XFT: Justin Allgaier finishes off dominating Xfinity win at Darlington

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DARLINGTON, S.C. — Justin Allgaier finally beat Murphy’s Law to the checkered flag in Saturday’s Crown Royal Purple Bag Project 200 at Darlington Raceway.

This time, there were no bizarre circumstances to keep the driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet out of Victory lane, like the late cut tire that deprived Allgaier of a near-certain win at Phoenix in the fourth race of the season.

After crossing the finish line 3.407 seconds ahead of runner-up Austin Hill, Allgaier had his first victory of the season, his third at the Lady in Black and the 24th of his career, tying him with his car owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., for 10th most in NASCAR Xfinity Series history.

Allgaier, 37, also leaves Darlington as the career leader in top-10 finishes in the series with 267, having broken a tie with Kyle Busch in that statistical category.

“I just wanted (spotter) Eddie (D’Hondt) to call ‘White flag,'” said Allgaier, who had led laps in seven of 10 events this season without winning. “We’ve had such a heck of a year. We’ve led a ton of laps, and we haven’t been able to do it. …

“I think having a little gray hair today helped me out, though. Those long green-flag runs, and being able to know what’s worked in the past here. … I didn’t know if the day would come when I’d be able to match Dale Jr. Not only is he a great boss but a really good mentor.

“To come here and be able to tie him, to be able to take over the all-time top 10s, man, there’s nothing better.”

Hill, who led six laps to Allgaier’s 119 of 147, blamed himself for not being able to challenge his fellow Chevrolet driver for the victory.

“I just couldn’t get into Turn 1 on restarts like I really needed to all day,” said the driver of the No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Camaro. “It was just me. I’ve just got to figure out what to do differently getting into Turn 1.

“I did really good with my launches. That’s something that I struggled with here where I’d buzz the tires late in the zone. Didn’t do that all day — I felt pretty good about my restarts — but I would get down into (Turn) 1 and I’d get tight. …

“More than anything, I’ve just got to do a better job inside the race car. I thought we were just as good as the 7 all day. Congrats to those guys. We were just that little bit off today, and I think most of it was me.”

Polesitter Cole Custer recovered from a disastrous pit stop under an early competition caution to finish third, followed by Sam Mayer and Aric Almirola.

“Every time I get in this car, I plan to win and expect to win,” Almirola said. “Fifth is great, but I want to win — but Justin was so fast.”

Parker Kligerman, Riley Herbst, Sunoco rookie Jesse Love, Sheldon Creed and Brandon Jones completed the top 10. Rookie Shane van Gisbergen finished 15th in his first Darlington start. Carson Kvapil was 19th in his third race in the series and his first at Darlington.

Hill took the series lead by three points over Custer in second.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race — Crown Royal Purple Bag Project 200
Darlington Raceway
Darlington, South Carolina
Saturday, May 11, 2024

1. (7) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 147.
2. (5) Austin Hill, Chevrolet, 147.
3. (1) Cole Custer, Ford, 147.
4. (6) Sam Mayer, Chevrolet, 147.
5. (18) Aric Almirola, Toyota, 147.
6. (11) Parker Kligerman, Chevrolet, 147.
7. (9) Riley Herbst, Ford, 147.
8. (12) Jesse Love #, Chevrolet, 147.
9. (3) Sheldon Creed, Toyota, 147.
10. (14) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, 147.
11. (38) William Byron(i), Chevrolet, 147.
12. (2) Chandler Smith, Toyota, 147.
13. (26) Ryan Sieg, Ford, 147.
14. (8) Anthony Alfredo, Chevrolet, 147.
15. (17) Shane Van Gisbergen #, Chevrolet, 147.
16. (16) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 147.
17. (15) Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 147.
18. (24) Taylor Gray(i), Toyota, 147.
19. (13) Carson Kvapil, Chevrolet, 147.
20. (21) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 147.
21. (25) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 147.
22. (30) Josh Bilicki, Chevrolet, 147.
23. (34) John Hunter Nemechek(i), Toyota, 147.
24. (27) David Starr, Ford, 147.
25. (31) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 147.
26. (37) Chad Finchum, Chevrolet, 147.
27. (36) Blaine Perkins, Ford, 147.
28. (33) Dawson Cram #, Chevrolet, 147.
29. (35) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 146.
30. (22) Leland Honeyman #, Chevrolet, 146.
31. (10) Parker Retzlaff, Chevrolet, 146.
32. (29) Kyle Sieg, Ford, 146.
33. (28) Patrick Emerling, Chevrolet, 146.
34. (23) Sammy Smith, Chevrolet, 146.
35. (4) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 126.
36. (32) Hailie Deegan #, Ford, Accident, 102.
37. (19) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 94.
38. (20) Ryan Ellis, Chevrolet, Driveshaft, 71.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 110.567 mph.
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 48 Mins, 58 Secs. Margin of Victory: 3.407 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 5 for 31 laps.
Lead Changes: 5 among 4 drivers.
Lap Leaders: C. Custer 1-21;A. Allmendinger 22;A. Hill 23-25;J. Allgaier 26-49;A. Hill 50-52;J. Allgaier 53-147.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Justin Allgaier 2 times for 119 laps; Cole Custer 1 time for 21 laps; Austin Hill 2 times for 6 laps; AJ Allmendinger 1 time for 1 lap.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 7,21,1,16,48,81,20,2,98,18
Stage #2 Top Ten: 7,21,48,1,20,16,2,9,98,81

–By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service. Special to Field Level Media.

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