Allgaier comes home and races to 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.
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 sevenrace 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.”
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.
Allgaier’s parents, in-laws, cousins and other friends and family celebrated with him in the post-race party. But the moment was truly capped when his 4-year-old daughter was with him for the first time in victory lane.
“I hope she realizes at an older age just how special that moment is,” he said.
Dominant Vettel takes pole for Singapore GP
SINGAPORE » Sebastian Vettel showed his mastery of the Marina Bay circuit to take pole position on Saturday for the Singapore Grand Prix, while championship rival Lewis Hamilton struggled throughout and finished fifth.
Max Verstappen qualified in second place ahead of Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo, with Kimi Raikkonen steering his Ferrari to fourth place ahead of Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Justin Allgaier celebrates with his crew in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Saturday.