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Justin Allgaier Nearly Perfect in Darlington Win

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier celebrating in Victory Lane after winning at Darlington. (Photo: Kevin Ritchie | The Podium Finish)

DARLINGTON, S.C. — Every year when the NASCAR Xfinity Series season begins, Justin Allgaier will always be a championship threat. This year, no different.

Although having no victories through the first 10 races, Allgaier has shown great speed and sat fifth in points coming into the Crown Royal Purple Bag Project 200 at Darlington Raceway, a track Allgaier has two wins at.

And in need of a win, Allgaier embraced the challenge, sweeping both stages and leading 119 of 147 laps en route to a dominant third career victory at “The Lady in Black.”

“I just wanted (spotter) Eddie (D’Hondt) to call ‘white flag’,” Allgaier said post-race. “We’ve had such a heck of a year. We’ve led a ton of laps, and haven’t been able to do it.”

The win was a historic win for Allgaier, who tied Dale Earnhardt Jr for the 10th-most victories in Xfinity Series history with 24 and also became the all-time top 10 leader with 267. This broke a tie with Kyle Busch that the two have shared since Texas.

“I didn’t know if the day would come when I’d be able to match Dale Jr,” Allgaier said. “Not only is he a great boss, but he is a really good mentor. To come here and be able to tie him, to be able to take over the all-time top 10s, man, there’s nothing better.”

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier doing a burnout on the front stretch at Darlington Raceway after claiming the win. (Photo: Kevin Ritchie | The Podium Finish)

Even though Allgaier dominated, other stills had very strong performances, one of whom was Austin Hill. Hill finished runner-up in both stages and the race to retake the points lead and score his first top-five since COTA in March.

Hill went toe to toe with Allgaier for the majority of the races, even getting good launches on the restart, just being unable to get into the corners successfully.

“I just couldn’t get into Turn 1 on restarts like I really needed to all day,” said Hill. “I did really good with my launches. That’s something that I struggled with here where I’d buzz the tires late in the zone. Didn’t do that all day. I felt pretty good about my restarts, but I would get down into (Turn) 1 and I’d get tight.”

“I thought we were just as good as the 7 (Allgaier) all day,” Hill said. “Congrats to those guys. We were just that little bit off today, and I think most of it was me.”

Cole Custer, who sat on the pole for Saturday’s race also had a strong car throughout the race, but couldn’t fully overcome an early problem and could only make it back to finish in a respectable third place.

Custer led the first 20 laps until the competition caution came out on Lap 21. While on pit road Custer had a 23-second pit stop after the front tire carrier had a pit gun failure, forcing the rear tire changer to have to come to the front tire and change it.

This eliminated all of the No. 00’s track position and took them all race to get it back.

“Just frustrating,” Custer said. “Had such a fast car to fire off, we had a three-second lead that first run, but we lost the track position on that restart and started dead last.”

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier (7) racing Austin Hill (21) for the lead at Darlington Raceway. (Photo: Kyle Ritchie | The Podium Finish)

Even with the comeback to finish inside the top five, Custer was still left frustrated with the race as a whole.

“Just so frustrating, we really want to be in Victory Lane and I think we had a car to do that today,” said Custer. “We just need everything to play out right, whether it’s rain or whatever it is, just need that little bit more to win. We’re knocking on the door so often.”

Aric Almirola also returned to Xfinity Series today, running for the first time since winning at Martinsville in April. Almirola had a bit of a quiet day even though finishing in fifth, the veteran wasn’t able to lead any laps but still ran inside the top 10 all race.

“Every time I get in this car, I plan and expect to win,” Almirola said after the race. “Fifth is great, but I want to win. Justin was so fast.”

Parker Kligerman showed a lot of speed as well, the most all season on a non-drafting-style track. Kligerman used a tire advantage to finish in third place in Stage 2, which propelled the No. 48 team to a sixth-place finish, collecting 45 points in the process.

“Overall hugely positive day for Big Machine Racing and myself just to have a day like that where I feel like if I get the opportunity and the right track position at the front I can win these things,” Kligerman said.

Cup Series star William Byron, drove the Hendrick Motorsports No. 17 car, but after practice and qualifying were rained out Byron would start in 38th place. While coming through the field Byron hit the wall with a flat right front tire while in the 28th position on Lap 11. The race stayed green, causing Byron to lose three laps and was only able to recover for an 11th-place finish.

Sam Mayer was the other top-five finisher, coming home in fourth place, and after Kilgerman the top 10 was rounded out with Riley Herbst, Jesse Love, Sheldon Creed and Brandon Jones.

Stage 1 Top 10 Results

  1. Justin Allgaier
  2. Austin Hill
  3. Sam Mayer
  4. AJ Allmendinger
  5. Parker Kligerman
  6. Chandler Smith
  7. Aric Almirola
  8. Jesse Love
  9. Riley Herbst
  10. Sheldon Creed

Stage 2 Top 10 Results

  1. Justin Allgaier
  2. Austin Hill
  3. Parker Kligerman
  4. Sam Mayer
  5. Aric Almirola
  6. AJ Allmendinger
  7. Jesse Love
  8. Brandon Jones
  9. Riley Herbst
  10. Chandler Smith

Crown Royal Purple Bag Project at Darlington Speedway Results

Finish Start Car No. Driver Sponsor/Make Status
1 7 7 Justin Allgaier BRANDT Heritage Chevrolet Running
2 5 21 Austin Hill Bennett Transportation Chevrolet Running
3 1 00 Cole Custer Haas Automation Throwback Ford Running
4 6 1 Sam Mayer RTIC Outdoors Chevrolet Running
5 18 20 Aric Almirola He Gets Us Toyota Running
6 11 48 Parker Kligerman Spiked Lite Coolers Chevrolet Running
7 9 98 Riley Herbst Terrible Herbst Ford Running
8 12 2 Jesse Love (R) Whelen Chevrolet Running
9 3 18 Sheldon Creed Ivan Stewart Tribute Toyota Running
10 14 9 Brandon Jones Menards/Bali Chevrolet Running
11 38 17 William Byron (i) Chevrolet Running
12 2 81 Chandler Smith Smith General Contracting Toyota Running
13 25 39 Ryan Sieg Sci Apps Ford Running
14 8 5 Anthony Alfredo Chevy Accessories Chevrolet Running
15 17 97 Shane van Gisbergen (R) Quad Lock Chevrolet Running
16 16 27 Jeb Burton Capital City Towing Chevrolet Running
17 15 91 Kyle Weatherman Chevrolet Running
18 24 19 Taylor Gray (i) Operation 300 Toyota Running
19 13 88 Carson Kvapil Clarience Technologies Chevrolet Running
20 21 44 Brennan Poole CW & Sons Infrastructure Chevrolet Running
21 25 11 Josh Williams Alloy Employer Services Chevrolet Running
22 30 92 Josh Bilicki Circle B Diecast Chevrolet Running
23 34 26 John Hunter Nemechek (i) Toyota Racing Development Toyota Running
24 27 14 David Staar SHAR Ford Running
25 31 38 Matt DiBenedetto Viking Motorsports Ford Running
26 37 35 Chad Finchum Garrison Homes Chevrolet Running
27 36 29 Blaine Perkins To The Point Apparel Ford Running
28 33 4 Dawson Cram (R) Prolube Oil Chevrolet Running
29 35 6 Garrett Smithley Chevrolet Running
30 22 42 Leland Honeyman (R) RANDCO Industries Chevrolet Running
31 10 31 Parker Retzlaff FUNKAWAY Chevrolet Running
32 29 28 Kyle Sieg RSS Racing Ford Running
33 28 07 Patrick Emerling Liberty Brew Chevrolet Running
34 23 8 Sammy Smith TMC Chevrolet Running
35 4 16 AJ Allmendinger LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet Running
36 32 15 Hailie Deegan (R) Airbox Ford Accident
37 19 51 Jeremy Clements Alliance Driveway Solutions Chevrolet Running
38 20 43 Ryan Ellis Classic Collison Chevrolet Driveshaft


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