Race Weekend Central

Xfinity Breakdown: Ryan Truex Conquers Dover, Miles the Monster Causes Mayhem

Ryan Truex went back-to-back at Dover Motor Speedway, winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ BetRivers 200 Saturday (April 27).

Unlike last year, though, he didn’t dominate the race. Not even close. 

Truex led just two laps, the last two of the second overtime. He took the lead away from Carson Kvapil and sailed out to a commanding lead when the caution came out for an accident on the frontstretch on the final lap.

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It was Truex’s second career victory in the Xfinity Series, with both coming at the Monster Mile.

Kvapil took second, Sam Mayer was third, Sheldon Creed finished fourth and Cole Custer rounded out the top five.

Winners

Truex wasn’t even in contention for most of the race. However, he avoided all the crashes that came within the last 30-plus laps, including one for Austin Hill in the first overtime. That one allowed for the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing driver to restart on the front row alongside Kvapil.

When overtime number two went green, Truex hung on the bottom, racing with the No. 88 until he took full control of the lead. As Justin Allgaier crashed on the frontstretch, Truex took the yellow and checkered flags.

Truex became the third different winner driving the No. 20 in Xfinity, with John Hunter Nemechek winning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Aric Almirola dominating Martinsville Speedway. It’s a testament to just how good JGR’s equipment is when its drivers can finish seventh or better in seven of the first 10 races.

Kvapil, meanwhile, nearly got his first Xfinity win and likely would have if the caution didn’t come out for a sliding Hill. He still led 14 laps, though, and has earned two top fives in just two career starts. Some drivers just have a special talent, and it seems that Kvapil is one of them.

JR Motorsports has a knack for finding those kinds of drivers, like when Josh Berry claimed his first win at Martinsville in 2021. Look where he is now: in the No. 4 car of Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series. For Kvapil, the sky’s the limit for his talent as he keeps learning and growing in his race craft.

Creed also jockeyed for the win in the closing laps, but Kvapil took Creed and Hill three-wide on the bottom, and Creed slipped back. He still recovered to finish fourth, his fourth top five and sixth top 10 of the season. The California native has now earned back-to-back top 10s, which isn’t easy considering last week’s came at Talladega.

Custer is a candidate for Mr.-Where-Did-He-Come-From with his fifth-place finish. I mean, really, he was mired back in traffic and was in the teens with about 30 laps to go. He had pitted from the lead for four tires after the red flag for rain was lifted, and it seemed he wouldn’t even be able to get back into the top 10.

Those fresher tires came in handy, though, and as several drivers wrecked and spun in front of him, Custer drove through the mayhem to get fifth.

Lastly, I’d like to highlight the underdogs, starting with Dash 4 Cash winner Anthony Alfredo. Yep, you read that right. Fast Pasta avoided all the carnage to come home ninth. Other drivers in the running for the $100,000 fell back throughout the race. It didn’t look like Alfredo would get it, though, as Riley Herbst was still in front of him (albeit only a few spots). But around lap 194, Herbst’s car went around in traffic and slid down the banking, causing a large crash.

Alfredo has had two great weekends in a row, which is huge for a small team like Our Motorsports. That money will go a long way to help the team be even more competitive, so his peers need to watch out.

Other underdogs that had good days were Kyle Weatherman, who finished in eighth, Jordan Anderson Racing’s Parker Retzlaff in 10th and Jeb Burton in 11th, Ryan Ellis in 13th and Jeremy Clements in 14th. All of these drivers needed a good finish, especially JAR. In fact, this was Retzlaff’s first top 10 since Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Losers

It sure seems like Herbst has some rotten luck, as he was running in the top 10 before he got out of shape and slid around. It was similar to his outcome at Martinsville, though at that time he crashed on the next-to-last lap. I’m sure he’s hoping his bad luck turns around at Darlington Raceway in two weeks.

Hill also slid around near the end of the race, but in his case, he was on the bottom and skidded on the apron for the most part. It borught out the caution once again, and in the end, he finished 15th. It’s definitely a what-could-have-been moment for the Georgia native, who has two wins so far this year.

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Put Allgaier in the same boat as Herbst and Hill, only instead of having a clean (or mostly clean) car, he ended up with a lot of damage after crashing on the last lap. Allgaier was very frustrated after that race, and rightfully so. From not restarting on the top lane to falling back with older tires and eventually hitting  the wall, it wasn’t a good ending for the No. 7. I don’t think he’ll give Miles the Monster a Christmas card this year.

Joining the above is Brandon Jones, who, you guessed it, spun around. His spin was soon after the race went back to green, and it wasn’t even his own fault. AJ Allmendinger bounced off the wall and into Jones, which sent the No. 9 around. Nineteenth isn’t where the polesitter wanted to end his race.

Some other notable drivers with poor finishes were Jesse Love, who cut a tire after contact from Truex and went two laps down, and RSS Racing/Viking Motorsports. Love felt like he had one of the best, if not the best, car at Dover but didn’t have a lot to show for it, finishing 24th.

RSS’ drivers just were bitten by Miles the Monster; Ryan Sieg exited the race around lap 26 with a huge fire. It reminded me of Jordan Anderson‘s fire at Talladega in the Craftsman Truck Series. Thankfully, Sieg got out of there right away.

Blaine Perkins had an electrical fire occur while under a later caution, which also ended his day early. Matt DiBenedetto also finished in the 30s, while Kyle Sieg was caught up in a late incident with Sammy Smith and finished 27th. 

Needless to say, RSS is putting Dover in the rear view.  

Fuel for Thought

Dover was one of those strange races with a lot to unpack. While several underdogs had good days, others did not.

Such was the case for JJ Yeley, who finished last after crashing out early due to some contact between Hailie Deegan and Dawson Cram. Yeley was not pleased with Cram after the race.

It’s certainly something to watch for in the next few races that Cram is in the No. 4 JD Motorsports car. Will there continue to be incidents that he’s involved in? We’ll find out.

Another thing I’d like to highlight is NASCAR’s handling of the weather. NASCAR halted the race for rain and brought the cars to pit road. However, the drivers remained in their cars rather than getting out. It seemed like NASCAR really wanted the race to finish.

This was especially the case after the red flag was lifted. It was obvious that sprinkles were still falling throughout much of the final 30-some laps, as both the outside cameras in the turns and the onboard cameras had some raindrops on them. Yet NASCAR kept the cars going. Was it the vortex theory in action?

I don’t know exactly why the cars kept spinning around, like Hill and Herbst, but if the rain played a factor, that’s not a good look on NASCAR. Look at what happened at Daytona International Speedway when rain came and the cars hit it and crashed together. Safety is important.

On the other hand, it did make for an exciting race.

One other thing that was noteworthy was Allgaier not getting the top lane on a restart and extending the caution period when he tried to go where Hill was. This was a bit confusing and the broadcast didn’t exactly explain it very well. Hopefully we don’t see a similar situation in the future.

Where to Next

Xfinity teams have a week off and are back at the track on Saturday, May 11, for throwback weekend. The Crown Royal Purple Bag Project 200 at Darlington Raceway is set to run at 1:30 p.m. ET and air on FS1.

Kyle Larson won this race last year, while Denny Hamlin won the fall event. Of note, in the last four Xfinity races at Darlington, the winner began the race within the top three positions.

About the author

Joy joined Frontstretch in 2019 as a NASCAR DraftKings writer, expanding to news and iRacing coverage in 2020. She's currently an assistant editor and involved with photos, social media and news editing. A California native, Joy was raised as a motorsports fan and started watching NASCAR extensively in 2001. She earned her B.A. degree in Liberal Studies at California State University Bakersfield in 2010.

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