DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Justin Allgaier survived a trip to the rear of the field, a pass-through penalty after the initial start and a war of attrition to win Friday night‘s Wawa 250 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway in overtime.
Allgaier didn‘t win by much. On the final lap of the two-circuit overtime, Allgaier bumped side-to-side with Sheldon Creed coming to the finish line and beat Creed to the stripe by .005 seconds—approximately 12 inches at the 2.5-mile track.
Allgaier was penalized after his No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet failed pre-qualifying inspection three times on Thursday. He started from the rear of the field and was forced to serve a pass-through penalty with four other cars after the first lap.
But Allgaier, who won at Daytona for the first time after two runner-up finishes in 25 previous starts at the speedway, stayed on the lead lap for the first stage, and vaulted into the third position with a fuel-only pit stop during the break after Stage 2.
“I‘ve been coming to this place for a long time,” said Allgaier, who won for the second time this season and the 21st time in his career. “I wanted to win here so bad—we‘ve been so close. I just can‘t say enough about (crew chief) Jim Pohlman and everybody on this 7 team.
“We had an oversight yesterday when we brought a car to the track and put it through inspection, and it wasn‘t where we wanted… and that cost us a pass-through, but the team never quit, never gave up and we rallied, and obviously we put ourselves in a good position. The strategy was awesome.”
Allgaier‘s battle with Creed followed a massive wreck in Turn 3 that sent the race to overtime.
A late block attempt by Trevor Bayne moments after a restart on Lap 99 of 100 robbed many contenders for the win. Bayne shared the front row with Allgaier for the restart. Running behind Bayne in the top lane, Austin Hill made a bold move to the outside, and Bayne moved up to cover, perhaps with Hill‘s car dragging his bumper to the right.
Bayne turned into the outside wall, and chaos reigned behind him. All told, nine cars were involved, including those of John Hunter Nemechek and Josh Berry.
That set up the two-lap shootout, with Allgaier prevailing by the smallest of margins.
“Another great run for us—my best speedway race,” said Creed, who is still seeking his first Xfinity Series win. “I hated speedway racing two years ago. My teammate (Hill) was kicking my butt at it, and I had to get it together, right?
“So asking him questions, just trying to learn and watch and get better at this stuff because speedway racing is so hard mentally. It‘s probably harder than any kind of racing mentally, just knowing where to go and what moves to make.”
Daniel Hemric ran third, followed by Parker Kligerman who moved into the final playoff-eligible position in the standings with two races left before the Xfinity playoffs begin.
Cole Custer was fifth, followed by Ryan Sieg, Parker Retzlaff, Alfredo, Gray Gaulding and Justin Haley.
As Hill was taking the green-checkered flag to win the 30-lap first stage, Riley Herbst‘s left front tire exploded and obliterated the fender above it. Herbst brought the severely damaged No. 98 Ford to pit road where his crew effected repairs and beat the damaged vehicle policy clock.
Herbst, who had complained of steering issues before the tire blew, rejoined the field three laps down. The diagnosis? The top bolt had backed out of the steering box on the No. 98 Stewart-Haas Ford. That problem was solved, and Herbst continued—without a left-front quarterpanel.
Herbst benefited from late-race attrition to finish 24th, but he fell out of the top 12 and trails Kligerman by 20 points for the final playoff berth.
Just two races remain on the Xfinity Series regular-season calendar. Next up is the always tricky Darlington Raceway on Saturday, Sept. 2 (3:30 p.m. ET, USA, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, NBC Sports App).
NOTE: Post-race inspection is complete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series garage. There were no issues, confirming Allgaier as the winner.