COTA Xfinity race: AJ Allmendinger gets first win of season

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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

STAGE 2 WINNER: Sam Mayer

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