Justin Allgaier survived a breathtaking last-gasp effort from JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler to win Saturday’s OneMain Financial 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Dover International Speedway.
Allgaier led Sadler by less than a car-length as the drivers entered Turn 3 on the final circuit. Ahead of Allgaier, the lapped car of Joe Nemechek entered the corner low and drifted up the track, forcing Allgair to brake and run the middle lane at the cost of considerable momentum.
Sadler saw the opening and drove underneath Allgaier’s No. 7 Chevrolet as the cars negotiated Turn 4. As they came off the corner side by side, the cars touched. Sadler’s No. 1 Chevy twitched loose, and Allgaier’s car slapped the outside wall, but both drivers maintained control, and Allgaier got to the finish line .306 seconds ahead of his teammate.
“I thought the 15 (Nemechek) was going to run the bottom,” Allgaier said. “I got on the brakes (in Turn 3) and almost spun myself out. That race—you couldn’t ask for anything better.
“Obviously, we got together coming to the checkered flag, but I expected that. He had to do what he had to do, and we did what we had to do.”
The victory was Allgaier’s first of the season, his first at Dover and the sixth of his career. The 31-year-old was doubly rewarded, outdueling Sadler for the $100,000 Xfinity Dash 4 Cash bonus that goes to the highest finisher among four eligible drivers.
Allgaier is the 10th different winner in 10 Xfinity races this season. Dating to 2017, the last 13 races in the series have been won by 13 different drivers, tying a series record.
Sadler was understandably disappointed with the results, given the incentives he had for winning. The veteran driver was going for his third straight Dash 4 Cash bonus, and the sponsor of his car, OneMain Financial, was also the entitlement sponsor of the race.
Problem was, Sadler couldn’t find a way around his teammate without wrecking him.
“I was trying to figure out a way to pass him,” Sadler said. “I knew if I tried to get under him, Justin would do a good job of holding me down, so I was trying to figure out how to create some momentum, especially on the top side, but I wanted to do it the clean way as much as possible, too.
“On the last lap, going into Turn 3, I saw him roll the middle, so I just rolled the bottom and stabbed the gas and tried to get up under him, but I got loose. If I had stayed in the gas, I would have wrecked probably both of us pretty hard…
“We’ve been too good all year long not to have a checkered flag. I’m heartbroken, to be honest with you. This would have been a good race to win for us, being the OneMain Financial 200. That’s hard to swallow. My team gave me a car good enough to win. I’ve just got to do a better job of closing out these races.”
Daniel Hemric came home third, spending the last lap hoping to steal a victory if the JR Motorsports teammates happened to wreck each other.
“I was just trying to get myself in the best possible position in case they did run out of race track—and they tried,” Hemric said.
Christopher Bell finished fourth after starting from the rear after his car failed to make it through pre-qualifying inspection in time to make a run in time trials. Tyler Reddick, who started from the back for the same reason, came home fifth, putting three JRM drivers in the top five.
Running his first NASCAR Xfinity Series race in four years, Johnny Sauter ran sixth subbing for suspended Spencer Gallagher. Noah Gragson, Matt Tifft, Austin Cindric and pole winner Brandon Jones completed the top 10.
Sadler and Allgaier won the first and second stages, respectively. Sadler leaves Dover as the series leader, 33 points ahead of Allgaier in second and 38 in front of Reddick in third.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!