It is not too often that dual burnouts happen after a NASCAR race, but that was the sight after the XFINITY Series’ TheHouse.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway Sept. 16 when JR Motorsports teammates Justin Allgaier and Elliott Sadler joined each other for post-race burnouts.
Allgaier emerged victorious at the race for his second win of 2017, while Sadler was awarded the regular season championship.
Allgaier did not sniff the lead until the second-to-last restart, when he made a bold three-wide pass on Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney. Allgaier will receive five extra points when the playoffs start for the win.
“I wanted them really bad,” Allgaier said. “But this right here is all about this team. After practice, we didn’t feel like we had the best car, but these guys persevered throughout the day.”
Kyle Larson finished second and Sadler took third place. Sadler had already clinched the regular season title last week at Richmond Raceway and will receive 15 points when the playoffs start next week at Kentucky Speedway.
Jones, the polesitter, dominated the first two stages of the race. Kyle Larson was tracking Jones down late in Stage 1 but got into the wall and lost momentum.
Larson lost track position during the stage break when his crew kept him on pit road longer than everyone else to make repairs from the wall contact.
Cole Custer was the highest-finishing NXS regular in both initial stages, finishing third in Stage 1 and second in Stage 2.
Jones lost the lead during the caution after Stage 2 when he was penalized for speeding on pit road. Custer inherited the lead when Jones served the pass-through penalty.
William Byron went several laps down after his shifter kept popping out of place. Byron is still in the playoffs, as his three wins earlier in the season locked him in.
Larson and Custer had a fierce battle for the lead early in the final stage with Larson eventually taking the top spot.
A caution came out when Brandon Jones spun while trying to get to pit road. Ryan Blaney grabbed the lead from Larson on the restart with 46 laps to go.
Blaney gapped himself from the rest of the field until the caution came out with 21 laps to go when Daniel Suarez spun out in Turn 4.
Erik Jones had methodically worked his way back up to third place and reclaimed the lead on pit road during the caution.
On the ensuing restart, Jones was on the inside of the front row and Blaney was on the outside. Justin Allgaier restarted in third and jumped to the inside of Jones on the apron. The three cars entered Turn 1 three-wide. Jones drifted up into Blaney, and the two made contact. Blaney slapped the wall, and Custer ran into the back of him, ruining both of their quests for the win.
Allgaier came out of the situation with the lead.
“Those late-race restarts we just got great restarts,” Allgaier said. “[Crew chief] T.J. [Majors] did a great job. I can’t thank everyone at our race shop enough.”
A caution came out when Ryan Reed spun out, resulting in a restart with seven laps to go. Jones jumped from fourth to Allgaier’s back bumper on the restart but was penalized for changing lanes too quickly and had to serve a drive-through penalty under green flag.
Allgaier, an Illinois native, cruised to his second victory at his hometown track and his second win of 2017.
“We got a great shot to go to Victory Lane a lot during these playoffs,” Allgaier said. “We’ve got a lot of momentum and, man, we wanna go to Homestead and pull all together this momentum.”
Brendan Gaughan held on to grab the 12th and final playoff spot over Dakota Armstrong with a 13th-place finish, recovering from being three laps down at one point.
The NXS tour will start the playoffs next Saturday (Sept. 23) at Kentucky Speedway.