’t go your way. I thought we were doing everything right, we just need everything to fall into place.”

After losing the lead to Allgaier, Cindric held off a battle from Daniel Hemric, who was also on fresher tires. Hemric finished third.

Matt Tifft and Ryan Truex rounded out the top five.

In only his third road course race in the Xfinity Series, Christopher Bell was well on his way to score his first top five on this track type until he was spun by Elliott Sadler on a lap-65 restart while racing for second. Bell fell to 28th and pitted during the next caution with eight laps remaining . He took four fresh tires and was able to climb back to 11th. Last week, Bell finished ninth at Watkin Glen.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

STAGE 2 WINNER: Austin Cindric (first stage win of 2018)

MORE: Complete Results
MORE: Points Standings

HOW JUSTIN ALLGAIER WON: After winning Stage 1, Allgaier was mired in traffic. On the restart, he attempted to go four-wide and ran off track, costing him track position. That allowed him to pit off-sequence with the leaders and with 20-lap fresher tires, he drove through the field and was able to get to Cindric’s back bumper with five laps remaining.

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Cindric failed to win, but he scored a career-best finish of second. His previous best was a fourth at Pocono in June. … After finishing 18th last week at Watkins Glen, Truex scored his first road course top 10 in his third start. … Alex Labbe in ninth scored his career best finish in his 24th race. … Spencer Gallagher started 20th and finished eighth for the greatest advancement in the field.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Dylan Murcott’s debut in the Xfinity series did not last long. Locking up his tires on lap 1, he drove off track and into the tire barrier. … Brandon Jones faded to eighth from his third-place starting position and spun in Turn 2. Another off course excursion on lap 34 contributed to a 23rd-place finish. … Chase Briscoe spun when the pack stacked up in front of him. He was tagged by Kaz Grala into the spin and lost his back bumper on lap 33 after contact with Cody Ware. … Tyler Reddick cut a tire after contact from behind from Matt Tifft on lap 60 and destroyed his right rear quarter panel. … With nine laps remaining, Katherine Legge lost an engine and retired. … Ross Chastain (16th) and Joey Gase (24th) got into a last lap incident. After the race, Gase told NBC’s Parker Kligerman that he could make it difficult for Chastain to make the playoffs.

NOTABLE: Strategy trumped raw speed on Saturday. Cindric led four times for 59 laps and was not passed for the lead under green until the closing minutes. Allgaier was forced into an alternate strategy by a series of incidents, including an off track excursion on lap 25 while battling for a top 15 position. Contact with Cole Custer on lap 59 while battling for fifth cost both multiple positions and encouraged Allgaier to pit on lap 62 while Cindric stayed out. Allgaier led eight laps.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “That call there at the end is what did it. Austin (Cindric) had the best car today and I thought we gave it away there. We were on the outside and got pushed off the race track, but was able to come back.” – Justin Allgaier in victory lane on NBCSN

WHAT’S NEXT: Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Aug. 17 on NBCSN

Jimmie Johnson to drive rookie paint scheme in Cup season finale

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Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports will end their 17-year relationship with Lowe’s in style.

When Johnson and the No. 48 team show up for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 18 on NBC), Johnson’s car will have his rookie year paint scheme from 2002.

Johnson follows Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth, who drove their rookie schemes in last year’s season finale.

The scheme will cap off a partnership that began with two Cup starts in 2001 before Johnson went full-time the next year.

In 2002, Johnson earned the first three wins of his career and sat on the pole for the Daytona 500. His first win came on April 28 at Auto Club Speedway.

With Lowe’s, Johnson has won seven championships and 83 races. Lowe’s announced in March it would not sponsor Johnson in 2019.

NASCAR America: Experience vs. Youth: Justin Allgaier battling Christopher Bell

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The Cup series has the Big 3. Xfinity has the Dynamic Duo.

As the Xfinity Series begins its playoffs Friday at Richmond Raceway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN), many experts believe two drivers have an easy path to Homestead. Justin Allgaier has scored five wins and 39 playoff points. Christopher Bell has 32 playoff points. The next closest driver is Elliott Sadler with 11.

Allgaier is mindful of the accomplishments that brought him to this position. He is having a career year and knows it.

“Up until last year I’d won maybe one race a year at the max,” Allgaier told NBCSN’s Marty Snider during Xfinity Media Day. “Last year we won two, which was spectacular, but to be able to win five races this year, to have the regular-season championship, to just be as successful as we’ve been this year is just amazing.”

But that does not make him a favorite in his mind. There are simply too many other drivers that can win. Too many variables.

“There’s so many competitors right now in this Xfinity Series that are just absolutely fantastic. I don’t know that we have a clear-cut favorite,” Allgaier said.

On Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America, Jeff Burton agreed.

“I think that (Allgaier’s) a favorite, but by a little bit, not a lot. … When I think about the Xfinity race from Richmond in the spring, Joe Gibbs Racing dominated it and it will be interesting to see, now as we go to more mile-and-halves … can Joe Gibbs Racing and Christopher Bell … get their rhythm back.”

Kyle Petty also puts Bell in the battle.

“This kid’s confident,” Petty said. “He shows confidence in every turn of the wheel. Everything he does. … and he shows great maturity.

“We’ve got youth and exuberance in Christopher Bell. We’ve got experience and maturity in Justin Allgaier and this is a battle. And it’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out.”

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

NASCAR America: Elliott Sadler wants to shed the bridesmaid role

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Elliott Sadler is the Mark Martin of the Xfinity Series, according to NASCAR America’s Kyle Petty.

“He’s been so close … so often. He’s almost like the Mark Martin of this series. Mark finished second so many times in the (Cup) championship.”

Martin finished second in the Cup standings five times without winning a championship. Sadler has finished second four times in the Xfinity Series and has not been worse than sixth since rejoining it fulltime in 2011.

Sadler knows the burning question is how he can shed the bridesmaid role. He also has a firm grip on what that is going to take.

“Justin (Allgaier) and Christopher (Bell) have pretty much told us you’re gonna have to win to advance,” Sadler told Marty Snider at Tuesday’s Xfinity Media Day. “They have been extremely fast – especially here lately. They’ve got nine wins between them.”

And with those nine wins, the playoff bonus points that ease their way to the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

To join them in Miami, Sadler has to keep from getting swept into the temptation to make something happen that the handling of the car will not support.

“As a driver, you’ve got to understand not to get too high and not to get too low – to try and stay even tempered because the intensity is definitely ramped up and you can get yourself in trouble here real quick and the next thing you know you’re digging yourself out of a hole,” Sadler said.

Petty agrees. While Sadler’s lack of a championship does not detract from his career any more than it did Martin’s, earning that elusive honor is going to be tough for the very reasons Sadler identified.

“He’s probably mentally in a better place this year, but he’s going up against a couple of guys in Christopher Bell and Justin Allgaier … that he believes are already in Homestead,” Petty said. “He’s going up against guys that are having career years.”

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

NASCAR America Scan All: ‘Three in a row at Vegas. Cha-ching, baby’

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In NASCAR, drivers have to be both lucky and good – something that Kyle Busch and Adam Stevens learned at Las Vegas.

After spinning on Lap 233 while running 18th, Kyle Busch was lucky that his splitter did not get torn off the car. Unfortunately, the right front tire went down in that incident.

“It’s not going to stay together,” Busch said as he limped around the track back to the pits. “We’re gonna [expletive] go a lap down.”

“There’s nobody one lap down here, so we can afford to go one down,” Stevens replied.

Their luck held. On Lap 247, teammate Denny Hamlin spun into the grass at almost the exact spot, but his splitter dug into the grass and was ripped from the car.

“We’ll be the Lucky Dog here,” Stevens told Busch over the radio. “We have a set of stickers left. I don’t think hardly anybody on the lead lap has a set of stickers.”

With fresh tires, Busch charged up to seventh.

Here are some of this week’s highlights from Scan All:

  • “Championship run starts now. We’ve got a good car; something we can win with today. Give ourselves a good shot in Miami.” – Joey Logano
  • “I am a [expletive] 10 tight. I don’t know what we’re doing to this thing, but we might as well [expletive] start over.” – Kyle Busch
  • “Listen to me. I know it’s frustrating, but we are right in the middle of this thing.” – Jeremy Bullins, Ryan Blaney’s crew chief said after Blaney and Aric Almirola made contact on the track
  • “I know. I’ll calm down.” – Blaney
  • “No you won’t, but it’s ok. I still love you.” – Bullins
  • “It don’t matter if I speed, slide into the box. It don’t [expletive] matter. We’re going to get our [expletive] kicked when we get to the pit box.” – Austin Dillon
  • “Hey. Listen here. These guys know they were slow, ok? They know. We’re talking about it.” – Danny Stockman, Dillon’s crew chief
  • “I love everybody on this team, but we’re not going to have a shot doing this.” – Dillon
  • “Guess we know what’s wrong. Piece of [expletive] tires.” – Kevin Harvick
  • “If we could have had the lead, we’d of been fine. I just got to wait for it to come to me.” – Martin Truex Jr.
  • “Three in a row at Vegas. Cha-ching, baby.” – Brad Keselowski’s spotter

For more, watch the video above.

(Editor’s Note: Danny Stockman was the crew chief for Austin Dillon this week instead of Justin Alexander. We regret the error.)

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter