Justin Allgaier won the NASCAR Xfinity Series DC Solar 200 at Phoenix International Raceway in dramatic fashion Saturday.
There was a restart with four laps to go following a crash, but Allgaier seized control and held off Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones. According to NASCAR writer Jeff Gluck, it was Allgaier's first Xfinity win since 2012.
Phoenix International Raceway is a short track, which opened the door for chaos in the final moments. It is a credit to Allgaier that he prevailed with that pressure looming. Fox Sports NASCAR reacted to the impressive showing:
Here is a look at Allgaier and the rest of the top finishers during Saturday's race, per NASCAR.com:
|6||Darrell Wallace Jr.|
He is still playing catch-up in the standings, per NASCAR.com:
|5||Darrell Wallace Jr.||109|
The DC Solar 200 was notable for more than just Allgaier's victory. It was the first Dash 4 Cash race of the season. The first stage ended on Lap 60, the second one on Lap 120, and the third and final one at the conclusion of the race.
Seth Eggert of Motorsports Tribune explained the Dash 4 Cash format:
The highest two finishing NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars from both Stage 1 and Stage 2 will make up the four competitors for the Dash 4 Cash. The driver of those four that finishes the highest at the end of the day wins the Dash 4 Cash. If that driver were to be the highest finishing Dash 4 Cash driver in another Dash 4 Cash event, they will qualify for the Playoffs.
With that first stage on the line in the early going, Daniel Suarez caught an unfortunate break and saw his race come to a quick end. Gluck noted a wreck "destroyed" the back end of his car and knocked down the window net.
Fox Sports captured the proceedings:
With the Dash 4 Cash format, there was plenty of early jockeying for position, especially between Jones, Austin Dillon, Elliott Sadler and William Byron at the front of the pack. Jones won the first stage, but Bob Pockrass of ESPN noted Byron and Sadler qualified to be Dash 4 Cash participants.
Allgaier then moved into the lead, but Blaney passed him by the end of the second stage.
According to Pockrass, Allgaier and Tyler Reddick became eligible for the Dash 4 Cash in the second stage. He said the best finish between Allgaier, Reddick, Sadler and Byron earned $100,000, adding even more pressure to the final 80 laps of the race.
Allgaier spread the money around, per Gluck: "If you're wondering, Allgaier said yesterday most of the bonus money goes back to the team."
Elsewhere, Joey Gase hit the wall, causing his car to temporarily catch fire, as Fox Sports shared:
Matt Tifft didn't pit and took the lead for a brief span, but Jones and Allgaier quickly passed him and traded leads for the stretch run. Jim Utter of Motorsport.com reacted to the intensity at the front of the pack:
This racing 👍👍👍👏👏👏— Jim Utter (@jim_utter) March 18, 2017
With Jones and Allgaier battling, Dillon was involved in a wreck, resulting in a red flag with nine laps remaining.
Dillon had revenge on his mind in the aftermath, as Xfinity Racing shared:
Following the crash and restart, Allgaier controlled the final four laps to clinch the victory.
While it has been some time since he prevailed on the Xfinity Series, Allgaier now has plenty of momentum following Saturday's win. It is still early in the season, and he will look to parlay the momentum from his impressive performance into a further boost in the standings in the coming races.
If he is able to close races like he did Saturday with multiple cars bearing down on him at the short track, he will find additional success as the season progresses.
Dillon talked about his crash and confrontation with Cole Custer, per Fox Sports NASCAR:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. discussed the victory for Allgaier and JR Motorsports, per Fox Sports NASCAR:
Allgaier joked after the win, per Utter: "My burnout was terrible, I apologize to everyone on my burnout. It's been a while."