RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Justin Allgaier didn't panic when a late caution made a more-than 9-second lead evaporate. The way he figured, he'd pulled away once and could do it again.
Allgaier grabbed control again on a restart with 13 laps to go to complete a sweep of a NASCAR Xfinity series doubleheader weekend at Richmond Raceway on Saturday.
“I knew how good our car was all day,” Allgaier said after hs third victory of the season, all coming in the last six races. “I knew we had speed and I knew when we needed to go, we could.”
Allgaier, who lost the lead when he had trouble on a previous restart, had no such issues starting on the inside with teammate Jeb Burton to his outside and Ross Chastain behind him. He quickly moved in front and pulled away in a dominant performance.
The weekend sweep came after he arrived at Richmond winless in 18 prior starts.
Burton held on for second, followed by Chastain, Harrison Burton and Justin Haley. Even with no fans in the stands, Allgaier celebrated with a burnout at the start-finish line.
Austin Cindric never contended, but clinched the regular season championship.
“I had a very frustrating day,” he said while noting that when his team gathered before the season, each member set three goals.
“My number one was the regular season championship,” he said. “From the outside looking in, maybe that was a lofty goal but we've got a lot of speed and a lot of fight and I'm really proud of that effort.”
Cindric ran up front on Friday night, but was less of a factor on Saturday.
“We can’t have days like today, especially if we get to make it to the Championship Four., he said of the series playoffs, which start after the next race at Bristol on Friday. "A lot of emotions right now but at the end of the day it is mission accomplished for sure.”
Two drivers, Riley Herbst and Ryan Sieg, qualified for playoff berths in the race, leaving just one spot in the 12-driver postseason field to be decided next week at Bristol.
The finish was a career-best for Jeb Burton, who is driving part-time this season.
“Being that close, I wish I could have stayed on (Allgaier's) door maybe a little bit better. I think I could have ran side-by-side with him for a couple laps, but he was better." he said.
The late caution came because of an incident between Riley Herbst and Brandon Brown. By then, Allgaier had sailed to a lead of more than 9.4 seconds, or the complete backstretch of the 0.75-mile, D-shaped Richmond oval.
Allgaier, who led three times for 135 laps, won the 75-lap first stage after passing Noah Gragson ith 29 laps to go in the stage. It was his 10th stage win of the season, tyng him with Cindric for the series lead. He almost won the second stage, too, after leading most of the way, but Chastain used a late caution to stop for tires while Allgaier stayed on the track, and Chastain led a parade that easily zipped by Allgaier under a green flag.
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