Allmendinger Survives Late Restarts To Win At The Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVALby Hunter Thomas September 28, 2019 1 comment
CONCORD, N.C. – AJ Allmendinger held on in the final 20 chaotic laps of Saturday’s Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL to claim his first NASCAR national series victory since 2014.
Allmendinger passed Christopher Bell for the lead on lap 48 and survived three late-race cautions en route to his third-career win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The driver of the Kaulig Racing No. 10 Digital Ally Chevrolet started the race in fifth and kept pace with the leaders all afternoon long. Following the race, Allmendinger was very appreciative of the way runner-up finisher, Tyler Reddick raced him in the closing laps.
“I can’t thank Matt Kaulig (team owner) enough first of all,” Allmendinger said. “He has put his belief in me, you know, like he wanted me to come here and try to help build this team.”
Allmendinger continued and said, “I really have to thank Tyler Reddick. He’s phenomenal. He told me when I got here, I needed to help him get better on the road courses. He has outqualified me every race basically. He beat me in a couple. So, he’s phenomenal, but I knew behind me, I could be defensive on the right side to get myself an angle, and Tyler wouldn’t shove it on in there. I appreciate that.”
Reddick was the highest finishing driver in the NASCAR Playoffs. The second-place finish marks the Richard Childress Racing driver’s 24th (series-most) top-10 effort of the season.
NASCAR Playoff competitors, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier and Noah Gragson rounded out the top-five. Completing the top-10 was Alex Labbe, John Hunter Nemechek, Cole Custer, Chase Briscoe and Ryan Truex.
One NASCAR Playoff contender who saw the win potentially slip through his hands on Saturday was Bell. After he lost the lead to Allmendinger, he began battling Briscoe for position on lap 58. The two made contact, and Bell was forced to miss the chicane on the frontstretch. As the two drivers battled through Turn 2, they made contact again, and this time, it was Briscoe spinning. Because Bell missed the chicane, he was forced restart at the tail end on the next restart. Bell finished 12th.
“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 (Chase Briscoe) 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.”
There were seven lead changes among six drivers throughout the 67-lap race. Briscoe led a race high of 21 laps.
The caution flag flew on seven occasions for 14 laps.
Christopher Bell leads the NASCAR Playoffs, followed by Cole Custer (-10), Tyler Reddick (-29), Austin Cindric (-31), Justin Allgaier (-41), Chase Briscoe (-46), Noah Gragson (-55) and Michael Annett (-70). Currently below the Round of 8 cutline is Brandon Jones (-81), John Hunter Nemechek (-81) Ryan Sieg (-107) and Justin Haley (-109).
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will visit Dover International Speedway on Saturday, October 5 for the Use Your Melon Drive Sober 200. Live coverage will broadcast on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 3 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com