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Allmendinger Three-peats At The ROVAL

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, October 10 2021

A.J. Allmendinger added another Xfinity Series road victory to his list on Saturday. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

CONCORD, N.C.  – Slightly more than three years ago A.J. Allmendinger sat in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s infield media center without a clue as to his future in racing.

His 5 ½-year tenure with JTG-Daugherty Racing was drawing to a close and there was nothing on the horizon. Enter NBC Sports and Kaulig Racing. NBC Sports provided him with the opportunity to remember how much he loved the sport while the new team allowed him to be himself.

Saturday evening Allmendinger was back in the speedway’s media center, but this time there was no doubt as to his future. His road racing expertise had once again paid dividends. The 39-year-old driver had secured his third consecutive victory in the Drive for the Cure 250 on the 2.280-mile ROVAL. Overall, he now possesses eight road course victories, six in Xfinity and two in Cup. The half dozen Xfinity victories make him the winningest driver on road courses in that series. He also owns five victories this season and a position in the playoffs’ round of eight.  

“I don’t take it for granted,” Allmendinger said about his current position in the sport. “I think maybe when you’re younger you feel like you expect it. Now, it’s full appreciation.”

However, Allmendinger admits he still faces a “mental challenge” weekly.

“You know I wear my heart on my sleeve, the ups-and-downs,
Allmendinger continued. “(When I was younger) I think to some degree I was scared to death. What happens if I wake up and it’s gone, nobody wants me anymore? I’ve always said my best and my worst strength is the same thing and it’s that being scared of getting better. It’s great to wake up every day and push myself, but it can be miserable when it’s going bad. 

“I have confidence that I can win at any race track now. That’s something I kinda hold in the back of my mind, but for me it’s always about going out there and being better than the previous week.”

There was no doubt Saturday that Allmendinger was the class of the field. He possessed an 8.8-second lead when the caution waved with three laps remaining in the scheduled 67-lap event. Even though Allmendinger restarted on old tires, he was never seriously challenged in the green-white-checker finish, taking a 3.192-second victory over Austin Cindric.

“In traffic it wasn’t perfect, but once we got into the lead the thing had a lot of speed,” Allmendinger said. “We could pace ourselves and keep pulling away at will. When we are at our best, I don’t think there’s anybody better than us.”

Allmendinger’s only problem Saturday occurred with his Chevrolet’s transmission during the second stage

 “Right before one of those cautions in the second stage I went down into the chicane and it kinda got stuck in neutral,” Allmendinger said. “I got it into second and thought nothing of it. I didn’t grind the gears. Then the caution came out and I was kinda riding around under yellow and the shifter was hard to get it into each gear, so it started making me a little bit nervous.  Coming back to the green it kinda released and from then on it never had an issue.”

Allmendinger’s victory advanced him into the playoffs’ round of eight along with Austin Cindric, Daniel Hemric, Justin Allgaier, Justin Haley, Brandon Jones, Noah Gragson and Harrison Burton. At the conclusion of Saturday’s overtime event, Riley Herbst, Jeremy Clements, Jeb Burton and Myatt Snider found themselves eliminated from the playoffs.

The Xfinity Series begins its round of eight next weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. It then moves to Kansas before heading to Martinsville where the four championship contenders will be determined. 

###

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – 40th Annual Drive for the Cure 250

Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course

Concord, North Carolina

Saturday, October 9, 2021

  1. (14)  AJ Allmendinger (P), Chevrolet, 68.
  2. (1)  Austin Cindric (P), Ford, 68.
  3. (3)  Daniel Hemric (P), Toyota, 68.
  4. (5)  Justin Haley (P), Chevrolet, 68.
  5. (6)  Brandon Jones (P), Toyota, 68.
  6. (10)  Noah Gragson (P), Chevrolet, 68.
  7. (37)  Preston Pardus, Chevrolet, 68.
  8. (13)  Myatt Snider (P), Chevrolet, 68.
  9. (2)  Justin Allgaier (P), Chevrolet, 68.
  10. (15)  Sam Mayer #, Chevrolet, 68.
  11. (17)  Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 68.
  12. (11)  Jeremy Clements (P), Chevrolet, 68.
  13. (7)  Jeb Burton (P), Chevrolet, 68.
  14. (20)  Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 68.
  15. (8)  Harrison Burton (P), Toyota, 68.
  16. (19)  Jade Buford #, Chevrolet, 68.
  17. (35)  Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 68.
  18. (40)  Austin Hill(i), Toyota, 68.
  19. (23)  JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, 68.
  20. (32)  Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 68.
  21. (12)  Ty Gibbs #, Toyota, 68.
  22. (16)  Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 68.
  23. (24)  Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 68.
  24. (36)  Stefan Parsons, Chevrolet, 68.
  25. (28)  Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 68.
  26. (25)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 68.
  27. (4)  Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 68.
  28. (30)  Joe Graf Jr., Chevrolet, 67.
  29. (29)  Will Rodgers, Toyota, 67.
  30. (26)  Matt Mills, Toyota, 67.
  31. (33)  Spencer Boyd(i), Chevrolet, 67.
  32. (18)  Ryan Sieg, Ford, 66.
  33. (21)  Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, Accident, 63.
  34. (9)  Riley Herbst (P), Ford, Suspension, 61.
  35. (34)  Loris Hezemans, Toyota, Electrical, 59.
  36. (27)  Ryan Vargas #, Chevrolet, Axle, 47.
  37. (22)  Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, Accident, 30.
  38. (31)  Josh Bilicki, Chevrolet, Accident, 28.
  39. (38)  Kris Wright(i), Toyota, Suspension, 19.
  40. (39)  Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, Rear Gear, 10.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  74.396 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 7 Mins, 14 Secs. Margin of Victory:  3.192 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  7 for 13 laps.

Lead Changes:  6 among 5 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   A. Cindric (P) 0;A. Cindric (P) 1-7;D. Hemric (P) 8-20;N. Gragson (P) 21;A. Cindric (P) 22-36;D. Hemric (P) 37-40;T. Gibbs # 41-47;A. Allmendinger (P) 48-68.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Austin Cindric (P) 2 times for 22 laps; AJ Allmendinger (P) 1 time for 21 laps; Daniel Hemric (P) 2 times for 17 laps; Ty Gibbs # 1 time for 7 laps; Noah Gragson (P) 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 18,16,9,54,11,19,98,20,10,51

Stage #2 Top Ten: 18,11,2,9,51,19,20,54,10,8

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, October 10 2021
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