In a dramatic two-lap overtime shootout, Justin Allgaier squeezed past JR Motorsports teammate Josh Berry and held on to win Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Steakhouse Elite 200 at Darlington Raceway.
Allgaier chose the outside lane for the final restart and had to fend off Berry, who edged ahead entering Turn 1. But Allgaier shot the gap to the outside off Turn 2 and pulled away to win by .422 seconds.
RELATED: Official race results
Allgaier had wrestled the lead from Berry from the bottom lane on the previous restart on Lap 138 and appeared a likely winner before Ryan Vargas’ spin on Lap 143 forced the final restart and sent the race to overtime.
“Our car wasn’t as good as we wanted all day, but the guys down in the pits, they just kept fighting,” said Allgaier, who added his first Darlington win to his maiden win this season at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “To check off Atlanta and Darlington, I couldn’t be more appreciative of this race team. … We’re going to celebrate this one for a while.”
The victory was the 16th of Allgaier’s career.
Berry will cede his part-time ride in the No. 8 JRM Chevrolet to Sam Mayer in the second half of the season.
“I’m mad,” Berry said. “I want to win. I’m racing for my life out here, man. We need to find a sponsor or something so I can run this thing full time. But it’s hard to be mad, coming here, running second, no practice, first time with these guys — that’s pretty incredible.”
Brandon Jones ran third, one spot ahead of Noah Gragson, who was ultimately disqualified. Gragson went from fourth to 40th on the final results sheet.
Gragson passed Harrison Burton for the lead on Lap 100 of a scheduled 147 and held it until Gray Gaulding spun off the bumper of Joe Graf Jr.’s Chevrolet on Lap 127. Both Burton and Berry beat Gragson off pit road, a sequence of events Gragson felt was decisive.
Daniel Hemric finished fourth after leading 38 laps — second only to Gragson’s 40. Jeremy Clements came in fifth. Michael Annett, Brett Moffitt, Ryan Sieg, Alex Labbe and Burton completed the top 10. All four JR Motorsports drivers — Allgaier, Berry, Gragson and Annett — crossed the finish line in the top seven, before Gragson’s disqualification.
“We had four fantastic Camaros today, all of which had a shot at going to Victory Lane,” Allgaier said.
Series leader Austin Cindric was out front for 34 laps and won the first stage but crashed on the frontstretch coming to the checkered flag. He finished 29th and saw his points advantage over second-place Hemric shrink from 59 to 39.
Burton won Stage 2, but the decision to pit for tires before the final two-lap shootout proved unproductive. Burton, who led 12 laps, finished 10th.
The race featured nine cautions for 43 laps.
NOTE: The race-winning No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet of Justin Allgaier passed NASCAR’s post-race inspection. The No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet of Noah Gragson, however, was disqualified under Rule 20.14.c (more details). The No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet (Jeb Burton), the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet (AJ Allmendinger) and the No. 44 Martins Motorsports Chevrolet (Tommy Joe Martins) all had one lug nut not safe and secure. The were no other issues.