Justin Allgaier used fresh tires to pass rookie Austin Cindric with four laps left and win the NASCAR Xfinity Series race Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at Lexington, Ohio..
Allgaier used the sixth restart of the race to squeeze by Cindric on Turn 1, then held off his challenge on the 72nd lap for his third series win of the year. He also won at Dover and Iowa for JR Motorsport.
He was seventh for the last restart on Lap 69 but had used the caution to replace all four tires.
“We needed to get up front,” Allgaier said. “We know the last restart was going to be pivotal.”
Cindric, the pole-sitter for Team Penske, finished 2.05 seconds back after leading 59 of the 75 laps on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course.
“It’s NASCAR racing. We knew there would be a late-race restart,” Cindric said. “Great driver on new tires, great restart. We finished second. It’s frustrating. This place means a lot to me. We just came up short.”
Daniel Hemric was third, followed by Matt Tifft and Ryan Truex. Series leader Christopher Bell was 11th.
“Justin did a great job moving through traffic,” Hemric said. “When you have new tires at some point during the run it tends to equal but he did a good job getting as far in front as he did.
“I was sitting there watching (Allgaier and Cindric) go at it. It was a heck of a race from my viewpoint.”
Cindric built a seven-second lead before the fifth caution on the 60th lap. Cole Custer rubbed tires with Tyler Reddick, spinning him and causing a rear right flat tire for Reddick, who could not get his car off the course. Custer also spun Allgaier during the same incident and Allgaier dropped to eighth with laps and hopes of winning quickly fading.
“I really thought that was as far as we could get,” he said.
Allgaier won the 20-lap first stage after Cindric led the first 17 laps before pitting, yielding the lead to him. Cindric won the second stage, also 20 laps.
He is the grandson of the late Jim Trueman, who once owned the track and was the car owner when Bobby Rahal won the 1986 Indianapolis 500. Trueman, the founder of Red Roof Inn, died of cancer 11 days later. Cindric’s mother was Trueman’s daughter and his father is the president of Team Penske. Allgaier moved up to fifth in the series standings with 751 points, 20 behind Bell. “We’re still pushing. I don’t know if we can get to first,” Allgaier said.
The race got off to an auspicious start when Dylan Murcott went into the tire barriers at Turn 4 on the first lap to bring out the yellow flag. He did not record a lap.
TRUCK SERIES: Brett Moffitt passed Jimmy Sauter just before the finish line at the Michigan International Speedway for his fourth NASCAR Truck Series victory of the season.
Moffitt edged Sauter — the leader the previous 12 laps — by 0.025 seconds.
“Pretty amazing this little team’s gone to Victory Lane four times this year,” Moffitt said. “The whole last however- many laps I was behind (Sauter), I would get to him, but I would push him with that air bubble between our bumpers.
“So I tried to back up (Turn) 1, let him get out there a little bit, and I knew the 8 (third-place finisher John Hunter Nemechek) was behind us. I was hoping he would actually get to us and be able to push us. But we were able to play it right and time it right. And, man, it’s just great to get here.”
Noah Gragson was fourth, and Todd Gilliland fifth after leading a race-high 18 laps.
Moffitt tied Sauter for the series victory lead. Sauter leads the season standings with 625 points, 56 points ahead of second-place Gragson going into Thursday’s race at Bristol, Tennessee, the final event before the playoffs. Eight drivers qualify for the postseason.