Fire and rain: Allgaier, Gibbs slam doors before Kansas stoppage, snag top fives

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — One of the most dramatic restarts of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season came Saturday at Kansas Speedway, with rain on the horizon and top title contenders vying for the win.

Until the final restart, Ty Gibbs’ No. 54 Toyota had been the car to beat all afternoon. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver won Stage 1 and led a race-high 66 laps before JR Motorsports took control of the race.

With just two laps remaining in Stage 2, the green flag dropped for the final time and Justin Allgaier chased JRM teammate Noah Gragson through Turn 1 and down the backstretch. As Allgaier stumbled before the white-flag lap, Gibbs raced to his outside and the No. 54 Toyota driver pulled ahead.

Coming through Turn 4 for the final time, Allgaier squeezed Gibbs before diving to the bottom lane toward the finish line. In retaliation, Gibbs dove hard into the door of the No. 7 Chevrolet and the two collided coming to the checkered flag.

In his post-race television interview, Gibbs was remorseful.

“I’m very disappointed in my actions and I apologize to him. I thought [the contact with the wall] was worse.”

RELATED: Race results | Photos from Kansas

Allgaier shared his perspective on the final-lap incident.

“The tough part about [the contact] is I know we’re coming to the end of the stage and all those things, but if we were to go back green, I think it extremely limited his day,” Allgaier said in a post-race interview. “And probably was going to limit our day, as well. So, probably not the right move to make.

“I felt like I left some room out there and obviously I wanted it to be tight, right? You’re trying to get everything you can get, but try to leave enough room that he was gonna have a lane without making contact. Frustrations get the best of you, but just hate it that we tore up a race car that really wasn’t torn up before that.”

The race was called after the Stage 2 finish due to inclement weather — a rain-shortened end to a rugged battle that was just heating up.

But when asked if he would continue the tension moving forward, Allgaier replied with a peaceful outlook.

“It’s hard to have a strained relationship in this garage without trying to mend fences,” Allgaier said. “You’re around these guys and gals for what feels like an eternity throughout the course of the year. So, you have to mend fences. I know what he said in his interview and whether that’s what he feels or not, that’s to be seen. But I’m sure we’ll talk about it before we go next week to Bristol.”

Next Saturday’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET, USA Network, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is the final race before the Xfinity Series Playoffs begin.