AJ Allmendinger wins Xfinity race at Charlotte Roval
CONCORD, N.C. -- AJ Allmendinger remains the king of the road.
Allmendinger surged to the front on a late-race restart and protected that lead through overtime to win Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
The win was Allmendinger’s fourth straight on the Roval course.
In the next-to-last restart Allmendinger shot past Ty Gibbs, the leader, and moved several car lengths in front before a crash by Riley Herbst, who was involved in several incidents during the race, brought out another caution. The wreck parked Herbst, who failed to make the playoff cut.
Allmendinger chased Gibbs late in the final stage before making the winning pass.
“I didn’t think we had anything for him,” Allmendinger said. “I knew it was going to be a battle. The 9 (Noah Gragson) gave me a good shove, and I drove into Turn 1 as deep as I could. I didn’t believe with five or 10 to go that I would be able to get it done. I knew it was restart or bust.”
Following the winner in the top five were Gibbs, Noah Gragson, James Davison and Justin Allgaier.
The points were reset after the race, and Gragson will start the Round of 8 12 points in front of second-place Allmendinger. Following in the playoff standings are Gibbs, Allgaier, Josh Berry, Austin Hill, Brandon Jones and Sam Mayer.
Missing the cut were Daniel Hemric, Ryan Sieg, Jeremy Clements and Herbst.
Herbst was one of several drivers involved in a multi-car crash with nine laps to go. On the same lap, Sage Karam bumped Sheldon Creed into a spin in the top five, sparking a caution. Creed had a brief discussion with Karam about the incident after the race.
Karam was running in the top five with four laps to go when he slid off course and into the wall near Turn 5.
IndyCar veteran Marco Andretti, 35, crashed with 22 laps to go in his Xfinity debut. Jeb Burton spun and was hit by Andretti.
Allmendinger dominated the race’s first stage, leading all 20 laps. Following at stage’s end were Gibbs, Mayer, Austin Hill and Herbst.
Jones, who led three laps, won the second stage.
On the schedule for the next round are Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Oct. 15, NBC), Homestead-Miami Speedway (Oct. 29, USA Network) and Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 29, NBC). The series finale will be Nov. 5 at Phoenix Raceway and will be broadcast by USA.
Stage 1 winner: AJ Allmendinger
Stage 2 winner: Brandon Jones
Who had a good race: The Dinger continues to reign on the road. A late-race surge pushed AJ Allmendinger past Ty Gibbs and to Saturday’s victory. ... Gibbs ran well all day, led 24 laps and underlined the fact that he’s a championship contender. ... James Davison (fourth) matched his career-best finish.
Who had a bad race: Riley Herbst seemed to be spinning every other lap. He rebounded from each incident but missed the playoff cut. ... Ryan Sieg ran near the cutline but also failed to advance. ... IndyCar veteran Marco Andretti crashed out of his first Xfinity race.
Next: The Xfinity Series playoffs will continue at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Oct. 15 (3 p.m. ET, NBC).