Vic­tory puts All­gaier in prime play­off po­si­tion

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - BASEBALL - DAVE KALLMANN

JOLIET, Ill. - One great restart gave Justin All­gaier the lead and a sec­ond gave him a vic­tory Saturday, cap­ping a ban­ner day for JR Mo­tor­sports in the TheHouse.com 300 at Chicagoland Speed­way.

When the NASCAR Xfin­ity Se­ries play­offs be­gin next Saturday at Kentucky Speed­way, the team will hold the top three seeds with rookie Wil­liam By­ron first, All­gaier sec­ond and reg­u­larsea­son points cham­pion El­liott Sadler third.

JRM has all four of its driv­ers in the play­offs with Michael An­nett seeded 12th.

“It’s ex­cit­ing to have cars this com­pet­i­tive,” said team co-owner Dale Earn­hardt Jr. “You have to re­mind your­self to ear­lier times when it was re­ally hard to run in the top three, re­ally hard to win races.

“We’ve got a great group of peo­ple now, a lot of tal­ent, a lot of abil­ity be­hind these guys.”

All but three of the 12 play­off spots were clinched be­fore the green flag waved Saturday by virtue of ei­ther vic­to­ries or points. An­nett, Blake Koch, and Gaughan, who held those three po­si­tions be­fore the race, kept them.

Mon­ster En­ergy Cup reg­u­lar Kyle Lar­son grabbed sec­ond from Sadler at the white flag. Daniel Hem­ric fin­ished fourth and Austin Dil­lon fifth.

By­ron, the se­ries leader with three vic­to­ries, was knocked out of con­tention early Saturday by a trans­mis­sion fail­ure.

All­gaier’s vic­tory was his sec­ond of the sea­son and fifth of his ca­reer. A na­tive of River­ton, Ill., also won at Chicagoland in 2011 in a race de­cided on gas mileage.

This time it was all about power and tim­ing. All­gaier drove onto to the apron to shoot past Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney from third to first on a restart af­ter 185 of 200 laps.

“Com­ing down to the end, I didn’t think we had a shot,” All­gaier said. “I thought we were go­ing to be top-five maybe.”

Af­ter Ryan Reed spun, All­gaier drove away from Sadler and Dil­lon on the fi­nal green flag with seven laps left. Erik Jones had been run­ning fourth but was pe­nal­ized for jump­ing the restart.

“Justin re­ally got af­ter it there and just found him­self with an op­por­tu­nity and used it,” Earn­hardt said.

Sadler is the de­fend­ing win­ner at Kentucky. The field will be cut from 12 to eight af­ter three races and then to four be­fore the fi­nale in Home­stead, Fla.

“We’ve been very con­sis­tent the last two months on ovals and very happy with our pro­gram,” Sadler said. “It showed today with Justin and I run­ning in the top five, six, the whole day long, show­ing the speed in our cars.

“Hope­fully we’ll be there when the time comes.”

IndyCar: Josef New­gar­den led a Team Penske pa­rade in qual­i­fy­ing for the IndyCar sea­son fi­nale with a blis­ter­ing run that put him in con­trol of the cham­pi­onship race.

New­gar­den three times broke the track record, in­clud­ing on his fi­nal qual­i­fy­ing run Saturday at Sonoma Race­way. He pow­ered his Penske Chevro­let through the 12 turns at 1 minute, 15.5205 sec­onds.

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