Race Weekend Central

Justin Allgaier Locks into Round of 8 with Xfinity Win at Bristol

After pitting late for fresh tires, Justin Allgaier battled to get his third win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season and advance into the Round of 8 at Bristol Motor Speedway Friday night (Sept. 15).

This victory is Allgaier’s 22nd of his Xfinity career.

“I owe a huge thank you to Jason Burdett,” Allgaier said. “This team has done such an amazing job at this racetrack since I started at JR Motorsports. We led a lot of laps. The pit strategy there coming down pit road all by myself, that was very nerve racking.”

With the win, Allgaier made a timely announcement regarding his future in NASCAR.

“I resigned this week to go back to JR Motorsports again for another year and we just haven’t announced it yet,” Allgaier said. “Y’all are stuck with me for another year at least in the No. 7 car.”

The extension to 2024 will keep Allgaier with JR Motorsports for his ninth year with the team.

Allgaier made his way by Daniel Hemric who stayed out on old tires to match his best finish for the season. Hemric finished 1.695 seconds behind Allgaier.

See also
Daniel Hemric Backs Up Cup Promotion With Xfinity Runner-Up

“Thought if I could hold the No. 7 off to get to that last little group of lap traffic, maybe I’d have a chance to at least keep him side by side, keep him honest to the checkered flag,” Hemric said. “I just started building more and more on top of the rubber. I just wanted so bad for these guys. Everyone at Kaulig Racing deserved it. Proud of our effort though. We came a long way over the course of 300 laps.”

John Hunter Nemechek was the highest finishing Toyota in third, while pole-sitter Cole Custer and Chandler Smith completed the top five.

Ryan Sieg rebounded from damage in a four-car pileup to finish sixth, while Trevor Bayne earned his season best finish of seventh.

Riley Herbst, Sammy Smith and Kaz Grala rounded out the top 10.

Custer led the field to the green flag and held the lead throughout the first stage, which went caution-free. This marked the first caution-free stage at Bristol in the Xfinity Series.

Custer was able to lap playoff contenders Sheldon Creed and Jeb Burton during the stage. They would rebound back to the lead lap with finishes of 11th for Creed and 13th for Burton.

Custer maintained the lead after the first pit stop, but by lap 109 of 300, Allgaier caught Custer and took the lead. He continued to run side-by-side with Custer for five laps before clearing him. However, he allowed his boss, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and teammate Brandon Jones to catch up to them.

Luckily for Allgaier, he was able to pull away from the pack until lap 147 when Connor Mosack got into the back of Joe Graf Jr., sending him spinning in front of Custer and Jones.

However, before the caution, Parker Kligerman, who was running around the top 10 had a problem with his wheel hub bringing him to the garage prematurely. He would return to the track to pick up a few spots from wrecked entries and finished 31st.

That split strategy between five of the playoff drivers and the field. Allgaier, Custer, Nemechek, S. Smith and Hill stayed out for a 17-lap shootout.

Allgaier held on to win the stage over Custer, but with three to go in the stage, JR Motorsports teammates Josh Berry got into Sam Mayer crashed in turn 1 along with Sieg and teammate Jones in a hard crash. Mayer and Berry finished 35th and 36th respectively.

Berry said it was a cut tire that sent the No. 8 up the hill into Mayer. Jones attempted to continue but he too was unable to finish the race.

After pit stops at the end of stage 2, Earnhardt assumed the lead to begin stage 3. This was the first time Earnhardt had led laps in the Xfinity Series since Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2020.

After a quick caution for Jeremy Clements and Graf spinning, Earnhardt extended his lead up to two seconds, the largest lead of the day, before running into lap traffic.

However, on lap 217, Richard Childress Racing teammates Austin Hill and Creed collided, sending Hill into the inside wall, causing heavy damage and ending the regular season champion’s night early, resulting in a finish of 33rd.

Hill declined media comment after he was released from the infield care center.

See also
RCR Teammates Hill, Creed Tangle at Bristol

This mixed up the running order once again, cycling Allgaier back in the lead along with Hemric and Sieg.

The battle for the lead started to intensify when Hemric, Earnhardt, and Nemechek caught Allgaier, but on lap 248, Josh Bilicki spun after contact with Rajah Caruth causing another caution.

Allgaier would duck into pit road, surrendering the lead to Hemric. Hemric was able to fend off Nemechek, who restarted on the bottom with him.

With about 30 laps to go Earnhardt’s car caught on fire while battling with the leaders and he had to exit the car on pit road. The owner of JR Motorsports finished 30th.

See also
Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s NASCAR Return Derailed By Late-Race Fire

While Earnhardt went to pit road, Allgaier made his way through the field on fresh tires and caught up to Hemric, The two engaged in about a 15-lap battle for the lead in which Allgaier made the pass on Hemric with 12 to go and secured his first win at Bristol since his first Xfinity win of his career in 2010.

Results of Xfinity Series Bristol Race

The Xfinity Series will continue to the second race in the Round of 12 deep in the heart of Texas Motor Speedway at 3:30 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by USA Network.

About the author

Wyatt Watson has been an avid fan of NASCAR since 2007 at the age of 8. He joined Frontstretch in February 2023 after serving in the United States Navy for five years as an Electronic Technician Navigation working on submarines. Wyatt writes breaking NASCAR news and contributes to columns such as Friday Faceoff and 2-Headed Monster. Wyatt also contributes to Frontstretch's social media and serves as an at-track reporter.

Wyatt Watson can be found on Twitter @WyattGametime

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