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NASCAR Xfinity: A.J. Allmendinger wins at Roval

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – SEPTEMBER 28: A J Allmendinger, driver of the #10 Digital Ally Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina at Charlotte Motor Speedway on September 28, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver A.J. Allmendinger played 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff spoiler Saturday at the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval. His win of the Drive for the Cure 250 was his first in five Xfinity Series races for Kaulig Racing this year. It was his third-career series win in what is expected to be his last Xfinity Series race of the season. It was his first win in any NASCAR series since 2014.

“He asked me to come in and help him build his team, and I can’t thank him enough,” Allmendinger said of Kaulig Racing owner Matt Kaulig.

Allmendinger was joined in the top-five of the race finishing order by playoff drivers Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier and Noah Gragson, finishing second through fifth, respectively.

Allmendinger took his first and only lead of the race when he got by Christopher Bell on lap 48 and led the remaining 20 laps of the 67-lap race.

“He’s a hired gun; he’s amazing,” Kaulig said. “He’s the best in the world.”

Defending race winner Chase Briscoe and Bell, both playoff drivers, combined to lead most of the race prior to Allmendinger taking the top spots with Briscoe leading a race-high 21 laps. But both Briscoe and Bell wound outside the top-20 after battling for second on lap 58. The results of that battle were a Briscoe spin and Bell serving a penalty for missing one of circuit’s chicanes.

“I thought our Rheem Supra was really, really fast all day long,” Bell said. “We were really good in the first and second stage, and then the third stage, I just, for whatever reason, got a little bit tight and couldn’t keep up with those guys. The 98 (Brisco) was really fast, and I was going to let him go as soon as he got beside me, and then, whenever we got into the chicane, he didn’t leave me any option besides running me off the race track. At that point, I was just going to race him back as hard as I could.”

Briscoe still managed a top-10 race finish in ninth, while Bell wound up 12th.

“I felt like we had the car to beat all day long,” Briscoe said. ”We were able to constantly come back through the field. We had to go for points, obviously, because of our situation, and we were always able to get back. There at the end, I felt like I still could have ran down A.J. I felt like we were really good on the long run, and that’s kind of where he struggled. I don’t know. I still haven’t seen a replay of what happened, so it’s hard for me to say. It always feel different, I feel like, than the way you actually see outside of the car, so I don’t know what happened. I felt like I was doing everything I could do try to win the race and knew that pass was crucial down there to try to have a shot to catch A.J., and, like I said, I haven’t really seen it, so I don’t know what happened.”

Briscoe started on the pole and led the entire 20-lap opening stage before making his first pit stop of the race. Bell, though, pitted near the end of the first stage and stayed out between the two stages. He took the lead on the lap-24 restart and ran up front for most of the second stage.

Bell, though, gave up the lead and a potential stage-two win to pit just before the close of the second stage. Instead, playoff driver Cole Custer was the winner of the second stage.

Bell was back up front after, again, pitting before stage-end and staying out at the end of stage two. He remained up front until Allmendinger got the top-spot. After the stage-two win, Custer spun as part of a multi-car incident that also involved Ryan Truex and fellow-playoff driver John Hunter Nemechek. All three drivers still managed top-10 finishes, Nemechek in seventh, Custer eighth and Truex 10th.

Other top-10 race finishers included Alex Labbe in sixth. Bell was one of five drivers to finish the Drive for the Cure 250 outside the top-10. Michael Annett finished 15th. Brandon Jones wound up 16th after a spin in the final 10 laps. Ryan Sieg was 30th, and Justin Haley was the lowest finisher among the 12 playoff drivers, winding up 31st after spending time in the garage early in the race.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the Drive for the Cure 250 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval:

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Posted by on September 29, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR,NASCAR Xfinity. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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