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Local Sports

Allgaier claims Xfinity Series Iowa 250

Winning for the first time at Iowa Speedway, Justin Allgaier celebrated a special Father’s Day on Sunday. The 32-year-old Illinois native drove to the victory in the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series Iowa 250.

“It was huge to win on Father’s Day with my dad here and my daughter here. It’s a fantastic feeling,” Allgaier said. “All in all it was a fun day and I love Iowa Speedway. I love the raciness of it and finding the lane that works for you. Today we did a good job of executing.”

Allgaier won all three stages of the race. Winning Stage 1 came with a little wiggle move as he decided to go for a pass right down the middle of pole winner and race leader Austin Cindric.

The move created a three-wide racing situation with Cindric on the high line, Allgaier in the middle and Alex Labbe, who was being lapped, running the bottom line.

Cindric and Allgaier’s cars wiggled with a little bumping but nothing major. Allgaier took the lead on the 59th lap and Stage 1 wrapped up on lap 60. He drove the JR Motorsports No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet to the front.

“Qualifying wasn’t good this morning but once we took the green and I started passing cars, I knew we had something special,” Allgaier said.

Over the course of the race, Allgaier led 182 laps. He clocked 30 laps after taking the lead then with was a back-and-forth lead change between Allgaier and Daniel Hemric until lap 92. Stage 2 ended at lap 120 and Allgaier had the lead until lap 129.

That’s when Cole Custer got in the mix and Christopher Bell, who had to start at the back of the race grid because of pre-race inspection problems. The fun was on for the final 130 laps, but Allgaier held off all challenges to win.

Bell was right there with some strong side-by-side racing. Allgaier held Bell and the rest of the field off on a final restart with 12 laps remaining.

“It was fun to race against a guy like Christopher who raced me clean so did Daniel and Cole,” Allgaier said. “Man, I was sweating bullets on that last caution. You never know.”

Bell shadowed Allgaier for almost all of the second half of the 250-lap race. He was credited with the lead on the 181st and 198th lap, but he could never fully get in front of Allgaier.

“I felt like we were better than the 7 all day,” Bell said. “We couldn’t pass him. It’s pretty hard to pass a car that’s really good like that.”

“Christopher’s car was really good at the bottom,” Allgaier said. “He battled as hard as he could battle.”

Bell wanted to be in Allgaier’s line, three-quarters of the way up the patchy, aging track. Bell was forced to try to get by Allgaier on the bottom, but could never find enough speed.

“Our lines were so different,” Bell said. “If he would have slipped one time or pushed one time, we could have gotten around him on the bottom. But he didn’t.”

Bell finished second, recording the highest finishing by a rookie. Hemric placed third followed by Custer in fourth. Brandon Jones rounded out the top five.

Cindric dropped back to cross the finish line in 11th place. He was one of four Xfinity Series rookies to finish in the top 12. Tyler Reddick was eighth and Kaz Grala took 10th. Justin Haley, who made his Xfinity Series debut on Sunday, was 12th.

Series leader Elliott Sadler, despite making contact with the wall towards the end of Stage 1 and losing a tire, finished the race but saw his points lead shrink. He came in with a 41-point lead in the standings and left with a four-point lead over Custer and a seven-point lead over Hemric.

Iowa natives Michael Annett and Joey Gase ran 13th and 21st, respectively, on their home track Sunday.

“We’ve had good, solid days here in the past,” said Jason Burdett, Allgaier’s crew chief. “Today we put it together. Justin’s in control of the car and he diid a phenomenal job today.”

There was only one caution because of an on-track incident during the first two stages of Sunday’s race. Two more came in the final 130 laps of the race.

The 2018 Iowa 250 followed suit at Iowa Speedway. In eight Iowa 250’s there have been eight different winners.

“We had a great car today, these guys did a fantastic job,” Allgaier said. “Iowa is a great place and the fans here are incredible. It’s just one of those places that you’ve got to go to. We’re in the middle of corn fields — how could you not enjoy this?”

Allgaier, who won in his 13th start at Iowa Speedway, admitted after the race he had said “I want to take one of those home. when he first saw the Iowa Speedway gas pump trophy.

Well on Sunday, he gave himself a great Father’s Day present. Allgaier claimed his Iowa Speedway trophy winning the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series Iowa 250

The Xfinity Series is off until June 30 when it will be back in action at Chicagoland Speedway with the Overton’s 300. The series returns to Iowa Speedway for the U.S. Cellular 250 on July 28 to close out the racing season at the Newton racetrack.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets at
641-792-3121 ext. 6535
or jsheets@newtondailynews.com

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