Justin Allgaier dominates in the desert to win XFINITY affair

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Justin Allgaier won Saturday’s crash-filled DC Solar 200 race at Phoenix Raceway, and with it a $100,000 bonus for winning the first of four NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash-4-Cash races.

Allgaier led 85 of 200 laps as he drove his JR Motorsports Chevrolet to victory, winning for the first time in 80 races, dating back to Montreal in 2012.

“Last year was tough,” Allgaier said after the race. “You know, we had really good runs all year and never were able to get to Victory Lane. But these guys fought hard. We have the same group guys we had last year, and to be able to do it here at Phoenix — obviously first race for XFINITY Dash-4-Cash.”

It was a big day for JR Motorsports, which had all four of it drivers finish in the top 10.

“This is a team effort,” said Allgaier. “We had four really good JR Motorsports hot rods today. And how cool is it to get a Camaro in Victory Lane here at Phoenix?”

Ryan Blaney finished second in a Team Penske Ford, followed by Erik Jones in a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and Allgaier’s teammate, rookie William Byron.

“We had a great long run car, spectacular after about 30-35 laps,” said Blaney. “After that it just kept getting better. Unfortunately we didn’t have any long runs at the end. It played into his (Allgaier’s) hands.”

It was a messy afternoon of racing in Phoenix, marked by nine cautions in just 200 laps.

Byron started from the pole, but it was first Jones and then Allgaier who moved to the front.

Jones led at Lap 60, the conclusion of the first stage in the 200-lap race. All told, Jones led 51 of the first 60 laps.

After the second stage began, Austin Dillon jumped into the lead, ahead of Allgaier and Jones. But soon, it was Allgaier back out front.

At Lap 110, 10 laps before the end of the second stage, it was Blaney who took the lead in his Team Penske Ford and that’s the way it stayed at the end of that stage, Blaney ahead of Allgaier, Dillon and Sadler.

When the track went green to start the final stage, it was Dillon who was out front, ahead of Allgaier and Blaney. But after another caution, Allgaier reassumed the point with 62 laps to go.

Following a restart on Lap 164, Allgaier and Jones waged a tremendous battle for the lead, with Allgaier holding sway.

Then after Drew Herring spun, Jones went back out front when the track went green on Lap 174. But Allgaier and Blaney were right on his tail, with Sadler not far behind in fourth.

With 18 laps to go, Allgaier got under Jones in Turn 2 to retake the lead. Soon after, Blake Koch hit the wall, sending the track yellow yet again.

The green flew with 12 to go, but then Cole Custer punted Austin Dillon into the wall. Dillon showed his displeasure by running into Custer under yellow, earning himself and crew chief Justin Alexander a visit to the NASCAR hauler.

That brought out a red flag for 5 minutes and 5 seconds, and set up a four-lap shootout for the win.

 

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