A.J Allmendiger was no fan of racing in wet conditions as rain poured on Saturday night at the Charlotte Roval but he made the best of it as he emerged victorious in the chaotic race.
Chase Briscoe had led the way after the start of the two lap overtime but he experienced a spin as he was going around Turn 1 which allowed Allmendiger to take the lead. He was later forced to spend one and a half laps of the 2.28 mile of the 17-turn Charlotte Roval track holding off Noah Gragson who put on a fight to try and win the second consecutive Charlotte Xfinity Series season.
This win was the second for Allmendiger in the season and the fifth in his career in a race that saw 10 cautions and a thirty nine minute red flag for standing water on the track, as the whole race was run nearly entirely in the rain. Earlier on in the race Allmendiger was complaining repeatedly over the team radio that NASCAR should stop the race due to the rain.
“I don’t know what we just witnessed, Chris Rice (crew chief) stuck with me, I’m not going to lie, I was complaining the whole race. That was miserable, crazy,” Allmendinger said.
“Chase Briscoe was doing a fantastic job. I didn’t really have anything for him after a couple laps but I knew that final restart, I was going to do whatever I could.”
“IMSA has headlights, so it’s not as bad. But in the infield, with no lights in there, and the world’s biggest jumbotron blaring in, you couldn’t see anything. I was just guessing where the corners were, just praying that when you hit the puddle, you don’t go sliding off the race track.”
Daniel Hemric was able to finish third as Alex Labbe followed closely in fourth. Ross Chastain followed rounding out the top five. Austin Cindric, Cody Ware, Jade Buford, Michael Annett and Brandon Jones rounded out the top ten as Chase Briscoe ended up a disappointing 18th.
“The driver just made a mistake,” Briscoe said. “With conditions like these, you need to be 100 percent and I tried to go 110 and it bit me. I felt like I did my job for about 95 percent of the day right.”
“I just hit a puddle and it spun me out.”
Four drivers were eliminated from competing in the Xfinity series playoffs following the Saturday night race and they were; Harrison Burton, Brandon Brown, Riley Herbst and Annett.
On lap 1, Gragson started on the pole, led the first lap as Brett Moffitt wrecked at Turn 4 on the second lap bringing out the first caution for the race. Before the race returned to green, light rain begun pouring down and NASCAR gave the drivers a chance to change into wet tires under the caution. The race turned to ggreen on lap 7 as Justin Haley took the lead. However the lead was shortlived after Gragson got around Haley and Chastain reclaiming the lead.
Chase Briscoe spun off at the exit of Turn 4 on lap 11 but was quickly able to get back in the race without any caution, he was running 5th by the tym he spun out and dropped all the way down to 13th by the time he was recovering from the spin. On lap 14, Noah Gragson also spun out and so did Kyle Weatherman. Nascar later put out a caution as multiple cars run off track on lap 15 including Ross Chastain, Mclaughlin and Ryan Vargas.
Chase Briscoe was able to hold off Chastain in the last lap run to claim the stage 2 victory in the rain as it was his 10th stage victory of the 2020 season. Labbe was third, Cindric fourth and Gragson fifth. In the break between stage 1 and 2, many cars pit but Kaz Grala stayed out and lead the race all the way to the restart. Gragson was however able to take him though turn 1 and reclaim the top spot.
Later on lap 24 Herbst moved into the second place after Grala and Brown missed the frontstretch and at the start of lap 26, Herbst got into Gragson on Turn 2 and knocked him off the course leading to a caution. On lap 31 a red flag was out as there was too much standing water on the track and after alsmost 39-minute delay, the race was back on as the rain was still pouring.
The race restarted on lap 34 but it was not long before Justin Allgaier and Herbst wrecked coming off Turn 2 as the incident also took on Justin Haley, Preston Pardus and Annett. Allmendiger took the chance and inherited the lead. Briscoe later grabbed the lead on the race restart at Turn 1 on lap 37 as Williams hit the wall but was able to continue with the race.
On Stage 3, Gragson wrecked between Turn 1 and 2 as the race still remained in green. Allmendiger was in the fifth position on lap 45. Chastain decided to pit from the second position to take on enough gas to make it to the finish of the race. Briscoe remained on the track and in the lead on the restart on Lap
Allmendinger got around Briscoe through Turn 5 to retake the lead as Snider moved into second. Coming off Turn 17, Myatt Snider got loose which allowed Briscoe to move back into second. On Lap 56, Briscoe ran down Allmendinger on the backstretch and got around him in the backstretch chicane to retake the lead.
With 10 laps remaining, the rain had lightened up quite a bit and Briscoe maintained about a 1-second lead over Allmendinger as Hemric ran third. On Lap 60, C.J. McLaughlin spun in Turn 1 and while he was trying to get back on track, he nearly collided with race leader Briscoe as the race was placed under caution again.
The race returned to green on Lap 62 with Briscoe out front followed by Allmendinger and Hemric. In Turns 3 and 4, Allemdinger and Briscoe went side-by-side for the lead with Allmendinger again retaking the top spot. With four laps remaining, Briscoe got around Allmendinger in Turn 5 to reclaim the lead. Gragson moved into third.