RICHMOND, Va. – In a battle of Justins and a battle of filter brands, Justin Allgaier came out on top of Justin Haley to win Friday night’s Go Bowling 250 at Richmond Raceway.
Managing his tires to perfection over a 93-lap green flag run to the finish, Allgaier ran down Haley – one of the night’s dominant drivers – and soared to the outside to make the winning pass with 29 laps left.
From there, Allgaier mastered slower traffic and inched away down the home stretch, ultimately collecting his second NASCAR Xfinity Series win of the season – both in the last five races.
After so much bad luck through the first half of 2020, Allgaier was all smiles in victory lane after seemingly finally shaking off the cloud that has plagued both he and JR Motorsports.
“I didn’t know when it was time (to go),” said Allgaier, who led twice for a race-high 78 laps. “He (Haley) pushed the pace there early on, but these guys did a fantastic job. I feel like we’ve had so many get away here and just haven’t been able to seal the deal; it’s been so frustrating. I’m so proud of this team. The effort, the pit stops were amazing. I can’t be more excited going into tomorrow.
“I got damage early! I feel bad,” Allgaier added. “I had to make up for the damage I got early, so it’s just how it goes, I guess.”
Friday night’s score was also the first for Blake Koch’s FilterTime air filter brand as a sponsor in NASCAR.
“Blake Koch, we did it buddy! We got FilterTime in victory lane!” Allgaier noted in the winner’s circle, a huge smile on his face as he did so.
“I’m in shock … and maybe there’s a few tears,” Koch said after the race. “What a night.”
Asked if anything has changed recently to spark his surge of momentum, Allgaier just offered a grin.
“Nothing’s changed, it’s just being on the right end of the stick,” he said.
With the last stage going green to the finish, tire strategy never became a factor in the closing laps. That meant that many teams – including all four Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas – had two sets of Goodyear tires that laid unused in the pit area at the end of the night.
That wasn’t the case for Haley, who was out front twice in his own right, leading a career-high 51 laps in a single race. His tires simply faded too fast at the end to be able to battle back against Allgaier.
“Obviously you try to save as much as possible here,” noted Haley, whose Chevrolet was adorned with LeafFilter, team owner Matt Kaulig’s gutter filter company. “The team wanted me to back it down, and I kept backing it down … I wasn’t slipping the tires, so I think there was an issue and Allgaier was just a little bit better than I was (because of it), because he was a lot more sideways than I was.”
Kyle Busch came home a disappointing third in his final Xfinity Series start of the season, 2.55 seconds adrift of Allgaier’s winning Chevrolet.
He never led a lap all night, the first time since Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway in March of 2018 that Busch failed to reach the front of the field in the Xfinity Series.
Austin Cindric and Ross Chastain filled out the top five, followed by Our Motorsports’ Brett Moffitt, who was the surprise of the night with an impressive sixth-place finish.
Michael Annett, Noah Gragson and Kaz Grala were seventh through ninth, respectively, and the last three cars on the lead lap. Riley Herbst finished one lap down to the leaders in 10th.
Of note, Chad Finchum’s No. 61 Toyota was disqualified for failing rear heights in post-race inspection. He originally finished 27th, but is officially credited with last in the 37-car field.
With his 15th-place finish, Tommy Joe Martins will start on the pole for Saturday afternoon’s Virginia is for Racing Lovers 250, the second half of an Xfinity Series doubleheader at Richmond.
The green flag for the Saturday race is slated for 2 p.m. ET, with live coverage on NBCSN, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.