Allgaier Sweeps Darlington Xfinity Run; Ties Dale Jr.


Justin Allgaier celebrates with a burnout after winning Saturday at Darlington Raceway. (HHP/Andrew Coppley photo)

DARLINGTON, S.C. - Justin Allgaier tamed The Lady in Black for the third time Saturday afternoon, cruising to victory in the Crown Royal Purple Bag Project 200 at Darlington Raceway.

In a race that featured just two cautions for incident, Allgaier easily gapped the field and led 119 of 147 laps en route to his 24th career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory. 

That tied his team owner - NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr. - as well as Tommy Houston on the all-time win list.

The Riverton, Ill., veteran swept both stages and was out front for the final 95 laps. It’s the third time in his Xfinity Series career that Allgaier has won the race after winning both stages.

However, Allgaier had visions of his near-miss at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway back in March - where he blew a tire while leading and crashed with five laps left - before taking the checkers Saturday.

“Man, I just wanted Eddie [D’Hondt, spotter] to call ‘white flag,’” said Allgaier, whose 267th top-10 finish passed Kyle Busch for the most in Xfinity Series history. “God is so good. We’ve had a heck of a trying year; we’ve had speed but things have not gone the way we needed them to go. This is just a testament to all my guys for never giving up and always fighting.

“On a day with no practice and no qualifying going in, I feel like the gray hairs [experience] benefited me with knowing what I needed out of the race car and executing in all facets.”

Polesitter Cole Custer led the opening 21 laps, but an early pit road miscue with several loose lug nuts set him back in the field, giving the top spot to Allgaier’s No. 7 Brandt Chevy Camaro.

Pre-race favorite Willam Byron suffered an early setback as well, scrubbing the wall and forcing a pit stop before the competition caution that knocked him off the lead lap.

The first and second stages ran completely green, save for the stage break yellows and the competition yellow in stage one. The third stage got off to a rocky start, however, as Hailie Deegan blew a left-rear tire and spun in turn one, ruining her quiet day.

Later on in the final stanza, Parker Retzlaff dropped fluid, which resulted in Kyle Sieg going around in turn two with 25 laps left. Aggression on the earlier restarts made it seem as though the chaos was just beginning, but that incident ended up being the final yellow of the day.

Allgaier and Austin Hill ran one-two for most of the race, with Hill finishing a distant second, 3.407 seconds behind the winner.

“I just couldn’t get into turn one on restarts like I really needed to all day,” said Hill of his No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevy Camaro. “It was just me. I’ve just got to figure out what to do differently getting into that end [of the track]. I did really well with my launches. That’s something that I struggled with here, where I’d buzz the tires late in the [restart] zone. I didn’t do that all day today — I felt pretty good about my restarts — but I would get down into (turn) one and I’d get tight every time.

“More than anything, I’ve just got to do a better job inside the race car,” he continued. “I thought we were just as good as the 7 [Allgaier] all day. Congrats to those guys. We were just that little bit off today, and I think most of it was me.”

Custer rebounded from his issues for a third-place finish. Sam Mayer and Aric Almirola rounded out the top five, followed by Parker Kligerman, Riley Herbst, Jesse Love, Sheldon Creed, and Brandon Jones.

Byron recovered from his early issues to finish just shy of the top-10, bringing his No. 17 Chevy Camaro home in 11th.

Ryan Sieg (13th), Anthony Alfredo (14th), and Shane van Gisbergen (15th) all brought home much-needed solid runs on Saturday as well.

Hill assumed the point lead from Chandler Smith, who fell to third, five points behind Hill and two points behind Custer, the new runner-up in the standings.

The race was completed in a tidy period of one hour, 48 minutes, and 58 seconds for an average speed of 110.573 mph.

NASCAR Xfinity Series teams will take a week off before heading to Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway during Memorial Day Weekend for the BetMGM 300.

Broadcast coverage at Charlotte is slated for Saturday, May 25 at 1 p.m. ET, live on FS1, the Performance Racing Network, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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