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‘Dinger Survives Delta To Win Xfinity Race At Roval

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, October 11 2020

A.J. Allmendinger takes the checkers in the rain at the Charlotte infield road course on Saturday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

CONCORD, N.C. – Less than 10 laps into Saturday’s Drive for the Cure 250, remnants of Hurricane Delta unleashed torrential rain on Charlotte Motor Speedway, creating chaos for the critical cutoff race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs.

“There’s fun driving in the wet when it’s not puddling up and flooding the race track. That was just chaos,” race winner A.J. Allmendinger said. “At times you hit puddles, you’re sliding and you’re hoping that the car stops. It was more hydroplaning that we were facing out there and the struggles of that.”   

Four drivers – Harrison Burton, Brandon Brown, Michael Annett and Riley Herbst – were eliminated from the playoffs in the overtime event. All were involved in accidents or experienced mechanical issues during the 68-lap race. They finished 33rd, 26th, ninth and 12th, respectively. Those moving on to the Round of 8, which begins next weekend at Kansas, are: Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, Brandon Jones, Ross Chastain and Ryan Sieg. 

However, it was the weather and impending darkness, not the title contenders that took center stage in the event. At one point, the race on the speedway’s 2.28-mile ROVAL had to be stopped while jet dryers attempted to disperse the standing water on various sections of the road course. After the 38-minute 22-second delay, the race restarted, but third-place finisher Daniel Hemric noted it was the 10 caution flags for 24 laps that contributed to the horrible conditions.

“The cautions allow the water to build up, Hemric explained. “Cars not moving at a race pace in the rain, that’s what caused the water to build up like it was. If there’s a way to keep the track green, they should do it because the water continues to build.”

Hemric described the “sketchiest part” of the event as the amount of spray off the cars that the drivers encountered when they were on the ROVAL’s speedway portion.  

“Through the infield, you’re slow enough where the spray (off the other cars) isn’t as bad, but when you get back on the big track, your breaking zones on the front straightway chicane and the back straightaway chicane, that’s where your visibility is the worse,” Hemric said.    

“It was nothing like I have ever done before. You think you’re positioning yourself where you need to be and you think the chaos is calming down, and as soon as everybody kinda gets in their rhythm, the racing line figured out, where the puddles were we would have another caution. You have no room for error.       

Allmendinger agreed with Hemric.

“I thought at times it was definitely dangerous in the sense of just hydroplaning,” Allmendinger added. 

The drivers also were confronted with darkness on the ROVAL’s infield portion, which doesn’t possess the same lighting that exists on the oval. Glare from the large TV screen on the backstretch presented another issue.  

“In the infield (the last 20 laps), it was definitely dark up through turn one, turn two and turn three,” Allmendinger said. “The JumboTron was blinding. There were times I would turn into turn four on the last couple of laps and just had no idea if I was even in the corner.”   

Still, Allmendinger claimed his second victory this season despite the deteriorating conditions and having a windshield wiper that worked intermittently; a faulty wiper that he said was irrelevant at the end of the race because of the hard rain.

###

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – 39th Annual Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course

Concord, North Carolina

Saturday, October 10, 2020

  1. (22)  AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 68.
  2. (1)  Noah Gragson (P), Chevrolet, 68.
  3. (3)  Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 68.
  4. (16)  Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 68.
  5. (5)  Ross Chastain (P), Chevrolet, 68.
  6. (11)  Austin Cindric (P), Ford, 68.
  7. (38)  Cody Ware, Ford, 68.
  8. (24)  Jade Buford, Chevrolet, 68.
  9. (14)  Michael Annett (P), Chevrolet, 68.
  10. (4)  Brandon Jones (P), Toyota, 68.
  11. (26)  Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 68.
  12. (13)  Riley Herbst # (P), Toyota, 68.
  13. (32)  Josh Bilicki, Toyota, 68.
  14. (21)  Myatt Snider #, Chevrolet, 68.
  15. (31)  Joe Graf Jr #, Chevrolet, 68.
  16. (18)  Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 68.
  17. (25)  Ryan Vargas, Chevrolet, 68.
  18. (8)  Chase Briscoe (P), Ford, 68.
  19. (20)  Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, 68.
  20. (34)  Kody Vanderwal #, Chevrolet, 68.
  21. (6)  Ryan Sieg (P), Chevrolet, 68.
  22. (29)  BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 68.
  23. (10)  Justin Allgaier (P), Chevrolet, 68.
  24. (28)  Stephen Leicht, Toyota, 68.
  25. (23)  Matt Mills, Toyota, 67.
  26. (7)  Brandon Brown (P), Chevrolet, Accident, 63.
  27. (17)  Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, 63.
  28. (33)  Gray Gaulding(i), Chevrolet, Electrical, 60.
  29. (36)  CJ McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 54.
  30. (37)  Jesse Little #, Chevrolet, Engine, 48.
  31. (12)  Kaz Grala, Chevrolet, Suspension, 44.
  32. (30)  Preston Pardus, Chevrolet, Ignition, 41.
  33. (9)  Harrison Burton # (P), Toyota, Transmission, 37.
  34. (15)  Josh Williams, Chevrolet, Accident, 36.
  35. (2)  Justin Haley (P), Chevrolet, Accident, 34.
  36. (27)  Austin Hill(i), Toyota, Accident, 13.
  37. (35)  Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, Accident, 13.
  38. (19)  Brett Moffitt(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 2.

 

Average Speed of Race Winner:  58.041 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 43 Mins, 5 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.446 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  10 for 24 laps.

Lead Changes:  14 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   N. Gragson (P) 1-4;J. Haley (P) 5-6;N. Gragson (P) 7-13;J. Haley (P) 14-18;N. Gragson (P) 19;K. Grala 20-22;N. Gragson (P) 23-26;R. Herbst # (P) 27-33;A. Allmendinger 34-35;C. Briscoe (P) 36-50;A. Allmendinger 51-55;C. Briscoe (P) 56-60;A. Allmendinger 61-63;C. Briscoe (P) 64-66;A. Allmendinger 67-68.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Chase Briscoe (P) 3 times for 23 laps; Noah Gragson (P) 4 times for 16 laps; AJ Allmendinger 4 times for 12 laps; Riley Herbst # (P) 1 time for 7 laps; Justin Haley (P) 2 times for 7 laps; Kaz Grala 1 time for 3 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 21,9,36,11,7,10,8,92,90,68

Stage #2 Top Ten: 98,10,36,22,9,8,68,7,74,07

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, October 11 2020
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