Allmendinger wins chaotic Nashville Xfinity race

Allmendinger wins chaotic Nashville Xfinity race

Kaulig Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger prevailed in a spectacular Tennessee Lottery 250 at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday afternoon over particularly aggressive racers in double overtime to win his first oval race of the year.

AJ Allmendinger won the Tennessee Lottery 250 Xfinity race on Saturday, June 24 at Nashville Superspeedway after he persevered through numerous caution periods and on-track chaos, including one in which he was involved at the start of the second stage.

Allmendinger made his way to the front, took the lead late in the race, and held off the rest of the field during two late-race restarts.

The Californian, who started the race in 11th place took the lead three times for 25 of the 196 extra laps that were scheduled. A few front-runners, including Cup Series debutant Ty Gibbs were eliminated after they got caught in a multi-car accident at the start of the second stage after Allmendinger finished the first stage in third place.

Allmendinger then slowly worked his way back to the front for the remaining laps of the race before taking the lead with 46 laps to go. He then managed to retake the lead from Parker Kligerman with 11 laps left in the race, despite losing distance due to a delayed pit stop under green.

Allmendinger persevered through two late-race restarts, including an attempt in overtime and held off the pack of regulars in the Xfinity Series to win his second race of the 2023 season.

Cole Custer earned his third pole position of the year during Saturday’s on-track qualifying that established the starting lineup by turning in a pole-winning lap at 157.020 in 30.493 seconds. Chandler Smith, a rookie, qualified second-best after clocking 156.302 mph in 30.633 seconds to join him on the first row.

Connor Mosack and Zane Smith fell to the back of the field due to illegal modifications made to their respective entries before the race. Joey Gase also went to the back of the pack as a result of a driver change, where he took CJ McLaughlin’s position and the fact that he started the race in a backup car.

As soon as the green flag flew and the race started, trouble began through Turns 1 and 2 when Jeb Burton and Kyle Sieg made contact causing a multi-car wreck that also involved Ryan Sieg, Kyle Sieg, and Stefan Parsons. The rest of the field veered to the bottom lane to avoid the carnage.

The event winner from Nashville a year ago, Justin Allgaier, was also involved after he crashed systematically with Parsons as the latter hit the outside wall head-on. Allgaier proceeded despite minor damage to the exterior of his No. 7 BRANDT Chevrolet Camaro and joined the Sieg brothers, Jeb Burton and Parsons on the lead lap.

Custer maintained his lead over rookie Sammy Smith on the eighth lap’s subsequent restart after the event’s start and the first caution period, while Chandler Smith and Ty Gibbs battled for third.

Gibbs and Smith made contact as they were approaching the backstretch, which caused the field to fan out to three lanes behind Custer and Sammy Smith. Then, as the cars entered Turns 3 and 4, Austin Hill attempted to pass Gibbs and Chandler Smith for third in the three-lane area.

However, Hill made contact behind Gibbs, spun up the track, narrowly missed Jeb Burton and then lightly backed his No. 21 Bennett Transportation Chevrolet Camaro into the outside wall.

The situation was sufficient to trigger the second caution period for the event.

Sammy Smith and Custer battled for the lead at the start of the subsequent restart on lap 14 as the field spread out. Ty Gibbs went further away and passed teammate Smith for second, allowing Custer to hold onto the lead as the race completed a full lap under green flag conditions.

Custer was in the lead while Carson Hocevar, the winner of the Craftsman Truck Series race held on Friday night in Nashville, fought his way up to third. Sammy Smith and Riley Herbst were in the top five ahead of AJ Allmendinger.

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The third caution of the race was brought out three laps later when Chad Chastain, who was running in the middle of the pack lost control entering Turns 3 and 4 and spun backward toward the outside wall while also colliding with Ryan Ellis, who veered sideways and brushed the wall. The rest of the field was untouched.

On Lap 21, the race resumed. As the field spread out to three lanes entering Turn 1, Custer and Ty Gibbs fought for the lead. Through the corners, Gibbs began to nip ahead of Custer in the lead before assuming complete control of the position on the subsequent lap.

With Gibbs leading Custer, Sammy Smith was in third place, followed by Hocevar and Allmendinger, while Herbst was in sixth place, ahead of Chandler Smith, Parker Kligerman, Brandon Jones, and rookie Parker Retzlaff.

At the halfway point of the race, Sammy Smith, Allmendinger, Hocevar, Chandler Smith, Herbst, Parker Kligerman, Sheldon Creed, and Sam Mayer were in the top ten. Ty Gibbs was in the lead by more than a second over Custer. The top 20 drivers were Retzlaff, Zane Smith, Brett Moffitt, Daniel Hemric, and Kaz Grala. Behind them, Brandon Jones was in 11th place, ahead of John Hunter Nemechek, Josh Berry, Allgaier, and Hill.

Ty Gibbs, who had won both stages at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May and was making his fourth Xfinity start of the year, won his third stage of the 2023 season when the first stage ended on Lap 45. Custer trailed Allmendinger, Hocevar, Sammy Smith, Chandler Smith, Herbst, Mayer, John Hunter Nemechek, and Kligerman by more than a second in second place.

The lead lap field led by Ty Gibbs made pit stops during the first stage break. After the pit stops, Hill left first after choosing merely to refuel his car followed by Gibbs. Nemechek received a penalty for having a large number of crew members over the pit wall during the pit stops.

The second stage of the race ended up being won by Allmendinger’s Kaulig Racing teammate Chandler Smith, who also worked hard to keep the front pack on its toes. For the majority of the second part of the race over the 1.333-mile oval, he and Allmendinger traded the lead and ran 1-2.

Parker Kligerman began the biggest tactical bet of the day after a series of last-minute scheduled pit stops. Kligerman kept his No. 48 Big Machine Racing Chevrolet in the forefront, willing to take a chance on a fuel-saving tactic as the leading cars made their way back through the field after pit stops.

However, with 12 laps remaining Kligerman’s team instructed him to drop in line behind Allmendinger to start conserving, and with 11 laps left in regulation, Allmendinger passed him for the lead.

Driver Sam Mayer of JR Motorsports came in third, followed by Hill in fourth and Josh Berry of JR Motorsports rounding out the top five.

Sixth place went to John Hunter Nemechek in the No. 20 JGR Toyota. Despite never taking the lead, his charge from the 21st starting position allowed him to cling onto the championship lead over Hill by nine points.

Zane Smith, the reigning NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion ended in a stellar seventh-place finish in the No. 28 Ford as Daniel Hemric finished eighth. Cole Custer and rookie Parker Retzlaff were the next two finishers for Herbst’s Stewart-Haas Racing team.

In the rear, Kligerman, Moffitt, and Allgaier finished 11th, 14th, and 15th, respectively, after wrecking as they neared the finish line while Chandler Smith made a comeback to finish 12th.

11 different leaders encountered 17 different lead changes. 11 cautions totaling 58 laps tied the previous record in this race. 16 of the 38 starters finished on the first line in total.

John Hunter Nemechek is in the lead with 11 Xfinity regular-season races yet to go, with a nine-point advantage over Austin Hill, a 41-point advantage over Justin Allgaier, and a 51-point advantage over Cole Custer.

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