Race Weekend Central

Justin Allgaier Dominates at Darlington for 1st Win of 2024

Justin Allgaier dominated the field at Darlington Raceway in Saturday’s (May 11) Crown Royal Purple Bag Project 200, leading 115 of 147 laps and sweeping all three stages for his third win at Darlington and his first of the 2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series season. This victory was the 24th of Allgaier’s Xfinity Series career and tied him with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tommy Ellis for 10th on the all-time Xfinity win list. Allgaier also set the mark for the most career Xfinity Series top 10s, with 267.

“It means a lot,” Allgaier said after the race. “I didn’t know if the day would come that I’d be able to match Dale Jr. Not only is he a great boss, but a really good mentor and an unbelievable race car driver. Dale Jr. is an incredible human being. To come here, to be able to tie him, to take over the all-time [top] 10s – man, there’s nothing better than that.”

Austin Hill crossed the line second after running there for most of the race, leading only six laps. Hill finished 3.407 seconds behind the No. 7.

“I just couldn’t get into turn one on restarts like I really needed to all day, and I think a lot of it is just me,” Hill said. “I just got to figure out what to do differently getting into turn one. I did really good on my launches. That’s something that I struggled with where I’ll buzz the tires late in the zone and didn’t do that all day. I felt pretty good about my restarts. When I’d get down into [turn] one, I would always get tight. There was a few times I got on the splitter and stuff, but more so than anything, I got to do a better job in the race car.”

Cole Custer battled back from a slow pit stop on the competition caution to take third in his Johnny Sauter throwback Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing. Sam Mayer and Aric Almirola completed the top five.

Parker Kligerman, Riley Herbst, Jesse Love, Sheldon Creed and Brandon Jones rounded out the top 10.

Custer inherited the pole position after qualifying Friday (May 10) was rained out. Custer shot to the lead and maintained it for the first 20-lap run while William Byron, who started at the rear of the field, scraped the wall significantly and had to pit. He fell three laps down, eventually battling back to finish 11th.

Custer had a very slow stop due to an air gun failure, and Hill took control of the lead out of pit road. However, on the first restart of the day, Allgaier took the lead restarting on the bottom and pulled away from the No. 21 to win the stage.

Mayer, AJ Allmendinger and Kligerman completed the stage one top five.

Hill again gained the lead off of pit road and was once again unable to hold the lead as Allgaier passed on the high side in turns one and two, and once again, the No. 7 stayed up front in an incident-free stage two.

Hill retained second over a hard-charging Kligerman, and Mayer and Almirola crossed the line fourth and fifth respectively to end stage two.

Allgaier resumed his lead with Hill pressuring the No. 7. Hill drew side-by-side with Allgaier on the backstretch on lap 101, but the first caution for incident flew as Hailie Deegan‘s left rear tire exploded, sending her No. 15 Dale Earnhardt throwback Ford for a spin.

Allmendinger had an electrical problem with his No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet, sending his car laps down. He couldn’t get his car up to speed after the restart.

Most of the leaders stayed out on track instead of taking tires. Kligerman was the first with four fresh tires as Allgaier continued to lead over Almirola.

Kligerman climbed to sixth before the caution flew once more on lap 123, when Parker Retzlaff‘s engine blew. The motor laid oil on the track and caused Kyle Sieg to spin in turn one, setting up the final pit stops for the whole field.

Allgaier won the race off pit road over his teammate Mayer, pulling away on a restart with 16 laps to go on to win at Darlington.

The Xfinity Series will return on Saturday, May 25 at 1 p.m. ET at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the BetMGM 300. Coverage will be provided by FOX.

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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