Allgaier pulls away for Xfinity victory
JOLIET, ILL. » Justin Allgaier threw a victory bash in front of his home-state fans.
Allgaier pulled away off the final restart and won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway.
Allgaier, from nearby Riverton, won for the second time this season in NASCAR’s second-tier series. JR Motorsports had a banner day with Allgaier’s win and the official coronation of Elliott Sadler’s regular-season championship.
“This is a race track I’ve loved dearly for a number of years,” Allgaier said. “The whole connection of being from Illinois and getting to go to victory lane was incredible.”
William Byron and Michael Annett give JR Motorsports four drivers in the Xfinity Series playoffs. Byron, who will replace Kasey Kahne in the No. 5 car next year at Hendrick Motorsports, enters the postseason as the points leader.
“If we have the opportunity to compete against each other at Homestead, once the green flag drops, it’s every man for himself,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said.
Xfinity opens its postseason next week at Kentucky Speedway.
The rest of the playoff standings look like this: Allgaier, Sadler, Daniel Hemric, Brennan Poole, Ryan Reed, Jeremy Clements, Cole Custer, Blake Koch, Matt Tifft, Brendan Gaughan and Annett.
Byron has three wins this season and should be the driver to beat in the seven-race postseason. But his No. 9 Chevrolet battled transmission issues and he finished 33rd. Earnhardt said he wasn’t picking a favorite among his championship drivers.
“These guys work really well together,” Earnhardt said. “The crew chiefs all have a close relationship that goes beyond JR Motorsports. I think that’s why we’re so successful, because of the way they work together.”
Cup regular Kyle Larson was second at Chicagoland.
“I was too loose to keep pace,” Larson said.
The 42-year-old Sadler has finished second in the final standings three times over an Xfinity career that dates to 1995. He thought he had the car to beat headed into last year’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway until his crew chief was suspended for the race. Daniel Suarez would become NASCAR’s first Mexican champion.
Justin Allgaier celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Xfinity Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. on Saturday.