On Saturday, Justin Allgaier won the Crayon 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, earning his third victory of the year and a very special race trophy for his wife Ashley’s birthday.
Allgaier marked the first victory for Chevrolet at the one-mile track in 15 years in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. Trevor Bayne, driving a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, was attempting to give the JGR team its eighth straight victory in New Hampshire when Allgaier took his third victory of the year, winning by a comfortable 3.869 seconds.
The 36-year-old Illinois driver’s journey at times was dramatic. He apologised to Julie Landauer after the race for an early incident with her car. Despite spending the majority of the day in the top five, he didn’t take the lead until there were 48 laps left, tussling with Landon Cassill, who was going for his first career victory.
In the final 60 laps, the two exchanged the lead five times before Allgaier was able to take the lead for good with 19 laps remaining.
“We finished second here last year to one [Toyota] and I told these guys I really wanted to win here,’’ said Allgaier, who now has three wins in the last eight races. “This place has been so much fun over the years.’’
“First of all, it’s my wife’s birthday, so if I can’t be with my wife on her birthday the best thing to do is take home a trophy to her. Just proud of the team.”
As a result of post-race inspection breaches, Cassill, who led 17 laps, had his third-place finish overturned. The rear of his No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet was deemed to be too low.
Noah Gragson, who finished fourth in the No. 9 JRM Chevrolet was also disqualified for failing the post-race inspection. His car was too low and failed front body inspection heights. Due to the disqualification, he fell from fourth to fifth position in the season standings, currently 99 points behind the leader A.J. Allmendinger, but he is still guaranteed a spot in the playoffs because to his two victories.
Brandon Brown, who came in fifth before the two disqualifications, was now in position three in the No. 68 Chevrolet. The third-place finish by the Brandon Brown Racing Chevrolet in the race results is the team’s best finish and first top-five finish of the year for the 29-year-old Virginian’s family-run operation.
Despite the fact that Cassill and Gragson were disqualified from the race, Chevrolet drivers still held nine of the top ten spots on Saturday, given the fact that the win circle had been dominated by Toyota for the most of the previous few years.
The remaining drivers finishing in the top 10 were Ty Dillon, Austin Hill, Kyle Weatherman, Mason Massey, and Bayley Currey. It was Weatherman’s second top-10 of the year, as well as Massey’s and Currey’s second top-10s overall.
There were ten caution periods throughout the race (including a nearly eight-minute red flag). Ten drivers shared the lead 15 times, with Ty Gibbs of Joe Gibbs Racing taking the lead for the most laps (49) of the day.
There was no sign of Gibbs or A.J. Allmendinger, who is currently leading the championship. Just after the Stage 2 break, Gibbs’ No. 54 JRG Toyota experienced a mechanical issue, causing him to finish 21st for the second consecutive week.
With 58 laps remaining, Allmendinger was involved in one of the multi-car crashes, hitting the wall and needing to pit to have his No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet extensively repaired. He came in 20th, one spot in front of Gibbs.
The points standings were turned upside down by Gibbs’ bad day and Allgaier’s fantastic day, with Allmendinger currently leading Allgaier by 16 points.
The Explore the Pocono Mountains 225 at Pocono Raceway is the next event in the series, and Gibbs is now third with 28 points behind Allmendiger as Austin Cindric is the current championship leader.