Justin Allgaier Advances To Round Of 8 With Bristol Motor Speedway Winby Hunter Thomas September 15, 2023 1 comment
BRISTOL, Tenn. – With fresher tires, Justin Allgaier made his way around Daniel Hemric with 13 laps to go and held on to win his first night race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The last time Allgaier visited Victory Lane at Bristol was back in 2010, but in Friday’s Food City 300, pit strategy placed him in a strong position at the end of the race, and he went on to win for the first time under the lights at the Last Great Colosseum.
“This team has done such an amazing job at this racetrack since I started at JR Motorsports,” Allgaier said. “We led a lot of laps, and the monkey was definitely on our back. The pit strategy there, man, coming down pit road all by myself, that was nerve-racking.”
In 13 full seasons of racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Allgaier has yet to win a championship; however, he has come so close before. With Saturday’s win, Allgaier and his JR Motorsports No. 7 BRANDT Chevrolet team will advance to the Round of 8, which is just one step closer to competing in the final Championship 4 round at Phoenix Raceway in November.
“That’s huge,” Allgaier said. “Not only for myself but for all of our partners. I resigned this week to go back to JR Motorsports for another year, and we just haven’t announced it yet. Y’all are stuck with me for another year at least in this 7 car. As good as this is, it’s really impressive. Just so proud of this team.”
Daniel Hemric finished second, earning very valuable points in the NASCAR Playoffs. Leaving Bristol, Hemric is now 12 points ahead of Jeb Burton, who is the first driver currently out of the Round of 8.
John Hunter Nemechek now takes over the top spot in the NASCAR Playoff standings after finishing third on Friday night.
“We needed to be a little bit faster to be as fast as Xfinity 10 G, but overall, solid night,” Nemecheck said. “We raced smart. We have a 65-point lead, I think, to the cut off or something like that, so that’s good. Our goal coming into this first round was just to have solid finishes. If a win presented itself, a win presented itself. We have to race smart and keep advancing. That is all that matters.”
Cole Custer and Chandler Smith rounded out the top-five. Completing the top-10 was Ryan Sieg, Trevor Bayne, Riley Herbst, Sammy Smith and Kaz Grala.
Custer won Stage 1, and Allgaier won the final two stages.
There were eight lead changes among five drivers. Allgaier won a race high of 110 laps.
There were also six cautions for 48 laps. The most notable accidents involved teammates crashing into each other.
One of the most bizarre accidents of the night occurred on Lap 168, when contact between Josh Berry and Sam Mayer cut down Berry’s tire. The two JR Motorsports drivers made contact along the frontstretch and when they drove into Turn 1, Berry’s car shot up the track and into Mayer. Also involved were their teammate, Brandon Jones. All three were strong contenders, but at the end of the night, Jones finished 34th, Mayer finished 35th and Berry finished 36th.
On Lap 218, RCR Racing teammates tangled. While exiting Turn 4, Sheldon Creed made contact with Austin Hill, who then slammed into the inside wall. Creed continued and finished 11th, but Hill finished a very disappointing 33rd.
Leaving Bristol, John Hunter Nemechek leads the Round of 12, followed by Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer, Austin Hill, Chandler Smith, Daniel Hemric, Sammy Smith, Sheldon Creed, Jeb Burton, Sam Mayer, Parker Kligerman and Josh Berry.
The second race of the Round of 12 will take place at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 23. Live coverage of the Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 will broadcast on USA at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com