Allmendinger survives to win the inaugural Xfinity Series event at Portland

From last place to Victory Lane, AJ Allmendinger persevered over a four-lap shootout and a battle with Myatt Snider to win the inaugural Pacific Office Automation 147 at Portland International Raceway on Saturday, June 4.

The 40-year-old Allmendinger from Los Gatos, California, led twice for a total of six of 75 laps and rallied from going off the course and making an unscheduled pit stop to clean his grille, where he eventually lost a lap to the leaders and went off course a few more times throughout the event, to methodically carve his way back to the front and place himself in late contention for the win while a majority of the field endured a series of on-track carnages around the 12-turn circuit amid wet conditions. Then during a four-lap restart to the finish, Allmendinger battled, bumped and overtook Snider to take the lead as he went on to grab the wildest victory of his racing career.

Following a rain-shortened on-track qualifying session on Friday, Anthony Alfredo notched his first career pole position after notching a pole-winning lap at 93.229 mph in 76.071 seconds. Joining him on the front row was rookie Austin Hill, who clocked in a qualifying lap at 92.973 mph in 76.280 seconds.

Prior to the event, the following competitors that included Ryan Vargas, Josh Berry, AJ Allmendinger, Myatt Snider, Darren Dilley, Ryan Sieg and Mason Filippi dropped to the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments to their respective cars. In addition, Noah Gragson started at the rear of the field after wrecking his primary car during Friday’s practice session along with Josh Williams, who missed the driver introductions.

When the green flag waved and the race started amid wet conditions, Daniel Hemric made a three-wide move on both Alfredo and Hill to assume the lead through the first two turns. Through the first two turns, however, Alfredo and Hill missed the turn and went off the course while Sam Mayer was turned and spun as the field stacked up. As the field continued to run under green, AJ Allmendinger, who went off the course while coming to the green flag and got grass over his grille, made an unscheduled pit stop.

Following the completion of the first lap and through the 12-turn circuit amid the wet conditions, Creed, who overtook Alfredo for the lead, led the first lap followed by Gibbs and Hemric while Alfredo and Hill were in the top five. Connor Mosack, who was making his Xfinity Series debut in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota Supra, was in sixth followed by Brett Moffitt, Riley Herbst, Jeremy Clements and Justin Allgaier.

During the second lap, Gibbs, who battled Creed throughout the circuit, moved into the lead, where he went on to lead the lap, while Hemric, Hill and Moffitt were in the top five. By then, Allmendinger went off the course in Turn 5 as he lost more ground to the leaders.

Two laps later, Justin Allgaier spun and went off the course in Turn 5 while running in the top 10, though the race continued to run under green.

By the fifth lap, Gibbs continued to lead by nearly four seconds over Creed followed by Hill, Moffitt and Hemric while Connor Mosack. Riley Herbst, Jeb Burton, Alfredo and Parker Chase were scored in the top 10.

Through the first 10 scheduled laps, Gibbs remained out in front by more than 12 seconds over Creed followed by Hill, Moffitt and Mosack. By then, Allmendinger was lapped by the field in 32nd place. In addition, Noah Gragson went off the course in Turn 5 while running in the top 15.

Three laps later, the first caution of the event flew due to Mayer slowing on the track as he sustained front-end damage after running into the rear of Alex Labbe due to Labbe reducing his pace while trying to avoid a spinning Brandon Jones. The damage was enough to end Mayer’s event on pit road and with a damaged race car.

When the race restarted on Lap 16, Gibbs rubbed and fended off Creed and Hill to retain the lead through the first two turns. As the field made their way back to the start/finish line, Gibbs was ahead by two seconds over Creed followed by Hill, Moffitt and Riley Herbst while Mosack, Hemric, Cassill, Jeb Burton and Alex Labbe were in the top 10.

During the following lap, Creed went off course and spun in Turn 4 as he dropped out of the top 10 while Hill, Herbst, Connor Mosack and Hemric moved up the leaderboard behind Gibbs.

At the Lap 20 mark, Gibbs extended his advantage to more than 10 seconds over Hill while Herbst, Mosack and Hemric remained in the top five. By then, Brandon Jones and Gragson missed the chicane and served a brief “stop and go” penalty on the course before continuing under green.

When the first stage concluded on Lap 25, Gibbs claimed his third stage victory of the 2022 Xfinity season. Hill settled in second followed by Mosack, Hemric, Moffitt, Alex Labbe, Gragson, Cassill, Brandon Jones and Justin Allgaier. By then, the on-track carnages under the slick conditions continued as Allgaier, Riley Herbst and Allmendinger had slipped off the course earlier.

During the stage break, the competitors pitted and the crew members were given three minutes to service the cars with the competitors maintaining their positions from the first stage.

The second stage started on Lap 26 as Gibbs retained the lead ahead of Hill, Mosack and the field. Through Turns 3 and 4, however, chaos ensued when Riley Herbst got turned by Creed as he was then hit by Gray Gaulding. With Matt Jackal and Darren Dilley also involved, the caution returned.

When the race proceeded under green on Lap 31, Gibbs maintained the lead ahead of Hill and Connor Mosack as the field made their way through the first two turns before entering Turns 3 and 4. During the following lap, Hill missed the chicane while running in third place. In the process, Clements went off the course in Turn 4 while Ryan Sieg spun on the course. 

As the on-track carnage continued with Labbe, Hemric and Moffitt all going off the course in their separate incidents, the caution flew due to mud between Turns 11 and 12 on Lap 39. At the same time, Jesse Iwuji was parked for two laps in his pit stall after turning the leader Gibbs on the track.

When the race proceeded under green on Lap 43, another stack-up towards the front resulted with Brandon Jones getting hit and spinning in Turn 1 while Gragson challenged and overtook Gibbs to lead. Then in Turn 5, Gibbs bumped into, and turned, Gragson’s No. 9 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Camaro in Turn 5 as Creed took the lead. Shortly after, however, Creed and Gibbs got together in Turn 12 and spun while battling for the lead as the No. 44 Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet Camaro piloted by road-course ringer Andy Lally emerged with the lead. 

By Lap 45, Clements spun in Turn 11 and Moffitt spun while running in the runner-up spot as Lally continued to lead. Two laps later, however, Myatt Snider moved into the lead over Lally. In the midst of the battle for the lead, Allmendinger and Jeb Burton each went off the course.

When the second stage concluded on Lap 50, Snider claimed his first Xfinity stage victory of the season. Lally settled in second followed by Hill, Cassill, Berry, Alfredo, Allgaier, Allmendinger, Creed and Jade Buford.

Following another intermission, the final stage started with 23 laps remaining. At the start and as the field fanned out through the first three turns, Snider maintained the lead ahead of Lally while Cassill, Hill and Alfredo were in the top five. It did not take long, however, for the caution to return due to debris spotted in Turn 1. 

Three laps later, the race restarted under green as Snider retained the lead ahead of Lally, Cassill and Allmendinger. Through the first turn, however, a number of competitors that included Creed, Jeb Burton, Labbe, Hemric, Brandon Jones and Spencer Pumpelly all spun and wrecked despite the race proceeding under green. In the midst of the carnage, the caution returned due to fluid on the course. During the caution period, Creed, whose No. 2 Whelen Chevrolet Camaro sustained heavy front nose damage, made an obscene gesture towards Jade Buford to express his displeasure over being bumped and turned by Buford during the previous restart.

Down to the final 13 laps of the event, the race restarted under green. At the start, Snider overshot the first turn as Allmendinger assumed command followed by Allgaier before Snider fought back entering Turn 3. Behind, Moffitt got turned sideways through Turns 3 and 4 as Mosack, Spencer Pumpelly, Bayley Currey and pole-sitter Anthony Alfredo were all sent sideways with damage to their respective cars. The caution soon followed due to the carnage between Turns 3 and 4. By then, the rain was also slowly returning near the circuit. 

Under the caution period, nearly the entire field led by Allmendinger pitted for rain tires while Jade Buford and JJ Yeley remained on the track.

Down to the final seven laps of the event, the race restarted under green. At the start and as the field fanned out to multiple lanes, Allgaier, Cassill and Lally spun with Gibbs and Stefan Parsons sustaining damage while Snider and Allmendinger dueled for the lead. Just as Snider fended off Allmendinger to retain the lead, the caution flew yet again due to debris on the course. By then, the rain had dissipated.

With four laps remaining, the race restarted under green. At the start, Snider fended off Allmendinger to lead through the first three turns as the field jostled for positions. Not long after, however, Allmendinger, who was in last place prior to the first lap, emerged with the top spot with Berry, Hill and Hemric in the top five. Behind, Ryan Sieg spun while the race continued to run under green flag conditions.

During the following lap, Allmendinger was ahead by seven-tenths of a second over Snider followed by Berry, Hill and Hemric while Yeley, Gibbs, Allgaier, Brandon Jones and Gragson were in the top 10.

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Allmendinger continued to lead by a second-and-a-half over Snider. With Snider unable to narrow the deficit between himself and the leader, Allmendinger navigated his way through the 12-turn circuit smoothly and cycled his way back to the finish line to grab the first checkered flag and conquer the first Xfinity event in Portland, Oregon.

With the victory, Allmendinger notched his third consecutive road course victory in the Xfinity circuit, his eighth overall in the series, his second of the season after winning at Circuit of the Americas in March and the 12th of his career in his 74th series start. He also became the fourth Xfinity Series regular to achieve multiple victories in 2022.

“Oh my god,” Allmendinger, who is pulling double-duty service for Kaulig Racing and is set to compete in Sunday’s Cup Series event at Gateway, said on FS1. “All the men and women at Kaulig Racing deserve that. I was awful. I cannot believe I crashed before we went green. I was off the race track, I think, four times. [I] Made all kinds of mistakes, was all over the place. Just proud of everybody on this Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevy.

“I was melting down in the car, honestly, making so many mistakes, trying so hard. I put so much pressure on myself at these races because I know what everybody expects. I know what I expect out of myself more importantly, but god, what a win. It might be one of the craziest wins I’ve ever had. Most mistakes ever to win a race, for sure, but all the fans at Portland for staying out here. This place is packed. Sixteen years ago, I won, this month, my first Champ Car race and it’s surreal that I get to do this…In these conditions, I knew that if I could get to the lead, I could kind of dictate it. I was fighting hard there, but Myatt [Snider] did a great job. He’s always fast on these road courses. Fun racing, just insanity, but thank everybody at Chevy that allows us to do this. Thank you, everybody.”

Snider notched his first top-five result of the season by finishing in second place followed by Austin Hill while Berry and Allgaier finished in the top five.

“I think, just AJ’s experience [beat me],” Snider said. “I could tell he was setting up those exits better than I was. Everywhere else, we were neck-to-neck. To me, that’s good hard racing. It’s not like he dumped me for no reason or spun me out or anything. He just got into me a little bit and all those restarts were extremely rough. For him to just kind of rub my door a little bit, that’s racing to me. It’s what this Xfinity Series is all about. It’s so cool to be disappointed with second. The team that’s only a year and a half old and to get a stage win, it’s the first stage win, probably, first top three [finish] with this car. Just can’t say enough about the boys from Jordan Anderson Racing. It’s a great day to be disappointed with second, but still disappointed.”

Hemric, Gibbs, Yeley, Gragson and Alex Labbe completed the top 10 on the track.

There were eight lead changes for six different leaders. The race featured nine cautions for 26 laps. A total of 21 of the 38 starters finished on the lead lap in the first Xfinity event at Portland.

With 12 races remaining of the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series regular-season stretch, AJ Allmendinger leads the regular-season standings by 43 points over Ty Gibbs, 44 over Noah Gragson and 64 over Josh Berry and Justin Allgaier.

Ty Gibbs, AJ Allmendinger, Noah Gragson, Josh Berry, Justin Allgaier, Brandon Jones and rookie Austin Hill are currently guaranteed spots for the 2022 Xfinity Playoffs based on winning once throughout the regular season stretch while Sam Mayer, Daniel Hemric, Landon Cassill, Riley Herbst and Ryan Sieg occupy the remaining vacant spots to the Playoffs based on points. Anthony Alfredo trails the top-12 cutline by 58 points, Jeb Burton trails by 67, Brett Moffit trails by 71, Brandon Brown trails by 72 and Sheldon Creed trails by 73.

Results.

1. AJ Allmendinger, six laps led

2. Myatt Snider, 19 laps led, Stage 2 winner

3. Austin Hill

4. Josh Berry

5. Justin Allgaier

6. Daniel Hemric

7. Ty Gibbs, 42 laps led, Stage 1 winner

8. JJ Yeley

9. Noah Gragson

10. Alex Labbe

11. Brandon Jones

12. Brandon Brown

13. Scott Heckert

14. Jade Buford, four laps led

15. Landon Cassill

16. Ryan Sieg

17. Andy Lally, three laps led

18. Matt Jaskol

19. Patrick Emerling

20. Brett Moffitt

21. Joe Graf Jr.

22. Josh Williams, one lap down

23. Ryan Vargas, two laps down

24. Stefan Parsons, two laps down

25. Mason Filippi, three laps down

26. Jesse Iwuji, four laps down

27. Parker Chase – OUT, Accident

28. Connor Mosack – OUT, Accident

29. Spencer Pumpelly – OUT, Accident

30. Bayley Currey – OUT, Accident

31. Anthony Alfredo – OUT, Accident

32. Sheldon Creed – OUT, one lap led

33. Jeb Burton – OUT, Accident

34. Jeremy Clements – OUT, Accident

35. Riley Herbst – OUT, Accident

36. Gray Gaulding – OUT, Accident

37. Darren Dilley – OUT, Accident

38. Sam Mayer – OUT, Accident

The 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series season will be taking a two-week break period before returning to action at Nashville Superspeedway on June 25. The event is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network, which will mark the network’s debut airing NASCAR Xfinity events.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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