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NASCAR Xfinity: Spencer Gallagher leads first lap to first win

TALLADEGA, AL – APRIL 28: Spencer Gallagher, driver of the #23 Allegiant Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 28, 2018 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Spencer Gallagher led his first-career NASCAR Xfinity Series lap Saturday in the Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega (Superspeedway). That single lap was the final lap of the race that was extended two extra laps by an overtime restart, garnering the driver his first-career Xfinity win.

“Honest to goodness, this is one of the best days of my life,” Gallagher said.

Brandon Jones finished second, and Justin Allgaier was third, despite running out of fuel during a caution with four laps remaining in the 113-lap scheduled distance.

Noah Gragson finished fourth for his second top-five finish in his second-career series start.

Elliott Sadler rounded out the top-five and claimed his second-consecutive $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus, beating out Austin Cindric, Christopher Bell and Matt Tifft for the latest bonus, and making himself eligible for the final of the four bonuses to be awarded next weekend at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

Sadler and Allgaier were two of three drivers to lead more than 30 laps in the race. Daniel Hemric started on the pole and led a race-high 39 laps that included a stage-one win. Sadler won the second stage and led 30 total laps and was the second-stage winner after starting the race in the back. Allgaier led 35.

After starting on the pole, Hemric had led all green-flag laps and taken a stage win before losing the lead to Ryan Reed on a restart following a caution for a multi-car crash on lap 33. Reed, then, quickly lost the lead to Sadler.

After starting in the back because of an engine change, Sadler quickly got into the top-five, but by the time stage one ended on lap 25, he had slipped back to eighth. With nine laps to go in the second stage that ended on lap 50, though, Sadler was in the race lead.

Sadler was second to fellow-Dash 4 Cash competitor Bell for the restart after the second stage. Bell had suffered a tire problem just before the end of the opening stage. Rubber from that tire damaged his brake line, but after six pit stops between the incident and the end of the second stage, Bell took fuel only to get out of the pits first to start the third and final stage as the race leader.

With 56 laps remaining, Sadler retook the lead. After Bell battled with John Hunter Nemechek for second, Bell dropped back to 10th with about 40 laps remaining, leaving Nemechek with sole possession of second behind Sadler.

The top two cars headed for pit road for green-flag stops with 38 laps remaining, Bell spun on a wet spot near pit entry, and Sadler was assessed a pit-road speeding penalty in his attempt to avoid the spinning Bell.

Meanwhile, Allgaier and Cindric were among several drivers who went into fuel-saving mode after pitting during a caution for a Cindric spin with just over 50 laps remaining. Through the varying pit strategies, Allgaier wound up with a lead of about 25 seconds over second-place-running Cindric when the yellow flag waved for a blown right-front tire on Hemric’s car with under 10 laps to go. Allgaier and others running out of fuel extended the caution and sent the race into overtime, and Cindric ran out of fuel on the final restart.

“We had no intention of coming to pit road, and we thought we could make it all the way,” Allgaier said. “I was really surprised that we did run out.”

Tyler Reddick took the lead win Cindric’s fuel ran out, and Bell moved into second, but by the checkered flag, Reddick had fallen to eighth and Bell 12th.

“Once we got side-by-side, I just knew I had to get clear of Tyler going into turn one, and that was going to decide the race,” Gallagher said.

Other top-10 finishers included Ryan Sieg in sixth, Nemechek in seventh, Cole Custer in ninth and Garrett Smithley in 10th.

As the four highest-finishing Xfinity championship-eligible drivers, Gallagher, Jones, Allgaier and Sadler will compete for the final $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus at Dover.

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Posted by on April 29, 2018. 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

One Response to NASCAR Xfinity: Spencer Gallagher leads first lap to first win

  1. Pingback: NASCAR Xfinity: Spencer Gallagher suspended days after first win | Auto Racing Daily

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