AJ Allmendinger scored his sixth NASCAR Xfinity Series win on Saturday in the Alsco Uniforms 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after leading three times for a total of 44 laps.
Allmendinger, who has now won four times in his last 16 Xfinity Series starts, raced with Kaulig Racing part-time in 2020 and was brought on full-time in 2021 after leaving the NASCAR Cup Series at the end of the 2018 season.
“You never know when you’re going to get to do this again,” Allmendinger said. “I want to win so bad for Matt [Kaulig] every week.”
The win is Allmendinger’s second at a 1.5-mile track in any NASCAR national touring division, with his only other coming a year ago at the Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Daniel Hemric, who was also brought on full-time in 2021 after driving part-time in 2020, led 74 of the race’s 200 laps, the most of any driver in the race, but lost the lead on the final restart after choosing the outside line to restart in, giving Allmendinger the preferred lane.
“You hate to have one get away like that,” Hemric said. “We came here and wanted to try to have more speed to lead laps and win stages and we did that today.”
The race had 23 lead changes between seven drivers and was run under caution eight times for a total of 45 laps.
The Xfinity Series will race again next weekend at Phoenix Raceway, a one-mile track isolated in the Arizona desert, on Saturday, March 13 at 5:30 p.m. ET.
Stage 1 – 45 laps
The green flag flew for the first time under sunny skies with Myatt Snider’s no. 2 out front. Daniel Hemric led the first lap, but was passed by Austin Cindric on lap 2 for the lead. Cindric jumped out to a commanding lead in the first 10 laps, jumping out nearly two seconds ahead of the second place car. After lap 10, Hemric, who was running second, began to close on Cindric, but the caution came out before Hemric could eat into the gap to Cindric too much. Stefan Parsons spun in turn 4 on lap 16, bringing out the first caution of the day.
When the race restarted on lap 26, Hemric grabbed the lead on the inside from Cindric, but Cindric took the lead right back after just three laps.
Justin Haley soon took second from Hemric in the stage’s closing laps while three JR Motorsports teammates – Noah Gragson, Michael Annett and Justin Allgaier – were moving toward the top-five quickly. Haley was able to catch the no. 22, but he couldn’t get around Cindric, who won his third stage of the year
The top-10 finishers in stage 1 were Cindric, Haley, Hemric, AJ Allmendinger, Brandon Jones, Annett, Allgaier, Gragson, Riley Herbst and Ty Dillon.
Stage 2 – 45 laps
The stage-end caution drew competitors to pit road to get serviced. Hemric took the lead off pit road followed by Cindric, Haley and Allgaier.
Hemric led the field to the green flag. Cindric had a tire go down just a lap after the restart, quickly losing a lap after he missed the pit road entrance. Just a few laps later, Ty Dillon lost control of his no. 54 Toyota and spun into Riley Herbst, bringing the caution back out and saving Cindric from losing even more time. Cindric was not only able to change his tires under the yellow, but he was also in the free pass position, so the caution put him back on the lead lap.
Hemric led the field back to the restart and held off a challenge from Allgaier, but the green flag run would end after just a handful of laps. Ryan Sieg, who was running seventh, had a tire rub that caused one of his tires to blow. He spun on the frontstretch and clipped the infield grass, destroying the splitter and fascia of Sieg’s no. 39.
Hemric led the field to another restart with 21 laps left in the stage and quickly cleared Allgaier, but after another short run, the caution came out. Haley made contact with Josh Berry and spun, but didn’t suffer any severe damage and was able to continue racing.
Hemric again led the field on the restart, this time with 14 laps to go and Hemric again cleared Allgaier for the lead. Allmendinger passed Allgaier for second, but Hemric sailed away to the stage 2 win.
In stage 2, the top-10 finishers were Hemric, Allmendinger, Allgaier, Brandon Jones, Brett Moffitt, Annett, Gragson, Harrison Burton, Brandon Brown and Cindric.
Race to the finish – 110 laps
Under the stage-end caution, Brandon Jones was able to jump to the lead ahead of Hemric and Allgaier. Jones led the field to the green flag on lap 98. He cleared Hemric for the lead and Allgaier fell back to fourth behind Allmendinger.
As Jones established a comfortable lead, other drivers began to test the limits of their cars. Cindric took his car right up against the wall to try and make faster lap times using the momentum off the high side and began picking up time immediately. Other drivers soon followed.
As the run continued, Hemric gained on Jones and took the lead on lap 119. Allmendinger followed Hemric into second, and Cindric, now back up to fourth, was running four-and-a-half seconds back of the leaders.
After trailing Hemric for some time, Allmendinger was able to pass Hemric for the lead with 62 laps to go.
With 55 laps to go, Allgaier came down pit road, starting a cycle of green flag pit stops. Allmendinger surrendered the lead to pit with 52 laps to go but cycled back around to the front after the rest of the field pitted.
As the race continually got closer to the finish, Allmendinger and Hemric established a massive lead over the rest of the field. The difference between the two front-runners was just under two seconds. From Hemric in second to Brandon Jones in third was 12 seconds.
On lap 173, Austin Cindric made contact with Harrison Burton, which sent Burton’s no. 20 spinning down the frontstretch and bringing out a caution. The lead-lap cars pitted under the yellow and Hemric was able to get back into the lead off of pit road with Allmendinger trailing.
Ty Dillon didn’t pit, which put him in the lead for the restart with 21 laps to go, but he quickly fell back, putting Hemric and Allmendinger back in the top two. Dillon tried to go up high off of turn 2, but Brett Moffitt was already there. The two made contact, bringing the caution out just a lap after the restart.
Hemric led the restart with 13 laps to go, but Allmendinger cleared Hemric for the lead out of turn 2. Allmendinger pulled away from Hemric over the last short run and cruised to his first win of the season.
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