Allmendinger Survives In The Rain At The ROVAL

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A.J. Allmendinger (16) races ahead of Chase Briscoe in the rain Saturday on the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. (HHP/Andrew Coppley Photo)
A.J. Allmendinger (16) races ahead of Chase Briscoe in the rain Saturday on the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. (HHP/Andrew Coppley Photo)

CONCORD, N.C. – On a rain-soaked track in miserable conditions, A.J. Allmendinger emerged as the victor of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Drive for the Cure 250 early Saturday evening on the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL.

The race served as an elimination race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs. Harrison Burton, Michael Annett, Brandon Brown and Riley Herbst were eliminated from championship contention at the end of the event.

With rain from the remnants of Hurricane Delta soaking the track shortly after the first caution waved on the third circuit, drivers were faced with unenviable conditions throughout the 68-lap event that saw several drivers crash or spin in the torrential rain.

“I don’t know what we just witnessed,” Allmendinger said. “Chris Rice (crew chief) stuck with me, I’m not going to lie, I was complaining the whole race. That was miserable, crazy.”

In the closing stages of the race it came down two drivers – Allmendinger and Chase Briscoe – who had managed to separate themselves from the rest of the pack during a period of green flag racing.

The battle between the two began to intensify on the 51st circuit as Allmendinger was able to take the lead from Briscoe coming out of turn eight. Briscoe briefly lost second to Myatt Snider, only to take the position back through the 17th corner.

Briscoe stayed close to Allmendinger and was able to get back to his bumper on lap 56. On the same lap down the backstretch Briscoe was able to get to Allmendinger’s inside entering the backstretch chicane, with Briscoe able to take the lead as they exited the chicane.

With eight laps left the caution flag waved as C.J. McLaughlin stalled between turns one and two after spinning, with Briscoe nearly making contact with McLaughlin just as the caution flag waved.

The ensuing restart came with six laps left and Briscoe and Allmendinger raced side-by-side entering turn one. Allmendinger, on the outside in turn one and turn two, was able to pull clear of Briscoe in turn three to take the lead.

Allmendinger now had the lead, but Briscoe had the faster car. Briscoe hounded Allmendinger for the next few laps, looking for a way past. Briscoe tried twice to make the pass in the backstretch chicane, but Allmendinger was wise to his tricks and blocked him each time.

“I could see him running me down in the brake zones and my spotter, Freddie Kraft, was telling me that he was really good on the brakes,” Allmendinger said.

“There was nowhere I was going to beat him on the brakes.”

With four laps left Briscoe made his move, getting to Allmendinger’s inside through in turn two. As they raced out of turn four and onto the infield straightaway Briscoe was able to get ahead of Allmendinger to take the lead.

Moments later the caution flag waved again, this time for the stopped car of Brandon Brown between turns four and five. That setup a two-lap dash to the finish, with Briscoe and Allmendinger set to battle for the lead yet again.

When the green flag waved Allmendinger and Briscoe roared into turn one, with water spraying behind them the entire way. It was here where Briscoe made his mistake as he tried to get to the gas a little too soon, causing him to spin between turns one and two.

That handed the lead to Allmendinger, who led the final two laps despite a final lap challenge from Noah Gragson to earn his second Xfinity Series victory of his career.

“Chase Briscoe was doing a fantastic job. I didn’t really have anything for him after a couple laps but I knew that final restart, I was going to do whatever I could,” Allmendinger said.

Briscoe, who was scored 18th at the checkered flag, admitted he simply made a mistake trying to hold off Allmendinger during the final restart.

“The driver just made a mistake. In the conditions like this you’ve got to be at 100 percent and I tried going 110 and it bit me,” Briscoe said. “That one is gonna sting for a long time. I felt like I did my job for about 95 percent of the day and I just knew if A.J. was beside me getting into three, he had been running me up so much, I tried throttling up and I was in first gear and I just hit the puddle and it spun me out.”

Gragson’s runner-up result was a good end to a chaotic day. He was involved in multiple incidents, including one that saw Herbst spin him out of the lead in turn three. He was able to recover each time to nearly catch Allmendinger coming to the checkered flag.

Daniel Hemric finished third, followed by Alex Labbe and Ross Chastain. Austin Cindric, Cody Ware, Jade Buford, Annett and Brandon Jones completed the top-10.

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