NEWTON, Iowa – Justin Allgaier put together a dominant performance to capture Sunday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Iowa 250 at Iowa Speedway.

Allgaier swept the first two stages of the race and led a race-high 182 of 250 laps, but he had to fend off a determined challenge from Christopher Bell during the final half of the race before he could celebrate in victory lane.

Driving the No. 7 BRANDT Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, Allgaier took the lead for the first time on lap 59 when he drove by polesitter Austin Cindric. He would go mostly unchallenged from that point until just after the start of the final stage, when Bell moved into second and began challenging Allgaier for the lead.

Bell, driving the No. 20 Rheem Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, didn’t make a qualifying attempt earlier in the day because of inspection issues and was forced to start 39th. He was third at the end of stage two and moved into second shortly after the start of the final stage on lap 131.

Once in second Bell began challenging Allgaier, getting alongside him on lap 134. They stayed side-by-side for the next few laps, but Allgaier managed to hold the lead on the high side as Bell stuck to the bottom in the turns.

The lead duo stayed in lockstep as they raced through traffic, with Bell briefly getting the lead on lap 181. Allgaier fought back and managed to regain the lead one lap later, but Bell continued to stay close.

Bell managed to snatch the lead away again for a brief moment on lap 198, but once again Allgaier battled back to regain the lead on the next lap. One lap later, the caution flag waved when Chad Finchum bounced off the wall in turn two, setting up a round of pit stops under caution.

Justin Allgaier (7) leads the field Sunday at Iowa Speedway. (HHP/Andrew Coppley photo)

Allgaier managed to get off pit road first with Cole Custer, Cindric and Bell following. The race resumed with 45 laps left and Custer briefly snatched the lead away as Cindric went three-wide, but yet again Allgaier fought back and regained the lead on lap 206.

Bell managed to fight his way back to second and he continued to chase the lead until the final caution flag of the race waved on lap 234 when Brandon Hightower spun in turn four. That set up the final restart of the race with 12 laps left as Allgaier looked to seal the deal.

He launched back into the lead on the restart as Bell tried to hold off Brandon Jones for second. Bell dispatched Jones, but despite his best efforts he couldn’t chase Allgaier down. Allgaier ended up beating Bell to the finish by .745 of a second.

The victory locks Allgaier into the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs, since his previous victory this year at Dover Int’l Speedway doesn’t count because of a post-race penalty.

“We had a great car today. These guys did a fantastic job. I can’t thank everybody at JR Motorsports enough,” said Allgaier. “Our BRANDT Professional Agriculture Camaro was fast. It was incredible. We’re in the middle of corn fields. How can you not enjoy this?”

Bell said he simply didn’t have enough speed to clear Allgaier while they were fighting for the lead.

“I just needed to be in front of him. Our Rheem Camry was really good. It was really good on the bottom, both corners, but I just didn’t have enough to clear him,” Bell said. “He could just kind of ride that outside there, outside my door and keep me pinned down.”

Daniel Hemric finished third, followed by Custer and Jones. Riley Herbst, making his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut for Joe Gibbs Racing, finished a strong sixth. Ty Majeski was seventh ahead of Tyler Reddick, Matt Tifft and Kaz Grala.

For complete results, advance to the next page.