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Davidson: Truex dominant in Atlanta Xfinity but Allgaier wins the race

Atlanta, GA, Mar 20/21 (b y John Davidson): Justin Allgaier capitalized on mistakes by others and a pit road speeding penalty levied on Martin Truex Jr to capture his fifteenth career Xfinity Series win and his first win in the EchoPark 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

"This one's for Rowdy," Allgaier said, referring to a crew member who passed away recently. "Martin had a great race car and he definitely had the car to beat at the beginning. We made good adjustments and that's what it came down to at the end.

Austin Cindric never led a lap in the race, falling back early before getting some right front damage when Brett Moffitt tapped Brandon Jones and Cindric got caught up in the melee and he never posed a challenge after that.

"Yeah, obviously getting damage there in Stage One definitely didn't help our chances today, but we struggled off the bat and I'm not sure that helped us. It was just a fight all day today," said Cindric. “Hopefully, we learned some things. The good news is we've got a second race here to learn even more, so I feel all right about it. It definitely helps us with the notebook moving forward."

Cindric moved up to finish in 13th place. "I saw 10th place and I drove really hard to get there and blew the tires off of it and that was that. That was the closest I was gonna be able to get and that's how it went."

After starting in 18th place, Truex took the lead on lap seven in his first Xfinity Series race in 11 years. He then dominated the race until he got caught speeding on pit road during a caution with 50 laps left, dropping from the lead to the back of the field for the restart. He raced back to second place behind Allgaier, finally ending the race 1.4 seconds behind.

"We got back up there, but was kind of out of tires at that point. We got close, but the last 10 laps the right rear was really smoked off. I just had to use too much to get there," said Truex. "It was fun until I screwed it up. I hate it for these guys, but just came up a little short at the end there.

"I definitely hurt our chance at winning when I sped on pit road. Not making excuses, but this tach is a lot different than what I'm used to and it was really hard to see it. With all that said, still a pretty fun day and to come back to second, just ran out of rear tires at the end of the race there. Got to second and then just ran out of juice. Needed another pit stop and maybe another set of tires and we could have done something. All in all, it was a fun day."

Josh Berry assured his team of a week's worth of highlight replays when he got tapped by Ryan Sieg and saved the car from spinning completely, but the front splitter dug into the turf, sending the front end several feet into the air, exploding the radiator and ending the race for one of the JR Motorsports Camaros.

Ninth-place finisher Daniel Hemric and fourth-place Noah Gragson had an encounter on pit road following the race. Hemric had been forced to go around another car, went deep and entered Gragson's pit but backed into his own stall.

"He (Noah Gragson) had no idea what was going on out on the race track," explained Hemric. "We come down pit road and the guy pitted behind us when you accelerate when I was pulling into my box and it made me have to steer around the guy, going to the 9's (Gragson) box. I backed up and yes, it messed up both of our pit stops. I backed up and he decided to put it in reverse and cram into the right-front fender and knock a hole in our Toyota’s nose. We had to pit again and fix it. That was completely deliberate and it was absolutely ridiculous. Where I come from, you get your eye dotted when you do stuff like that.

"Oh yeah, crammed it into reverse and backed up. Like I said, there's a hole in the front of my car and he got popped in the eye, so from where I stand we are in pretty good shape."

• Click HERE for the race results


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