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Justin Allgaier wins, advances to Xfinity championship race

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All season long, Justin Allgaier wanted a win, needed a win – and finally he got the win he coveted in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff race at ISM Raceway.

One season after winning a career-best five races, Allgaier and his No. 7 JR Motorsports team notched their first checkered flag of 2019 and it was huge, moving him into next week’s championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Allgaier led 85 laps and joins Christopher Bell, Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick in the title race.

“It’s just incredible, man,” Allgaier told NBC Sports. “To do what we’ve done all year, to have the speed that we’ve had but not been able to pull it off has been disappointing, but these guys have rallied behind it. We said when we came here that we needed a win to get to Homestead and we got it.

“Not only is it a chance for the championship but to get the momentum from a win. That’s special. The weight on your shoulder, you can’t even begin to describe it.”

Added Reddick, defending Xfinity Series champion: “When I heard we were one lap to the good (on fuel), we figured where we’re at, might as well just be smart. We could win a race or we could run out of gas and not go to Homestead. We didn’t lose sight of what’s important.”

Chase Briscoe, Michael Annett, Austin Cindric and Noah Gragson were eliminated from the playoffs.

“I don’t want this one race or whole round to define who we are,” Briscoe told NBC. “We proved especially the last half of the season we’re capable to being that fourth guy, just didn’t get it done.”

The top 10 finishers in Saturday’s win were Allgaier, Custer, Reddick, John Hunter Nemechek, Zane Smith, Cindric, Justin Haley, Briscoe, Annett and Gragson.

Click here for race results.

Click here for updated/reseeded standings.

Bell looked like he would seal a perfect weekend with a win. He was fastest in both of Friday’s practices and started Saturday’s race from the pole. He dominated the first two stages of Saturday’s race, leading all but one of the first 90 laps.

But Bell, who won this race last fall, was caught speeding on pit road at the end of Stage 2 and was sent to the back. While he started making progress, he spun after a tire went down on Lap 117 of the 200-lap race and finished 16th.

“I don’t think we could have beat the 20 today, but when he made that mistake, we capitalized on it and that’s what it’s all about,” Allgaier said of Bell.

Stage 1 winner: Christopher Bell (21st stage win of season)

Stage 2 winner: Christopher Bell (22nd stage win of season)

Who else had a good race: Give credit to John Hunter Nemechek and Zane Smith for their fourth- and fifth-place runs, respectively.

Who had a bad race: It’s a rarity that Bell has a bad run, but finishing 16th was definitely not the finish he wanted. But two things that were self-inflicted (speeding on pit road and a spin) sealed his bid to cap off what had been up to the end of Stage 2, a perfect weekend.

Notable: At 33, Allgaier has age and experience going for him heading to Miami. His other three rivals are all under 25: Bell is 24, Reddick 23 and Custer 21.

What’s next: The season-ending Xfinity Series championship race takes place next Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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Xfinity practice report at ISM Raceway

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FINAL SESSION:

It was Christopher Bell‘s day Friday at ISM Raceway, as the Norman, Oklahoma driver swept both NASCAR Xfinity practice sessions ahead of Saturday’s Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC).

Bell paced the 33 cars that took to the track in the final practice session with a speed of 130.147 mph, faster than what he did in the first practice (129.795 mph).

Tyler Reddick was second-fastest (130.011 mph), followed by Cole Custer (129.618 mph), Justin Allgaier (129.613), Austin Cindric (129.385), Zane Smith (129.282), Noah Gragson (129.231), John Hunter Nemechek (128.977), Justin Haley (128.917) and Riley Herbst (128.742).

Qualifying for Saturday’s race will take place at 12:35 p.m. ET (televised on NBCSN). The green flag for the race will fall shortly after 3:30 p.m. ET (televised on NBC).

Click here for the full final practice results.

FIRST SESSION:

Christopher Bell was fastest in the first of two NASCAR Xfinity Series practices Friday afternoon at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.

Bell circled the one-mile oval at a speed of 129.795 mph, just a tick faster than Cole Custer’s effort of 129.716 mph.

Tyler Reddick was third-fastest (129.711 mph) followed by Zane Smith (129.478) and Justin Allgaier (129.399 mph).

A total of 35 cars and drivers took to the track for the 50-minute session.

The final Xfinity practice is slated to take place this evening from 6:05 – 6:55 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Click here for first Xfinity practice results

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Tyler Reddick wins pole for Xfinity race at Texas

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Playoff driver Tyler Reddick won the pole for tonight’s Xfinity Series playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway (8:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Reddick claimed his fourth pole of the year with a top speed of 190.705 mph.

The top five was completed by Harrison Burton, Christopher Bell (playoffs), Cole Custer (playoffs) and Chase Briscoe (playoffs).

Briscoe qualified in the top five after his car failed inspection three times. His car chief, Nick Hutchins, was ejected from the event. Briscoe will lose 30 minutes of practice next weekend at Phoenix.

Rounding out the top 10 is Justin Allgaier (playoffs), Ross Chastain, Jeb Burton, Brandon Jones and Noah Gragson (playoffs).

Justin Haley will start from the rear in a backup car after he spun and backed into the Turn 4 wall during his warmup lap.

Michael Annett was the lowest qualifying playoff driver. He’ll start 19th.

Stefan Parsons qualified 16th for his best career start in his sixth race.

Click here for the starting lineup.

 

 

Xfinity results, points after Dover playoff elimination round

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With his win in Saturday’s final race of the first round of the Xfinity Series playoffs at Dover International Speedway, Cole Custer joins Christopher Bell as the only drivers to earn seven wins in the circuit this season.

What a way for Custer to head into the second round of the playoffs, which begin in two weeks at Kansas Speedway (the Xfinity Series enjoys next weekend off).

Custer led twice for 31 laps in the 200-lap event. Chase Briscoe, who won the pole but had to start the race from the back of the field for unapproved adjustments, rallied back to lead a race-high 71 laps before an engine misfire – which cropped up during qualifying – returned late in the race, relegating Briscoe to a still strong fifth-place finish.

In-between Custer and Briscoe in the top five finishing spots were Justin Allgaier, Austin Cindric and Justin Haley.

The eight drivers that advanced to the second round of the Xfinity playoffs were Custer, Bell, Allgaier, Briscoe, Cindric, Tyler Reddick, Noah Gragson and Michael Annett. Failing to advance to Round 2 were Brandon Jones, John Hunter Nemechek, Justin Haley and Ryan Sieg.

Click here for the results.

Here are the points immediately after the race:

Click here for the points.

Here are the points after the reseeding for the second round. Christopher Bell leads.

Click here for reseeded points heading into the second round

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Pole sitter Briscoe to back of pack, Cindric to lead field to green for Xfinity elimination race

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Chase Briscoe may have won the pole, but when the green flag falls for this afternoon’s Xfinity Series final first round playoff race at Dover International Speedway, he’ll start from the back of the 38-car field.

Citing unapproved adjustments, NASCAR stripped Briscoe of the top spot less than an hour after he earned the pole.

Also being sent to the back of the field following Saturday’s qualifying was Michael Annett due to an engine change. That is a major development for Annett, as he currently holds the final transfer spot into the Round of 8 two weeks from now.

Before he was ordered to the back of the field, Briscoe was the fastest car in the field on the 1-mile, banked all-concrete oval with a speed of 157.246 mph — that, even though his Ford suffered a slight engine misfire.

“The motor was running, once we got going, it was under load and just missing a little bit,” Briscoe told NBCSN. “It’s probably something electrical, we think. It’s a testament to all the awesome motors at Roush Yates Engines. We weren’t even under full power and were able to get the pole, so that’s good.”

But a couple seconds later in the same interview, Briscoe kind of foretold what eventually happened to him: “Hopefully, we can find something little, like a wire loose or something and be able to start up front. But if not, we’ll probably have to go to the back with everything big picture-wise and make sure we don’t take ourselves out of the playoffs. We’ve got a good race car, but hopefully we can find out what our gremlin is and go from there. At least we’re now aware of it and it’s not a surprise when it does happen.”

Now, Cindric, who recorded a speed of 156.733 mph, will start from what had been Briscoe’s spot at the front of the field.

“Great to be on the front row, have a little speed and hopefully we can do everything we can to move on to the Round of 8 and maybe get some bonus points,” Cindric told NBCSN. “Making the Round of 8 is a box checked. … We’re happy where we are as a team but we’ve got to keep the momentum going.”

Cole Custer (156.685 mph) will be alongside Cindric on the front row.

Third through fifth are Tyler Reddick (156.461 mph), Harrison Burton (155.864 mph) and Christopher Bell (155.858).

Sixth through 10th are Noah Gragson (155.736), Justin Allgaier (155.649), Brandon Jones (155.555), Zane Smith (155.454) and Justin Haley (155.112).

Bell narrowly avoided disaster when he almost lost control of his car coming out of Turn 4 during his qualifying effort. Bell was able to rein the car back in. Several cars later, Tyler Reddick also got loose twice during his qualifying run but also managed to save it both times.

Today’s Use Your Melon Drive Sober 200 race starts at 3 p.m. ET (televised on NBCSN, and on radio on Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

The four lowest-ranked playoff drivers after the race will be eliminated from advancing to the second round of the playoffs, which begin October 19 at Kansas Speedway.

Click here for full qualifying results.

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