A.J. Allmendinger rallies for Xfinity win at Mid-Ohio
A.J. Allmendinger rallied from a mid-race penalty to win Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in overtime.
Allmendinger’s hopes for a win appeared lost after his green flag stop at Lap 47. Under modified pit rules for this Xfinity stand-alone race, he was penalized for not spending minimum time (50 seconds under green, yellow line to yellow line) on pit road.
But Allmendinger charged from 24th on the restart at Lap 56 up to third place by the time Jeb Burton went into the gravel at Turn 4 to force a caution with six laps to go. That negated a lead of over 10 seconds for Austin Cindric.
On the subsequent restart with three laps to go, Allmendinger went three-wide in Turn 1 with Cindric and Ty Gibbs to take the lead. Seconds later, contact from another competitor sent Cindric spinning off track and out of contention.
An incident involving Kris Wright, Alex Labbe and Kyle Weatherman brought out the yellow again to send the race into overtime. But Brett Moffitt, who had risen to second behind Allmendinger, ran out of fuel and stalled on track to extend the caution.
On the OT restart, Allmendinger quickly left Gibbs behind to retain the lead, while his teammate, Justin Haley, passed Gibbs for second. Haley sported damage from the previous incident that ended badly for Cindric, who went on to finish 14th.
The Kaulig Racing drivers would finish 1-2 at team owner Matt Kaulig’s home track. Gibbs finished third, followed by Brandon Jones in fourth, and sports car veteran Andy Lally in fifth.
“I’m not gonna lie, I was a little upset,” Allmendinger told FS1 about the penalty. “But we win and lose as a team, so I was gonna fight until the checkered flag flew. I knew we had the best car.”
About the restart with three laps to go, Allmendinger said: “I was shocked that Cindric took me outside. This [car] had some massive rear grip, so I launched on the restart. [Gibbs] opened the gap, and I know these guys will do it to me, so I barreled it in there when I saw a gap and I was gonna come out the other side clean.”
The victory is Allmendinger’s second of the year (Las Vegas) and Kaulig Racing’s third, counting Jeb Burton’s win at Talladega.
Allmendinger has also tied Marcos Ambrose for most Xfinity road course wins all-time with five.
STAGE 1 WINNER: A.J. Allmendinger
STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Haley
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Lally’s fifth-place finish salvaged the day for Our Motorsports after Moffitt ran dry coming to overtime ... Brandon Brown’s sixth-place finish was his seventh top 10 of the season, his most ever in a single campaign ... Josh Berry, in his first Xfinity road course start, finished eighth for Jordan Anderson Racing. Berry previously made 10 starts this season for JR Motorsports, winning at Martinsville.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Turn 1 was trouble for two big names. Right off the green flag, Noah Gragson sustained terminal damage when he ran wide at Turn 1 and his car dug into the dirt. On Lap 19, Harrison Burton made the same mistake and had the same outcome. ... On-track clashes in the final lap of OT sent Riley Herbst and Miguel Paludo into spins near Turn 2. Herbst finished 21st, Paludo 27th.
NEXT: Texas Motor Speedway - Sat., June 12, 4 p.m. ET, FS1