NASCAR Xfinity Series

A.J. Allmendinger wins again in Drive for the Cure 250

3 Mins read
Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Prior to the 2021 NASCAR season, A.J. Allmendinger had one Cup Series and five Xfinity Series race victories. By the end of Saturday, he had doubled his total in both.

Allmendinger scored his fifth win of the 2021 Xfinity season when he took the lead in Saturday’s Drive for the Cure 250 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval and never looked back in overtime. It is his third straight victory at the Roval and sixth on a road course. Combine with his Cup win at the Indianapolis Road Course in August and there is little doubt that Allmendinger is one of the premier road racers in any NASCAR series.

Austin Cindric started on the pole while Allmendinger was mired back in fourteenth, his second-worst starting spot after beginning the Homestead race in February in twenty-fourth, due to the formula accounting for his early crash at Talladega the previous week. Sage Karam spun after two laps and Jade Buford and Brett Moffitt crashed together for the first of six race-related cautions. Gray Gaulding‘s rear gear failed and caused his #74 to stop on track for another yellow.

At the front, Cindric led the first seven laps before overshooting a backstretch chicane and having to serve a stop-and-go penalty that allowed Daniel Hemric to take the top spot. Hemric would take the stage win ahead of Allmendinger, Noah Gragson, Ty Gibbs, Justin Haley, Brandon Jones, Riley Herbst, Harrison Burton, Jeb Burton, and Jeremy Clements.

In Stage #2, a caution came on lap 30 for debris after Josh Bilicki locked up his brakes coming to the backstretch chicane and attempted to swerve instead of crash into those in front of him, but he ran over rumble strips that launched his car into the air; NASCAR eventually removed the strips for the Cup race on Sunday. Meanwhile, Cindric dominated the stage before pitting on lap 36 and relinquishing the lead and stage win to Hemric. Haley, Myatt Snider, Gragson, Clements, Jones, Harrison Burton, Gibbs, Jeb Burton, and Sam Mayer rounded out the top ten.

Gibbs took the lead to begin the final stage. However, he also missed the backstretch chicane on lap 48 and surrendered first to Allmendinger. With four laps remaining, Tommy Joe Martins—who was battling a poor-handling car after being spun on the opening lap and damaging the right front—blew his right-front tyre and slammed into the outside wall. While Martins walked away from the accident without injury, he subsequently tweeted that his “ankle & knee & ribs are gonna be sore tomorrow. Knocked the wind out of me. One of the hardest hits I’ve ever had.”

Martins’ crash set up overtime. As Allmendinger pulled away to win his sixth career Xfinity road course race (the most of any driver in series history), chaos unfolded behind him when Mayer turned Gibbs, though he was able to avoid a spin after drifting across the track. Coming to the finish, multiple drivers including Snider spun, with Brandon Brown crossing the line backwards.

Race results

FinishStartNumberDriverTeamManufacturerLapsStatus
11416A.J. AllmendingerKaulig RacingChevrolet68Running
2122Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord68Running
3318Daniel HemricJoe Gibbs RacingToyota68Running
4511Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet68Running
5619Brandon JonesJoe Gibbs RacingToyota68Running
6109Noah GragsonJR MotorsportsChevrolet68Running
73790Preston PardusDGM RacingChevrolet68Running
8132Myatt SniderRichard Childress RacingChevrolet68Running
927Justin AllgaierJR MotorsportsChevrolet68Running
10158Sam MayerJR MotorsportsChevrolet68Running
111792Josh WilliamsDGM RacingChevrolet68Running
121151Jeremy ClementsJeremy Clements RacingChevrolet68Running
13710Jeb BurtonKaulig RacingChevrolet68Running
142036Alex LabbéDGM RacingChevrolet68Running
15820Harrison BurtonJoe Gibbs RacingToyota68Running
161948Jade BufordBig Machine RacingChevrolet68Running
17354Landon CassillJD MotorsportsChevrolet68Running
184061Austin Hill*Hattori Racing EnterprisesToyota68Running
192399J.J. YeleyB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet68Running
20320Jeffrey EarnhardtJD MotorsportsChevrolet68Running
211254Ty GibbsJoe Gibbs RacingToyota68Running
221668Brandon BrownBrandonbilt MotorsportsChevrolet68Running
232447Kyle WeathermanMike Harmon RacingChevrolet68Running
243678Stefan ParsonsB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet68Running
252831Sage KaramJordan Anderson RacingChevrolet68Running
262523Ty DillonOur MotorsportsChevrolet68Running
2741Michael AnnettJR MotorsportsChevrolet68Running
283017Joe Graf Jr.SS-Green Light RacingChevrolet67Running
292926Will RodgersSam Hunt RacingToyota67Running
30265Matt MillsB.J. McLeod MotorsportsToyota67Running
313352Spencer Boyd*Jimmy Means RacingChevrolet67Running
321839Ryan SiegRSS RacingFord66Running
332144Tommy Joe MartinsMartins MotorsportsChevrolet63Accident
34998Riley HerbstStewart-Haas RacingFord61Suspension
353466Loris HezemansMBM MotorsportsToyota59Electrical
36276Ryan VargasJD MotorsportsChevrolet47Axle
372202Brett MoffittOur MotorsportsChevrolet30Accident
383107Josh BilickiSS-Green Light RacingChevrolet28Accident
393815Kris Wright*JD MotorsportsToyota19Suspension
403974Gray GauldingMike Harmon RacingChevrolet10Rear Gear
Bold – Currently in playoffs
Underline – Eliminated from playoffs
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Xfinity points
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History major at San Jose State University and lifelong motorsports fan who covers NASCAR and the Stadium Super Trucks.
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