COTA Xfinity race: AJ Allmendinger gets first win of season


AJ Allmendinger again lived up to his reputation on road courses Saturday afternoon at Circuit of the Americas.

The Kaulig Racing driver scored his first NASCAR Xfinity Series win of the season, leading a race-high 27 of 46 laps around the 3.41-mile circuit in Austin, Texas.

MORE: COTA Xfinity race results, driver points

It’s also his seventh career Xfinity road course victory, extending his own series record.

“I was hard on myself yesterday – I was not happy with where I put ourselves, the setup that I made for us,” Allmendinger told Fox Sports after the race. “…All these men and women here at Kaulig Racing, between the Cup side of it and the Xfinity side of it, they don’t sleep during the week, they’re busting their tails.

“That’s why I’m so frickin’ hard on myself sometimes because they deserve to win more than anybody here and I just want to do it for them, so thankfully, we got one done today.”

Xfinity rookie Austin Hill earned his second consecutive runner-up finish in as many weeks.

He has now earned three top-two finishes in six races for Richard Childress Racing this season, including his season-opening win at Daytona International Speedway.

“I guess AJ was just a little bit better than I was because I felt like we had a really good car,” Hill told Fox Sports. “There were certain spots that I thought he was a little better than us.

“It just shows we can run with AJ (on road courses). Maybe make the car just a little better and I think personally, as a driver, I need to work on a few things.”

Cup regular Cole Custer finished third, followed by JR Motorsports teammates Noah Gragson and Sam Mayer in fourth and fifth, respectively.

As the top four finishers among Xfinity regulars Saturday, Allmendinger, Hill, Gragson and Mayer are the eligible drivers for next week’s Dash 4 Cash opener at Richmond Raceway.

The top finisher among them at Richmond will earn a $100,000 bonus.

STAGE 1 WINNER: AJ Allmendinger


WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Custer was caught speeding on pit road near the end of Stage 2, but rallied to finish third in the same car he took to victory earlier this season at Auto Club Speedway.Myatt Snider‘s sixth-place finish is his first top-10 result with new team Jordan Anderson Racing.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Cup regular Ross Chastain, driving for DGM Racing, led 14 laps Saturday and restarted second with six laps to go in the race but was spun around in the rush to Turn 1. He went on to finish 17th … Cup regular Bubba Wallace had a potential top-five run going until transmission issues struck his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in Stage 2. He finished 28th.

NOTABLE: Before Allmendinger’s win Saturday, the Stage 1 winner had failed to win the previous 15 races. That is the longest streak ever since the inception of stage racing.

NEXT: Richmond Raceway – Saturday, Apr. 2, 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1

COTA Xfinity starting lineup: AJ Allmendinger takes pole


AJ Allmendinger, who won this race a year ago, will start on the pole for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Circuit of the Americas.

Allmendinger earned the pole with a lap of 92.173 mph Friday on the 20-turn, 3.41-mile road course.

MORE: COTA Xfinity starting lineup

He will be joined on the front row Sammy Smith (91.827 mph).
Ty Gibbs (91.665) will start third. Sheldon Creed (91.652) qualified fourth. Parker Kligerman (91.195) will start fifth.

Cup driver William Byron will start ninth. Byron’s time was disallowed for cutting the esses. Cole Custer, who will start 10th, didn’t make a lap in the final round of qualifying.

Cup driver Aric Almirola (91.269) qualified 13th. Truck Series racer Carson Hocevar (90.669) will start 17th. Alex Labbe (90.476) will start 23rd. He’s filling in for Josh Williams, who is serving a one-race suspension for parking his car at the start/finish line of last weekend’s race at Atlanta.

COTA Truck starting lineup: Ross Chastain wins pole


Ross Chastain will start on the pole for Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at Circuit of the Americas.

Chastain earned the top starting spot in Friday’s qualifying with a lap of 91.877 mph. He’ll be joined on the front row by Kyle Busch (91.490 mph).

More: COTA Truck starting lineup

Ty Majeski qualified third with a lap of 91.225 mph. Rookie Nick Sanchez (90.993) will start fourth, and Christian Eckes (90.937) will complete the top five.

Alex Bowman failed to make the race. Bowman had a flat right front on his qualifying lap.

Tyler Reddick leads Cup practice at COTA


Tyler Reddick posted the fastest lap in Friday’s Cup practice at Circuit of the Americas.

Reddick, who won two road course races last season, topped the field in his 23XI Racing Toyota with a lap of 92.989 mph. Kyle Larson was next, posting a lap of 92.618 mph around the 3.41-mile road course.

MORE: COTA Cup practice results

Ross Chastain, who won this race a year ago, was third on the speed chart in practice with a lap of 92.520 mph. He was followed by Kyle Busch (92.498 mph) and Daniel Suarez (92.461 mph).

Jordan Taylor, subbing for the injured Chase Elliott in the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports, was 10th on the speed chart in practice after a lap of 92.404 mph.

Former world champion Jenson Button, driving for Rick Ware Racing, was 28th in practice with a lap of 91.759 mph. Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen, driving the Project 91 car for Trackhouse Racing, was 32nd in practice after a lap of 91.413 mph.

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, driving in his first race for Legacy Motor Club since the Daytona 500, was 36th in practice after a lap of 91.072 mph. IndyCar driver Conor Daly was last among the 39 cars in practice with a lap of 90.095 mph.

Cup qualifying is Saturday. The series races Sunday.


Saturday COTA Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather


Austin Hill, the dominant driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series through the early weeks of the season, will be looking for his first Xfinity road course win Saturday.

Hill has won three of the season’s first five races, scoring victories at Daytona, Las Vegas and Atlanta.

Hill has been close in previous road course runs. He has a second at COTA, a third at Portland, a fourth at Road America and a ninth at Indianapolis.

MORE: Dr. Diandra takes a look at top Cup road course drivers

Kyle Busch and AJ Allmendinger own wins in the previous Xfinity races at COTA.

Allmendinger and three other Cup Series regulars — Aric Almirola, William Byron and Ty Gibbs — are scheduled to race in the Xfinity event.

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Circuit of the Americas

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 5:08 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled at 5:19 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 2 p.m. … The invocation will be given by Jordan Thiessen of Pit Boss Grills at 5 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by recording artist Payton Keller at 5:01 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 46 laps (156 miles) on the 3.41-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 14. Stage 2 ends at Lap 30.

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 5 p.m. … NASCAR RaceDay airs at 4 p.m. on FS1. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. and can be heard at …SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Mainly sunny. Temperature of 82 at race time. No chance of rain.

LAST TIME: AJ Allmendinger won last March’s Xfinity race at COTA. Austin Hill was two seconds behind in second place. Cole Custer finished third.