LINCOLN, Ala. – After biding his time in Stages 1 and 2 of Saturday’s Sparks 300, Landon Cassill was in prime position to score his first NASCAR Xfinity Series win.
Placing 20th in the race’s opening two segments, the 33-year-old Cedar Rapids, Iowa native was in the mix for the victory with JR Motorsports’ Sam Mayer and his Kaulig Racing teammate AJ Allmendinger.
Cassill, a savvy superspeedway racer, showcased patience, poise and determination in his No. 10 Voyager: Crypto for All Chevrolet Camaro. Consider that Cassill placed fifth in the spring race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Beyond his adept skills at a mammoth superspeedway like Talaldega, he illustrated some loyalty to Allmendinger in the waning laps.
Given how frequent large runs occur toward Talladega’s unique stripe location, Cassill turned to his veteran experience, ready to leap if the opportunity was there for a win.
While it was all for naught, as far as the victory was concerned, Cassill, after a stroll to celebrate Allmendinger’s win, managed his trademark smile in his post-race interview.
All things considered, a third place result is not a bad day in the office for Cassill and his No. 10 team.
“I was wanting that split to happen,” Cassill said to NBC NASCAR’s Kim Coon. “I thought that if I found a hole with that backstretch split or even through the tri-oval that the hole would’ve opened itself up for me.
“But I gave AJ that push through the tri oval and he was able to make his move. I was boxed in at that point. I couldn’t really make anything (happen).”
Sometimes, like a hard fought game of chess, a challenger has to make do with the few options around.
Earning a podium finish at Talladega is not an easy feat, a realization not lost with Cassill.
“It’s always good when you can see the leader that close to the finish line,” he observed. “That last run, it was just single file.”
In fact, Cassill crossed his fingers that the lead pack would remain in this formation. A single file formation would likely reduce the number of contenders duking it out for the win, especially with who could hold their own around this daring superspeedway.
Alas, Cassill chimed in about his hopes for such a common sight in the waning laps of a Talladega race.
“We ran as fast as Xfinity internet,” he shared. “I wanted to stay single file like that. It’s like, ‘Hey, let’s drop off as many of these cars and have a small of a pack at end as we can.'”
Perhaps Allmendinger may repay the favor to Cassill in a future race. In the process, it just might prove to be an emotional, popular victory for one of NASCAR’s well balanced and grounded racers in the Xfinity garage.