A day after late pit road penalties knocked teammates Ross Chastain and Justin Haley out of potential race-winning contention, Kaulig Racing returned with three cars to the starting grid for the Contender Boats 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway as Haley and AJ Allmendinger were two of four competitors contending for the second Dash 4 Cash bonus. Following two overtime restarts, Allmendinger was able to claim the $100,000 bonus with a fourth-place result as all three Kaulig competitors finished in the top six.
The starting lineup for Sunday’s race was based on having the top-15 finishers from Saturday inverted with the next 15-finishing competitors starting Sunday as they finished on Saturday and new entries rounding out the field. Haley, who finished 13th at Miami on Saturday, was the highest-starting Kaulig Racing competitor in third while Chastain, who finished ninth, started seventh. Allmendinger started at the rear of the field since he did not compete in Saturday’s race at Homestead.
When the green flag dropped, it did not take long for Chastain to flex his muscles early as he took the lead from Myatt Snider on the second lap. He led for a total of seven laps before he was overtaken by Chase Briscoe. When the competition caution flew on Lap 20, Chastain had fallen back to fourth while fighting the balance and grip of his car. Haley was back in sixth while Allmendinger was able to work his way up to 16th. Following another caution in the closing laps of the first stage, all Kaulig Racing teammates were in the top 15 while continuing to fight the grip levels and balance of their respective Chevrolet Camaros. Under the caution, Chastain gave up track position to pit while Haley and Allmendinger remained on track with the leaders. Following a four-lap dash to the conclusion of the first stage, Haley finished 14th while Allmendinger and Chastain finished 17th and 33rd.
Following pit stops under the stage break, Chastain remained on track to inherit the lead for the start of the second stage while Haley and Allmendinger moved to 10th and 11th after pitting. When the second stage started, Chastain led four laps before being overtaken by Brandon Jones. As the laps progressed, Chastain and Allmendinger were running inside the top 10 while Haley was in 12th. In the closing laps, Allmendinger reported loose conditions to his No. 16 Ellsworth Advisors Chevrolet Camaro while Chastain and Haley were battling tight conditions and falling back from the leaders. When the second stage concluded, Allmendinger finished 10th and earned a stage point while Chastain and Haley finished 12th and 15th.
When the final stage started with 78 laps remaining, all three Kaulig teammates restarted ninth through 11th and spent the majority of the stage racing within the top 10 and 15. During the run and following green-flag pit stops, all Kaulig competitors were behind a lap from the leaders. With the race dwindling to its final laps, the Kaulig competitors appeared to have top-10 runs solidified despite being a lap down when the caution flew with two laps remaining for a single-car incident in Turn 3. By then, Allmendinger, who was the first competitor a lap behind, was the recipient of the free pass to return on the lead lap while Haley and Chastain took the wave around.
In the first overtime attempt, Allmendinger made contact with rookie Riley Herbst while battling for a top-five spot, which turned Herbst into a wreck with JR Motorsports’ Michael Annett and Daniel Hemric. Everyone else behind, including Haley and Chastain, were able to scatter pass the wreck with no damage, though Haley and Chastain pitted under caution.
In the second overtime attempt, all three Kaulig competitors restarted inside the top seven and Chastain was able to carve his way to settle in third while watching Briscoe beat Jones to win the race right in front of him. Behind him, Allmendinger fended off Noah Gragson to finish fourth for his second consecutive top-five finish in his second start of this season and emerge as the highest-finishing Dash 4 Cash contender, thus winning the second $100,000 bonus of the 2020 season. Haley settled in sixth.
“We fought hard trying to figure out how to make the car better,” Allmendinger said on MRN. “At the end, we made it the best, but we were still about a ninth-place car. I fought hard to get Ellsworth Advisors $100,000, for Chevrolet, ECR, LeafFilter Gutter Protection, for sure. Can’t thank Xfinity enough for all they do and I guess we get to go to Talladega and do it again, right?!”
With their results, Allmendinger and Haley will contend for the next Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus at Talladega Superspeedway next weekend along with Briscoe and Jones.
With his second top-five result of this season, Chastain dropped from fourth to fifth in the standings, but is 61 points behind points leader Gragson. With his sixth top-10 result of this season, Haley remained in seventh in the standings, but is 105 points behind Gragson.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will return on June 20 at Talladega Superspeedway, where the race will air at 5:30 p.m. ET on FS1.