Allmendinger surprises with first NASCAR oval win at Atlanta

Jim Utter

During the final round of pit stops, Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe and Justin Allgaier – who all had contended for the win – were caught speeding on pit road and had to restart from the rear of the field on the final restart.

That left Allmendinger in the lead when the race returned to green on Lap 130 of 163. He held off a serious challenge from last week’s winner, Noah Gragson, but held on for the win at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“Matt Kaulig, if you’re listening, I love you,” Allmendinger said over his team radio as he took the checkered flag. “Thank you guys so much. All I ever wanted to do was win on a damn oval!”

The win is Allmendinger’s third in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and fourth overall in NASCAR national series competition.

The three previous victories had all come on road course for Allmendinger, who started his career in open-wheel racing. He has been running a part-time schedule in the Xfinity Series this season.

“This car was awesome. It’s Atlanta and you’re trying to figure out how much tire to use early. The car was so good on long runs – the car was better than the driver,” Allmendinger said. “Once I got in the lead, I was just trying to hit my marks, which is hard to do.

“Matt Kaulig, you’re the man let’s party!”

Gragson finished second and collected the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus after overcoming a pit road penalty of his own. Justin Haley finished third, Daniel Hemric was fourth and Harrison Burton completed the top-five.

Allmendinger, Gragson, Haley and Hemric are all qualified to compete for the $100,000 bonus again next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Josh Williams spun in Turn 3 on Lap 98 after contact from Joe Graf Jr. to bring out a caution. Most of the lead-lap cars elected to pit but Michael Annett stayed out and inherited the lead. Briscoe was first off pit road.

On the restart on Lap 103, Annett led the way followed by Briscoe, Allgaier and Cindric. Gragson had to start from the rear of the field for driving through too many pit boxes.

Cindric powered into the second spot shortly after the restart.

Vinnie Miller spun off Turn 2 on Lap 125 to bring out a caution. All the lead-lap cars elected to pit with Briscoe the first off pit road. However, Briscoe, Cindric and Allgaier were all penalized for speeding on pit road and had to restart from the rear of the field.

That left Allmendinger as the new leader when the race returned to green on Lap 130. He was followed by Gragson, Haley and Brandon Jones. Allgaier restarted 24th, Briscoe 25th and Cindric 27th.

With 25 laps to go, Allmendinger held a 1.2-second lead over Gragson as Haley ran third.

With 15 laps remaining, Allmendinger had settled into a 1.7-second lead over Gragson while Haley remained in third. Of the three drivers who suffered speeding penalties on the previous stop, Allgaier had improved the most positions, running in eighth.

Read Also:

Enfinger bests Austin Hill in OT for Atlanta Truck win

Stage 2

Cindric completed a sweep of the first two stages, holding off Briscoe for the Stage 2 victory.

Ross Chastain was third, Hemric fourth and Allmendinger completed the top-five.

Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, all the lead-lap cars elected to pit with Cindric the first off pit road.

On the restart on Lap 48, Cindric led the way followed by Chastain, Briscoe and Gragson. Haley had to restart from the rear for having a crew member over the wall too soon during his pit stop.

With 25 laps to go in the second stage, Cindric had built up a 2.5-second lead over Chastain while Gragson had moved into third.

On Lap 62, Briscoe moved into third, while Hemric took over the fourth spot and Gragson dropped to fifth.

Riley Herbst spun off Turn 2 on Lap 68 to bring out a caution. A handful of drivers elected to pit and Cindric continued to lead the way on the restart on Lap 74.

With five laps to go in the second stage, Cindric maintained a small lead over Briscoe while Chastain moved into third.

Stage 1

Cindric, on fresh tires, made short work of the field after his pit stops and cruised to the Stage 1 win, claiming victory by more than 9 seconds over Chastain.

Haley was third, Allgaier fourth and Hemric was fifth.

Gragson, who started on the pole due to a random draw, led the first five laps until Cindric got around him to take the lead on Lap 6.

On Lap 17, Tommy Joe Martins spun around on the backstretch to bring out a caution. NASCAR elected to designate this the competition caution. Most of the lead-lap cars remained on the track but Cindric and Briscoe pit.

On the restart on Lap 22, Haley led the way followed by Hemric, Allgaier and Gragson.

Cindric, who restarted 22nd on fresh tires, got up to second in four laps and reclaimed the lead on Lap 26.

With 10 laps remaining in the first stage, Cindric had built up a nearly 4-second lead over Chastain while Haley ran third, 4.8 seconds behind the leader.

Martins had to start the race from the rear of the field for unapproved adjustments after impound.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Laps Led Points
1 16 United States A.J. Allmendinger Chevrolet 163   37 48
2 9 United States Noah Gragson Chevrolet 163 1.858 6 45
3 11 United States Justin Haley Chevrolet 163 6.340 8 46
4 8 United States Daniel Hemric Chevrolet 163 7.971   46
5 20 United States Harrison Burton Toyota 163 9.323   34
6 7 United States Justin Allgaier Chevrolet 163 10.481 1 41
7 10 United States Ross Chastain Chevrolet 163 12.182   47
8 19 United States Brandon Jones Toyota 163 12.636   29
9 98 United States Chase Briscoe Ford 163 12.869 40 40
10 21 Anthony Alfredo Chevrolet 163 16.186   27
11 1 United States Michael Annett Chevrolet 163 16.657 3 28
12 68 United States Brandon Brown Chevrolet 163 19.660   25
13 51 United States Jeremy Clements Chevrolet 163 20.873   24
14 02 United States Brett Moffitt Chevrolet 163 22.721    
15 15 Colby Howard Chevrolet 163 26.597   22
16 22 United States Austin Cindric Ford 163 28.048 68 41
17 18 Riley Herbst Toyota 163 30.085   24
18 74 United States Bayley Currey Chevrolet 163 33.666    
19 36 United States Ronnie Bassett Jr. Chevrolet 162 1 lap   18
20 4 United States Jesse Little Chevrolet 162 1 lap   17
21 0 United States Jeffrey Earnhardt Chevrolet 162 1 lap   16
22 44 United States Tommy Joe Martins Chevrolet 162 1 lap   15
23 99 Mason Massey Toyota 162 1 lap   14
24 07 United States Garrett Smithley Chevrolet 162 1 lap   13
25 6 United States B.J. McLeod Chevrolet 162 1 lap   12
26 08 Joe Jr. Chevrolet 162 1 lap   11
27 90 Canada Alex Labbé Chevrolet 162 1 lap   10
28 92 United States Josh Williams Chevrolet 162 1 lap   9
29 93 United States Myatt Snider Chevrolet 161 2 laps   8
30 5 United States Matt Mills Chevrolet 161 2 laps   7
31 78 United States Vinnie Miller Chevrolet 156 7 laps   6
32 47 United States Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 129 34 laps    
33 61 United States Timmy Hill Toyota 87 76 laps    
34 13 United States Chad Finchum Toyota 50 113 laps   3
35 39 United States Ryan Sieg Chevrolet 47 116 laps   2
36 66 United States Stephen Leicht Toyota 8 155 laps   1
37 52 Kody Vanderwal Chevrolet 3 160 laps   1