PHOENIX – Justin Allgaier, driver of the No. 7 BRANDT Chevrolet, may have run the race of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in Saturday's DC Solar 200. Not only did he take home the victory at Phoenix Raceway in dominant fashion by leading 85 of the 200 laps, but he also won $100,000 in the first NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash race of the 2017 season.
"Last year was tough," said Allgaier, 30, who averaged 91.013 mph. "We had really good runs all year and were never able to get to Victory Lane, but these guys fought hard, like the same group of guys that we had last year. These guys didn't give up, the pit crew did awesome; they gave me great pit stops. I knew it was going to come down to a short run at the end and I knew we had the car. We just needed a restart at the end, and we got that."
This was Allgaier's 18th start at Phoenix Raceway and first win. His previous best finish in the Valley of the Sun was second place in 2012. He had four top-5s and eight top 10s going into Saturday's race.
The race featured fresh faces at the front of the field, as Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regulars with five or more years of experience are ineligible for Dash 4 Cash races, which were designed to showcase the talents of XFINITY series regulars and make them more familiar to race fans. This meant powerhouses like Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano could not run. But there were five younger Cup drivers in the race, including Ryan Blaney, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford, who finished second, and Erik Jones, driver of the No. 20 Reser's Main St Bistro Toyota, who was third.
"I thought the Discount Tire Ford Mustang was really good on long runs," said Blaney, 23, who finished second by just 0.741 of a second. "Unfortunately, we didn’t get any of those at the end. The No. 7 was spectacular on short runs, so it just kind of played into his hands. We had a shot at it, just not quite enough. This team is getting really close (to victory)."
In addition to Allgaier, the four Dash 4 Cash finalists today included William Byron, driver of the No. 9 Axalta/Ameristar Chevrolet, Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 1 OneMain Financial Chevrolet and Tyler Reddick, driver of the No. 42 Broken Bow Records Chevrolet. The four finalists were determined as they were the top qualifiers following the first two stages of the race.
Three of the four full-time JR Motorsport drivers finished in the top five. Allgaier was accompanied by William Byron, driver of the No. 9 Axalta/Ameristar Chevrolet, who won the pole and finished fourth and Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 1 OneMain Financial Chevrolet, who finished fifth. The other JR Motorsports entry, Michael Annett, driver of the No. 5 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet, finished ninth.
Allgaier had to endure many late restarts before claiming victory, including an incident involving No. 2 Austin Dillon, No. 00 Cole Custer and No. 39 Ryan Sieg. Contact between Custer and Dillon triggered the wreck, and Dillon retaliated under caution. He was subsequently parked by NASCAR.
There were nine total cautions, including two for the end of the first two stages.
Tomorrow's feature event -- the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 500 -- gets the green flag at 12:30 p.m., local time.
About Phoenix Raceway
Since 1964, Phoenix Raceway has been the premier motorsports venue in the Southwest. Founded as an open-wheel racing mecca, Phoenix Raceway is proud to once again host the Phoenix Grand Prix Verizon IndyCar Series race under the lights on April 29. Phoenix is the only track in the West to feature two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekends a year, beginning with the Camping World 500 race weekend in March 17-19. The schedule is anchored by the upcoming Can-Am 500 race weekend on Nov. 10-12, the semifinal race in NASCAR’s Playoffs after which the field is reduced to the final four championship contenders. For more information, visitwww.PhoenixRaceway.com.
Story Courtesy: Aimee Dulebohn of PIR.
Story Courtesy: Aimee Dulebohn of PIR.