Ross Chastain earns first Xfinity win, holding off Allgaier
LAS VEGAS — Ross Chastain held off Justin Allgaier for his first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory on Saturday, pulling away on the final restart for a long-awaited breakthrough in his 132nd series start.
Chastain led 180 of the 200 laps, but had to dig in on several restarts to stay in front of Allgaier, the regular-season Xfinity champion.
Just two weeks after Chastain, 25, had a much-publicized dustup with Cup series star Kevin Harvick when the drivers hit each other at Darlington, he earned a difficult victory at Las Vegas.
“I’m just a watermelon farmer from Florida,” said Chastain, who indeed worked on his family’s watermelon farm until his teens. “I’m not supposed to do that! Man, that’s a testament that anything in life is possible.”
Chastain swept all three stages in the second start of his threerace contract with Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, persevering each time the action slowed in the wreck-filled race.
Cole Custer was third, followed by Christopher Bell and Elliott Sadler.
Violent wrecks dominated much of the action. Matt Tifft spun without contact on the 64th lap and wrecked Ryan Reed, with both cars going hard into the wall.
“That was a tough one,” Reed said. “Knocked the wind out of me pretty bad. The right side is all banged up. I am all good. Nothing broken or anything. I will just be sore tomorrow.”
The race also had two wrecks in the final 25 laps, delaying the finish significantly. Chase Briscoe hit the inside wall of the back stretch and went airborne while spinning after a sequence of threewide racing alongside Tyler Reddick, who hit him. Briscoe safely got out of his flaming car.
Allgaier clinched the overall regular-season series title during the second stage in his JR Motorsports Chevrolet, completing an impressive second-half surge.
The playoffs begin next week at Richmond.