Finishing 13th sure doesn’t sound like the result of a NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash winner, does it?
But Justin Allgaier came home in that spot on Saturday (April 1) at Richmond Raceway and claimed the $100,000, finishing ahead of competitors Sam Mayer (17th), Sammy Smith (19th) and Daniel Hemric (24th). It was Allgaier’s fifth overall Dash 4 Cash win in his career and first since 2018. The series veteran also claimed the prize at Richmond in 2017.
He called it the “weirdest” Dash 4 Cash win of his career, given that he finished more than a third of the way back in the field.
“It is a big deal,” Allgaier said, “not only to myself to be that guy, but to also give that money back into the race team and help make these racecars better and better every week. I’ve changed my approach, I would say, to the Dash 4 Cash of being more excited when you have the opportunity to go for it and we have the opportunity to win it.”
Practice and qualifying were both rained out, giving Allgaier the pole based on NASCAR metrics. He quickly fell to fifth by lap 10 and out of the top 10 entirely by the lap-35 competition caution. He then made his way back and made a call to come to pit road with less than 50 laps remaining.
Allgaier was making up significant time with the laps winding down, but a series of cautions put an end to any chance the No. 7 had of carving his way back to the top five. He ended up 13th, but it was good enough.
“We made good strides in the balance, but we weren’t the best car,” Allgaier said. “I think, for us, the way green-flag runs have been going, we thought it was probably going to stay green until the end and everybody was going to have to come [and pit]. And getting that second, second-and-a-half that we were getting on the fresh tires, I felt like would have netted us — probably — to the lead.
“At that point, you just try to hang on to it. […] I’m gonna be honest with you, nerves were up a little bit at the end there, especially with those guys having tires and Sam getting the lucky dog with two cautions to go and then Sammy [Smith] getting it on the last caution.”
Smith was mired back after a strategy call to save a set of tires dropped both he and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate John Hunter Nemechek like rocks through the field after the competition caution as they were the only two cars to attempt to make it almost 40 more laps on old tires. Nemechek went a lap down but scored the free pass, while Smith never fully recovered.
“Ultimately, the guys did a great job,” Allgaier said. “We had great pit stops all day, we made good adjustments. Like I said, we just needed to fire off a little bit better to start the race and I feel like that, if we were in a better position, I don’t think we would have been gambling. But being in the position we were in, and we were kind of bleeding a little bit there, we needed to try to make the most of it. That was the best call.”
Allgaier expanded on the strangeness of winning a six-figure check. despite finishing outside the top 10.
“Matt Lederer from Xfinity and I have a running joke now because the race here in Richmond, we dominated that race and a late-race caution came out,” he said. “Somebody stayed out […] [and] it was like a snowball effect. I ended up, I think, third that day and won the Dash 4 Cash.”
“I literally went into the ceremony for the Dash 4 Cash beyond frustrated, like I was fuming mad at how the whole thing went down. Matt’s like ‘man, I’ve never seen somebody so angry that I just gave a $100,000 check,’ and I was like, ‘you know what, you’re right.'”
This time, the 36-year-old finished 10 spots lower.
“Today was weird, though, because of how we all finished,” he added. “Given the same circumstances of a year ago, two years ago, three years ago, 13th wasn’t going to win the Dash 4 Cash. Today it did — I guess in that regard, it’s great, but I would love for it to be up there battling for a win.
“If you run second and lose the Dash 4 Cash, you’re upset, but if you run 13th and win it, that’s just really odd. So, I’m going to smile all the way to the bank on this one.”
About the author
Adam Cheek joined Frontstretch as a contributing writer in January 2019. A 2020 graduate of VCU, he works as a producer and talent for Audacy Richmond's radio stations. In addition to motorsports journalism, Adam also covered and broadcasted numerous VCU athletics for the campus newspaper and radio station during his four years there. He's been a racing fan since the age of three, inheriting the passion from his grandfather, who raced in amateur events up and down the East Coast in the 1950s.
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