On Saturday, Justin Allgaier put up the best performance by a #7 in Nashville since Billy Volek’s 426-yard, four-touchdown performance at the nearby Nissan Stadium on 13 December 2004 as he won both stages and led 134 of 188 laps to take the NASCAR Xfinity Series‘ Tennessee Lottery 250 at Nashville Superspeedway.
The win is Allgaier’s second of 2022 and his first at Nashville, which returned to the schedule in 2021 (where he placed runner-up to Kyle Busch) after he had made six starts between 2009 and 2011. He described his #7 JR Motorsports car on Saturday as one of the best he had driven, arguing he did not “think ever” that he had a better machine.
“What a heck of a race,” he continued. “We’ve been coming here for a long time, and I love this race track. Been trying to get a win so bad and hadn’t been able to do it.
“Today was like a dirt race. It was slick, it was hot, we were sliding around. I’ve got a guitar to take home, and we’re going to enjoy it.”
While Allgaier stomped the field, Sheldon Creed, Joe Graf Jr., and Jeb Burton got stomped in a crash on lap 124. Other incidents included Josh Berry who spun with contact from Ryan Preece and Sam Mayer and Ty Gibbs‘ beef returning as they collided, though all but Berry would finish in the top ten.
“[Mayer] just packed air on my left rear and I got out there and he drove into me,” Gibbs said. “It’s just part of it. Hopefully, we learned from it and we don’t have to go through that again. I’ve done that mistake too with the #39 (Ryan Sieg) at the beginning of the year (at Las Vegas). It’s just part of it, part of the learning experience.
“[…] We’re both the same age so we’ll see what happens.”
Trevor Bayne finished a distant second after having to overcome a pit penalty for two tyres rolling into the neighbouring pit stall of pole winner Riley Herbst.
“It’s really hard to win a race when you go to the back twice,” Bayne remarked. We drove to second twice, from the back. The second stage, we came in with Riley and hit a pit crew member—not intentionally, but it can happen, then fell back to fifteenth and drove back to second. Then we had a loose wheel and had to go to the very back and drove back and was catching Allgaier. He’s my buddy, Gator, congrats to him. Happy for him, but man, I wanted to win that guitar and win here at Nashville.
“I feel like we did everything right on the car and feel like I did everything right behind the wheel. We have to clean up the mistakes and we’re going to win because it takes every piece of this deal. But thankful to be here, but it’s perspective. I used to be mad and I’m still mad, but with perspective, being happy to be here.”
Herbst apologised to Bayne’s crew and said, “I had no intention of doing that. […] I just got in there hot. I locked up the left-front and just a bummer deal. We both lost spots, so by no means was I trying to do that.”
Despite the pit road struggles, Herbst was able to finish third for his third top five of the season, tying his total from 2021. Gibbs placed behind him to cap off a strong day for Monster Energy drivers. It was the fourth time that both drivers finished in the top five (third in 2022) and fifth with top tens for both.
“I don’t think the whole field had anything for the #7, I think he was on cruise control all day,” commented Herbst. “But our Monster Energy Ford Mustang was really good. I’m just proud of us as a group. Way to execute. I messed up on pit road a few times myself and the team, so we’ve got to clean up a little stuff there but, all in all, it was a good day. We got a pole and good points. This is what we need to keep doing, just knock on the door and eventually it will open.”
“We got the pole and we wanted to lead some laps, but unfortunately we didn’t lead any laps. We got quite a bit of stage points, which is what we needed. It’s just a really good day for everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing, myself included. I’m proud of all these guys on the #98 team. If just keep doing these runs we’ll eventually get there and if we just keep knocking on the door, eventually it will open.”
Among the one-offs, B.J. McLeod finished twenty-eighth as a substitute in the #08 SS-Green Light Racing car for an ill David Starr. Dillon Bassett, whose team has struggled with qualifying for races or being locked out of those without it, made his first start since the 2020 Charlotte race and was thirtieth.
|1||5||7||Justin Allgaier||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||188||Running|
|2||3||18||Trevor Bayne||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||188||Running|
|3||1||98||Riley Herbst||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||188||Running|
|4||14||54||Ty Gibbs||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||188||Running|
|5||21||1||Sam Mayer||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||188||Running|
|6||27||5||Ryan Preece*||B.J. McLeod Motorsports||Ford||188||Running|
|7||11||26||Jeffrey Earnhardt||Sam Hunt Racing||Toyota||188||Running|
|8||4||21||Austin Hill||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||188||Running|
|9||24||39||Ryan Sieg||RSS Racing||Ford||188||Running|
|10||15||02||Brett Moffitt||Our Motorsports||Chevrolet||188||Running|
|11||17||68||Brandon Brown||Brandonbilt Motorsports||Chevrolet||188||Running|
|12||25||28||Parker Retzlaff||RSS Racing||Ford||188||Running|
|13||6||9||Noah Gragson||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||187||Running|
|14||8||19||Brandon Jones||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||187||Running|
|15||23||45||Stefan Parsons*||Alpha Prime Racing||Chevrolet||187||Running|
|16||2||16||A.J. Allmendinger||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||187||Running|
|17||10||11||Daniel Hemric||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||187||Running|
|18||12||10||Landon Cassill||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||187||Running|
|19||29||6||Ryan Vargas||JD Motorsports||Chevrolet||187||Running|
|20||26||23||Anthony Alfredo||Our Motorsports||Chevrolet||187||Running|
|21||18||48||Tyler Reddick*||Big Machine Racing Team||Chevrolet||186||Running|
|22||22||51||Jeremy Clements||Jeremy Clements Racing||Chevrolet||186||Running|
|23||31||36||Alex Labbé||DGM Racing||Chevrolet||186||Running|
|24||20||44||Ryan Ellis||Alpha Prime Racing||Chevrolet||185||Running|
|25||28||38||Kyle Sieg||RSS Racing||Ford||185||Running|
|26||38||35||Patrick Emerling||Emerling-Gase Motorsports||Chevrolet||185||Running|
|27||35||31||Myatt Snider||Jordan Anderson Racing||Chevrolet||185||Running|
|28||34||08||B.J. McLeod||SS-Green Light Racing||Ford||185||Running|
|29||9||8||Josh Berry||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||184||Running|
|30||30||77||Dillon Bassett||Bassett Racing||Chevrolet||182||Running|
|31||36||4||Bayley Currey||JD Motorsports||Chevrolet||181||Running|
|32||37||66||Natalie Decker||MBM Motorsports||Toyota||181||Running|
|33||33||13||J.J. Yeley||MBM Motorsports||Toyota||157||Running|
|34||32||78||Josh Williams||B.J. McLeod Motorsports||Chevrolet||136||Electrical|
|35||7||27||Jeb Burton||Our Motorsports||Chevrolet||126||Accident|
|36||19||2||Sheldon Creed||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||124||Accident|
|37||13||07||Joe Graf Jr.||SS-Green Light Racing||Ford||123||Accident|
|38||16||34||Kyle Weatherman||Jesse Iwuji Motorsports||Chevrolet||118||Power|
|DNQ||91||Mason Massey||DGM Racing||Chevrolet|
|DNQ||47||Brennan Poole*||Mike Harmon Racing||Chevrolet|
|DNQ||99||Matt Mills*||B.J. McLeod Motorsports||Chevrolet|
* – Ineligible for points