It is no secret that A.J. Allmendinger is one of the top road course drivers not just in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, but in stock car racing as a whole. The former open-wheel racer and sports car veteran bolstered this image in Saturday’s Pit Boss 250 at Circuit of the Americas when he took the lead with fourteen laps remaining and never looked back as he scored his Xfinity-record seventh road course victory. When combined with his two career Cup Series wins, his nine national series road triumphs are tied with Jeff Gordon for the most in history.
Pole winner Ty Gibbs led the opening lap before Ross Chastain did so. Allmendinger, who was a team-mate of Chastain at Kaulig Racing before Chastain moved up to the Cup Series, claimed the lead on lap four and led to the stage win ahead of Alex Labbé, Daniel Hemric, Parker Kligerman, Justin Allgaier, Preston Pardus, Jade Buford, Parker Chase, Jeremy Clements, and Gibbs.
Chastain continued to lead throughout Stage #2 while fellow Cup driver Bubba Wallace worked his way through the order to catch him. Wallace, who frequently saw little success on road courses, remained on Chastain’s tail before a transmission issue caused him to fall off pace and out of the order. With a lap before the stage’s conclusion, Chastain pitted and the lead cycled to Sam Mayer who won his first stage ahead of Buford. Allgaier, Josh Berry, Riley Herbst, Cole Custer, Sage Karam, Chastain, Allmendinger, and Noah Gragson followed, though Custer received a speeding penalty on his stop that bumped Scott Heckert into the top ten.
A pair of debris cautions highlighted the final stage, the first of which came after just one lap of racing. Allmendinger took the lead from Chastain on said lap. A debris caution came out with nine laps remaining, but Allmendinger kept his ground and was unbeatable as he secured his first win of 2022 and eleventh in the Xfinity Series.
Allmendinger’s seven Xfinity road course wins have come across six different tracks: COTA, the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (thrice), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (twice), and Road America (once). Although he has yet to win an Xfinity race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway‘s infield road course or Watkins Glen International, both of his Cup victories came at those venues.
“I told myself yesterday I was not happy with where I put ourselves,” Allmendinger commented. “All these men and women here at Kaulig Racing, between the Cup side of it and the Xfinity side of it, they don’t sleep during the week. They’re busting their tails and that’s why I’m so freaking hard on myself sometimes because they deserve to win more than anybody here. I just want to do it for them. Thankfully, we got it done today.”
With their performances, Allmendinger, Austin Hill (finished second), Gragson (fourth), and Mayer (fifth) qualified for the first leg of the Dash 4 Cash at Richmond Raceway next Saturday.
While Allmendinger celebrated his victory, others were not as pleased with their races. Josh Bilicki was spun by Brandon Jones, and voiced his frustration on social media by tweeting that he would “be upset too if I was running lap times outside of the top 20 in a Joe Gibbs car. Doesn’t justify what the 19 did to us though. Wrecked us on a fricken straightaway!”
“Dude used his bumper on me multiple times and pushed me off track when we were side by side,” he followed. “I use my bumper on him, didn’t even come close to spinning him, and he retaliates by dumping me on a straight. Pathetic! Sadly I don’t have a daddy that can pay for the damage like him.”
Bilicki’s remark about Jones’ father refers to J.R. Jones being a longtime supporter of his son’s racing career. Jones, who races for one of the top Xfinity teams in Joe Gibbs Racing, ended his day in eighteenth. Fellow driver Cody Ware backed up Bilicki’s testimony in a deleted tweet as he recalled the 2017 Mid-Ohio race in which he was “dumped by Jones when I was running top 10 for [Mike Harmon Racing] […] Passed him on the GWC clean and he proceeded to dump me. Must be pretty tough when you get out run by teams 1/100th of the budget”.
Tommy Joe Martins, who employs Bilicki at Alpha Prime Racing, was also critical of Jones as he remarked, “Let it be known @joshbilicki drove from 34th to the top15 in 5 laps on scuffs. The reward was getting dumped on a straightaway to finish 35th. And btw for those curious the difference between 18th & 35th is $7,600 + the damage to our racecar & my guys having to bust their asses to fix it.”
Martins later added he spoke with Jones on the matter to ensure it was not “just a bs Twitter beef. He was mad & I was frustrated too. We’ll get over it. Another race next week. Just gotta get this 45 (Bilicki) back in the points where it should be.”
|1||4||16||A.J. Allmendinger||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|2||8||21||Austin Hill||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|3||3||07||Cole Custer*||SS-Green Light Racing||Ford||46||Running|
|4||12||9||Noah Gragson||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|5||10||1||Sam Mayer||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|6||21||31||Myatt Snider||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|7||13||02||Brett Moffitt||Our Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|8||16||48||Jade Buford||Big Machine Racing Team||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|9||17||88||Miguel Paludo||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|10||6||2||Sheldon Creed||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|11||35||39||Ryan Sieg||RSS Racing||Ford||46||Running|
|12||11||35||Parker Kligerman*||Emerling-Gase Motorsports||Toyota||46||Running|
|13||18||23||Anthony Alfredo||Our Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|14||7||91||Preston Pardus||DGM Racing||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|15||1||54||Ty Gibbs||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||46||Running|
|16||24||44||Sage Karam||Alpha Prime Racing||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|17||2||92||Ross Chastain*||DGM Racing||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|18||38||19||Brandon Jones||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||46||Running|
|19||23||26||Parker Chase||Sam Hunt Racing||Toyota||46||Running|
|20||28||68||Brandon Brown||Brandonbilt Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|21||33||99||Stefan Parsons||B.J. McLeod Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|22||30||28||Patrick Gallagher||RSS Racing||Ford||46||Running|
|23||20||27||Jeb Burton||Our Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|24||26||51||Jeremy Clements||Jeremy Clements Racing||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|25||19||11||Daniel Hemric||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|26||22||98||Riley Herbst||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||46||Running|
|27||25||8||Josh Berry||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|28||15||18||Bubba Wallace*||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||46||Running|
|29||36||66||J.J. Yeley||MBM Motorsports||Ford||46||Running|
|30||34||6||Ryan Vargas||JD Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|31||14||10||Landon Cassill||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|32||32||5||Scott Heckert||B.J. McLeod Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|33||9||7||Justin Allgaier||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|34||31||08||Joe Graf Jr.||SS-Green Light Racing||Ford||46||Running|
|35||27||45||Josh Bilicki||Alpha Prime Racing||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|36||5||36||Alex Labbé||DGM Racing||Chevrolet||41||Rear Gear|
|37||37||38||Will Rodgers||RSS Racing||Ford||34||Running|
|38||29||4||Bayley Currey||JD Motorsports||Chevrolet||13||Engine|
|DNQ||47||Brennan Poole||Mike Harmon Racing||Chevrolet|
|DNQ||52||Gar Robinson||Jimmy Means Racing||Chevrolet|
|DNQ||78||Josh Williams||B.J. McLeod Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|DNQ||34||Jesse Iwuji||Jesse Iwuji Motorsports||Chevrolet|
* – Ineligible for Xfinity points