Xfinity Win at COTA Adds to Allmendinger Road-Racing Legacy

AUSTIN, Texas — What began as a duel between AJ Allmendinger and Ross Chastain turned into an Allmendinger clinic in the final green-flag race of the Xfinity Series race at Circuit of the Americas. Allmendinger led 27 of the 46 laps and crossed the checkered flag more than three seconds ahead of second-placed Austin Hill.

Hill, Cole Custer and JRM teammates Noah Gragson and Sam Mayer rounded out the top five. It was an eventful race, with some drivers leaving with smiles and others with frowns. With that, let’s start with the drivers who had a good time in Austin.

winners

With as dominant a race as he had, all repairman he was clearly the overall winner of today’s Pit Boss 250. The race was Allmendinger’s first Xfinity victory in 2022 and 11th overall, extending an Xfinity Series record with his seventh road course victory. Additionally, Allmendinger now sits one point behind Gragson for the Xfinity Series points lead, and has posted top-10 finishes in all six races in 2022.

Further down the group, runner-up hill it also had a much-needed solid finish. With Atlanta Motor Speedway becoming a de facto superspeedway, Hill’s best results came in the two superspeedway races at Daytona International Speedway and Atlanta. Beyond those two races, however, Hill’s best finish was a 17th at Phoenix Raceway. Second place in COTA now earns him two second place finishes in a row, and he now sits sixth in the series points. Not a bad comeback for someone who was 11th in the points just two weekends ago. front straight he caught up with Hill after the race.

After starting the season at the Daytona catchfence, Myatt Snider luck was not on his side. He blew out a tire while running in the top 10 at Auto Club and had a rear-casing issue while running second on an overtime restart at Atlanta. Snider put an end to all early season woes with a sixth-place finish, his first top-10 finish of the season and the first for Jordan Anderson Racing. Snider currently sits 23rd in series points due to his slow start, but today was absolutely a step in the right direction for him and the No. 31 team.

losers

For a team that had expectations of winning, joe gibbs racing He was one of the biggest losers.

Ty Gibbs won pole and was one of the fastest cars on stage one. However, he suffered a puncture at the beginning of the second stage and was forced to stop under the green. Gibbs was never able to recover from the mistake and finished 15th at the end.

For teammate Bubba Wallace, he too showed speed on stage one as he moved from 15th into the top five. However, Wallace began to slip out of second gear midway through the second stage and free-falled from a top-10 finish to a 28th-place finish.

While JR Motorsports had Gragson and Mayer finish in the top five, joseph berry and Justin Algaier they weren’t so lucky. Berry received significant damage to the hood of his car on lap 1 and then spun on the final stage of the race. He finished 27.

For Allgaier, his teammate Gragson spun on lap 3 and spent the rest of the race trying to catch up. He earned valuable stage points by staying on track at the end of the stages, but dropped to 33rd by the end of the day. After posting a 16-race streak of top-10 finishes, Allgaier is now on a two-race streak of top-30 finishes.

jeb burton and jeremy clementes They were running third and fourth, respectively, with five laps to go. However, both cut corners on the race track and were black flagged. For both drivers who don’t get much of a chance to challenge for the lead, top-five performances were lost by just two seconds.

Finally, DGR Racing was having a professional career: Ross Chastain he led 14 laps and was on pace for a team-best finish in the Xfinity Series. Behind Chastain, Alex Labbe he was also running in the back half of the top 10 with a solid performance of his own.

Unfortunately for DGR, what was shaping up to be his best day of racing was gone. Chastain spun from second on the final restart and could only manage a 17th-place finish after dropping to 31st. And while running in the top 10, Labbe began to develop rear-gear problems and went behind the wall with five laps to go, achieving a 36th place finish.

outline of the week

It has been used in both the Cup Series and Xfinity Series for Joe Gibbs Racing since 2020, but has become an instant classic on the race track every time it is run. The green Interstate Batteries car has already been made iconic by 2000 Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte, but Gibbs’ scheme in the race also harkens back to the scheme used by Kyle Busch from 2008 to 2010. Flashes of lightning bolts on the hood and sides of the car give it an electric look (no pun intended), and it catches the eye of drivers and spectators alike as it zips around the track.

The playoff hole

The Xfinity Series has now seen four series regulars win in the first six races: Hill at Daytona, Gibbs at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Atlanta, Gragson at Phoenix and now Allmendinger at COTA.

Though it’s early days to discuss the regular season championship, Gragson, Allmendinger and Gibbs have started to develop a gap in the rest of the field; Allmendinger is one point behind Gragson, while Gibbs is 31 behind and fourth place Allgaier is 68 behind.

Berry, Hill, Brandon Jones and Daniel Hemric occupy the center of the current playoff grid, while Mayer (+27), Ryan Sieg (+16), Sheldon Creed (+14) and Riley Herbst (+10) are in the middle. bubble. . On the outside looking in are Brandon Brown (-10), Landon Cassill (-17), Anthony Alfredo (-17) and Brett Moffitt (-19).

The season is still young and there are 20 races left before the playoff grid is set. Therefore, these positions will constantly fluctuate as the season progresses.

fuel for thought

Allmendinger cruised to victory in the last six laps, in part because his closest rival, Chastain, was sidelined on a restart. But before that, Gibbs and Chastain engaged in constant battles for leadership before the tide turned to battles between Chastain and Allmendinger. Unlike last year, there was action up front for most of the race. So what was the difference between this year and last year?

Kyle Bush. COTA was one of Busch’s five Xfinity starts in 2021, and nobody got to touch it. In the race, he led 35 of the 46 laps, had the fastest lap on 24 of the 39 green-flag laps and won by more than 11 seconds. Busch’s utter dominance led to a pretty mundane show for COTA’s first NASCAR race in dry conditions. Perhaps today’s race showed that when the cars are on more even ground, the circuit is capable of hosting some entertaining events.

Where to next?

The Xfinity Series will head to Richmond Raceway for the first short track of the season on Saturday, April 2 at 1:30 p.m. ET, with television coverage provided by FOX Sports 1.

Xfinity’s most recent race at Richmond last September was a competitive showing up front, as no driver led more than 67 laps in the 250-lap race. Xfinity Series points leader Gragson took the win last summer, and he will look to repeat and increase his points lead as the rest of the field looks to catch up after his red-hot start in 2022.

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