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NASCAR Xfinity: Justin Allgaier finally scores first win of 2019, championship four set

AVONDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 09: Justin Allgaier, driver of the #7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 at ISM Raceway on November 09, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

After five wins during the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series season, Justin Allgaier went winless in the first 31 races of the 2019 season. He finally claimed his first win of the year Saturday in the Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 at ISM (formerly Phoenix International) Raceway. With the win, he secured his advancement to the one-race championship round Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“To do what we’ve done all year, to have the speed that we’ve had but not being able to pull it off has been disappointing,” Allgaier said. “These guys have rallied behind it. We said when we came in here, we needed to get a win so we can get to Homestead, and we did that.”

Joining Allgaier to vy for the 2019 Xfinity Series title at Homestead will be Cole Custer and reigning series champion Tyler Reddick, who finished second and third to Allgaier in Saturdays race, and Christopher Bell, who won a week earlier at Texas Motor Speedway near Fort World.

Allgaier dominated the second half of the 200-lap race. He inherited the lead after Bell was assessed a pit-road speeding penalty during the caution after the second of two 45-lap stages ended at lap 90. Bell led all but one lap of the first 90 and won both of the stages before his penalty. On his attempt to race his way back to the front, he spun on lap 117, bringing out the fourth and final caution of the race. Bell finished the race in the 16th position.

“We had a hot rod today,” Allgaier said. “I don’t think we could have beat the 20 (Bell), but when he made his mistake, we capitalized on it. That’s what it’s all about.”

Allgaier ran second to Bell throughout most of the first 90 laps, winding up second to Bell at the end of each of the two stages.

Allgaier lost his lead through pit strategy during Bell’s caution. With a few drivers staying out and others taking only two tires, Allgaier wound up in the back of the top-10 with four tires. He got back up to second with 68 laps remaining and passed Chase Briscoe, one of the drivers who stayed out during the caution, for the lead on lap 136.

Custer, who challenged Allgaier for second throughout the first half of the race, closed on Allgaier in the closing laps but was unable to make the pass for the win.

John Hunter Nemechek and Zane Smith rounded out the top-five. Finishing sixth through 10th were Austin Cindric, Justin Haley, Chase Briscoe, Michael Annett and Noah Gragson. Cindric, Briscoe, Annett and Gragson also headed into the ISM Raceway event as playoff drivers but were eliminated from championship contention at the checkered flag.

Below, is the complete finishing order of Saturday’s Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 at ISM Raceway:

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Posted by on November 10, 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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