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Xfinity at Charlotte ROVAL: AJ Allmendinger streaks to third straight NASCAR Xfinity win on the road course

Charlotte, NC, Oct 9/21 (Reid Spencer/NASCAR Wire Service): A.J. Allmendinger stayed undefeated at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. The driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet won his third straight race at the 2.28-mile, 17-turn Roval and achieved several milestones in the process.

With his overtime victory in the Drive for the Cure 250, Allmendinger clinched a spot in the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs. He won for the fifth time this season and the 10th time in his Xfinity career. Winning for the sixth time on a road course, Allmendinger broke a tie with race runner-up Austin Cindric for most-ever Xfinity road course victories.

Allmendinger, who worked his way forward from the 14th starting position, took the lead for good on lap 48 of the 67-lap race when Ty Gibbs suffered brake problems, blew the chicane on the backstretch and had to come to a full stop before continuing.

From that point, Allmendinger stretched his lead to 8.8 seconds before a caution for Tommy Joe Martins’ wreck on lap 64 sent the race into overtime.

After the subsequent restart on lap 67, Allmendinger pulled away again and beat Cindric to the finish line by 3.192 seconds. Cindric, the defending series champion, already had clinched a spot in the Round of 8. Third-place finisher Daniel Hemric joined him, along with Justin Haley, Brandon Jones, Noah Gragson, Justin Allgaier and Harrison Burton.

“I knew it was coming out,” Allmendinger said of the final caution. “It wasn’t going to go simple like that. That was a fight today. We had to be kind of on defense early, worrying about the points. This place was tough to pass—the track was really slick to start with, obviously, because of all the rain. Once we got the lead, the (car) was stupid-fast.”

As the final run progressed, Cindric didn’t have the pace to keep up with Allmendinger.

“I feel like this has honestly been one of my weakest road courses for probably exactly what you saw—the rear tires fall off way too much,” Cindric said. “I felt like I was driving a skid-pad car after about 10 laps. I feel a little bit lucky and a bit fortunate, honestly. I didn’t get moved or put in the wall, so either way we had a fast car. I think we set a fast lap time and got a good finish, so that sets us up well for Texas. I just wish we could have taken advantage of getting a playoff point.”

Instead, it was Hemric who added to his playoff point total by winning the first two stages of the race. Allmendinger gained five additional playoff points for the victory.

There was a red flag on lap 30 after Josh Bilicki cut across the runoff area in Turn 11. These runoff areas were populated with sausage curbing similar to the ones that caused so much trouble at the Indianapolis road course. Obviously these sausage curbs are incompatible with the low spoilers on the NASCAR cars. The nose of Bilicki’s car plowed into the curbing like the blade on a grader, wrecking the car and leaving debris – car parts and curbing – all over the place. NASCAR had to stop the race while track workers picked up the debris and cut off the big bolts that had been left protruding out of the pavement. NASCAR should have been embarrassed – doubly so, given that they had clearly learned nothing from the earlier debacle at Indianapolis (GRW, editor PRN)

This Charlotte race was the third race in the three-race Round of 12. The next race, at Texas next Saturday, October 16th, will be the first race in the second three-race round, the Round of 8. The top four playoff drivers will transfer from this round to race for the championship at the finale in Phoenix.

• Click HERE for the Race Results


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