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Allgaier gambles for first Xfinity victory of 2023 at Charlotte

In an event that was delayed for two days and more than nine hours, the early season wait for Justin Allgaier and JR Motorsports evaporated under the lights at home turn after Allgaier made a late fuel strategic call work to perfection by winning the rain-postponed Alsco Uniforms 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday, May 29.

The 36-year-old Allgaier from Riverton, Illinois, led three times for a race-high 83 of 200-scheduled laps in an event where he started on pole position, led early and ran up front throughout the event that was scheduled to start on Saturday, May 27, but was postponed to Monday and delayed yet again for another nine hours amid ongoing precipitation and steady rain.

Once the racing resumed nearing the one-quarter mark, Allgaier, who remained in contention as the race proceeded, seized upon an opportunity to pit for a final time with less than 70 laps remaining during a caution period. Then during the final 66-lap dash to the finish, Allgaier swapped the lead with John Hunter Nemechek before assuming it for good with 33 laps remaining. He then stretched his low fuel tank to the absolute distance as he managed to coast across the finish line and claim his first elusive Xfinity victory of the 2023 season.

With on-track qualifying that determined the starting lineup occurring on Friday, Justin Allgaier notched his first Xfinity pole of the 2023 season after posting a pole-winning lap at 181.172 mph in 29.806 seconds. Joining him on the front row was John Hunter Nemechek, who clocked in the second-best qualifying lap at 180.246 mph in 29.959 seconds.

Prior to the event, the following names that included Josh Berry, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Stefan Parsons, Parker Retzlaff and Kyle Sieg dropped to the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments made to their respective entries. Ryan Sieg also dropped to the rear of the field due to an engine change to his RSS Racing entry. Then with the event being postponed to Monday, Justin Haley also dropped to the rear of the field due to a driver change as he replaced Kyle Busch in the No. 10 Kaulig Racing entry, with Busch setting his focus on the Cup Series’ Coca-Cola 600 that occurred prior to the Xfinity Charlotte event.

When the green flag waved and the race commenced amid a two-day delay due to the ongoing precipitation, Allgaier launched ahead on the inside lane and assumed an early command through the first two turns while teammates Nemechek and Ty Gibbs battled dead even for second. As the field fanned out to three and four lanes through the backstretch and in Turns 3 and 4, Allgaier proceeded to lead the first lap. Allgaier then managed to extend his advantage to half a second over Nemechek while Ty Gibbs settled in third and trailed by less than eight-tenths of a second.

Through the first five scheduled laps, Allgaier was leading by more than a second over Gibbs while Nemechek, who got loose in Turn 1, fell back to third as Brandon Jones and Cole Custer were in the top five. Behind, Sheldon Creed was in sixth ahead of Daniel Hemric and rookie Chandler Smith while Jeb Burton and Riley Herbst were battling in the top 10. Meanwhile, Carson Hocevar was in 11th in his No. 77 Premier Security Chevrolet Camaro ahead of Brett Moffitt and Austin Hill while rookie Sammy Smith, Sam Mayer and Anthony Alfredo battled within the top 16.

At the Lap 10 mark, Allgaier continued to hold a steady advantage over a hard-charging Gibbs, who cut the deficit to within half a second in his No. 19 He Gets Us Toyota Supra, while Nemechek trailed by more than a second in third place. Behind, Creed moved up to fifth place behind Custer while Brandon Jones fell back to sixth. Jones would then slip to ninth as Hemric, Chandler Smith and Moffitt overtook him for spots while Gibbs tried to challenge Allgaier for the lead.

When a scheduled competition caution flew on Lap 20, Allgaier fended off Gibbs’ challenges on the outside lane to maintain the lead. By then, Nemechek, Custer and Creed were scored in the top five ahead of Hemric, Chandler Smith, Moffitt, Hocevar and Brandon Jones.

During the competition caution period, nearly the entire field led by Allgaier pitted, except for Ryan Sieg as Sieg remained on the track. Following the pit stops, Nemechek exited pit road first ahead of Gibbs, Custer, Creed, Allgaier and Hemric.

Not long after, the field was brought down to pit road and the race was placed in a red flag period on Lap 25 due to a steady increase of mist. Nearly 27 minutes later, the red flag lifted and the field led by Ryan Sieg returned to the track under a cautious pace.

When the race restarted under green on Lap 31, Nemechek quickly assumed the lead in his No. 20 Mobil 1 Toyota Supra followed by teammate Gibbs as the field fanned out entering the first turn. As Ryan Sieg began to slip and lose spots while on worn tires, Nemechek assumed a steady advantage over teammate Gibbs followed by Creed, Hemric and Allgaier while Custer, who tried to launch to the front during the restart and ended up with a tire rub, was mired back in seventh behind Chandler Smith.

At the Lap 40 mark, Nemechek was leading by two-tenths of a second over teammate Gibbs, with both Joe Gibbs Racing teammates battling close for the lead, while Hemric trailed in third place by more than two seconds. Behind, Allgaier was in fourth ahead of Creed and Chandler Smith while Custer slipped to eighth behind Austin Hill.

When the first stage concluded on Lap 45, Ty Gibbs, who assumed the lead from teammate Nemechek on Lap 42 after Nemechek scrubbed the outside wall between Turns 1 and 2, captured the stage victory. Teammate Nemechek settled in second while trailing by more than a second while Allgaier, Hemric, Creed, Chandler Smith, Hill, Josh Berry, Custer and Riley Herbst were scored in the top 10.

Under the stage break, the field led by Gibbs returned to pit road and the race was placed under a second red flag period on Lap 48 due to the return of the mist that eventually resulted in an increase of rain. Not long after and with the precipitation increasing, NASCAR declared that the event would resume at the conclusion of the Cup Series’ Coca-Cola 600 which was scheduled to commence within 3 p.m. ET.

More than nine hours later and moments after Ryan Blaney withstood a long, chaotic and delayed Coke 600 event to emerge victorious, the red flag period for the Xfinity Series competition was lifted and the field returned to track under a cautious period. During the caution period, the field led by Gibbs returned to pit road for service. Following the pit stops, Gibbs retained the lead ahead of teammate Nemechek, Allgaier, Hemric, Creed and Chandler Smith.

The second stage started on Lap 55 as Gibbs and Nemechek occupied the front row. At the start, Gibbs retained the lead as the field fanned out through the first two turns. With Gibbs maintaining the lead, teammate Nemechek retained second in front of Allgaier as Hemric fended off Creed, Chandler Smith and Hill for fourth.

Just past the Lap 60 mark, Gibbs was leading by eight-tenths of a second over Nemechek while Hemric moved up to third after he overtook Allgaier for position. Hemric, however, shortly pitted under green after reporting concerns of a loose wheel to his No. 11 Cirkul Chevrolet Camaro. The move dropped Hemric out of the lead lap category as Gibbs continued to lead by six-tenths of a second over teammate Nemechek and more than two seconds over Allgaier.

By Lap 70, Gibbs stretched his advantage to more than a second over teammate Nemechek while third-place Allgaier trailed by nearly four seconds. Behind, Richard Childress Racing’s Hill and Creed occupied fourth and fifth while Chandler Smith settled in sixth in front of Mayer, Brandon Jones, Hocevar and Sammy Smith.

At the Lap 80 mark, Gibbs continued to lead by eight-tenths of a second over teammate Nemechek while Allgaier, Hill and Creed remained in the top five.

When the second stage concluded on Lap 90, Ty Gibbs notched his second consecutive stage victory of the night after cruising to the start/finish line with an advantage of more than a second. Teammate Nemechek settled in second while Allgaier, Hill, Creed, Chandler Smith, Sam Mayer, Brandon Jones, Cole Custer and Carson Hocevar were scored in the top 10. By then, 27 of 38 starters were scored on the lead lap. In addition, Brett Moffitt was scored out of the lead lap category after making contact against the wall a few laps earlier and pitting under green.

Under the stage break, the field led by Gibbs returned to pit road for service. Following the pit stops, however, Nemechek emerged with the lead after exiting first followed by Creed, Allgaier, Hill, Chandler Smith and Custer. Meanwhile, Gibbs was mired back in 28th amid an extensive pit service to resolve a radio issue.

With 103 laps remaining, the final stage started as Nemechek and Creed occupied the front row. At the start, Nemechek launched ahead with a strong start while Creed and Allgaier dueled for second. With Allgaier moving up to second, Custer challenged Creed for third as the field fanned out and jostled for late positions.

At the halfway mark with 100 laps remaining, Nemechek was leading by four-tenths of a second over Allgaier while Custer, Creed and Brandon Jones trailed in the top five. Meanwhile, Ty Gibbs, who restarted just outside the top 20, had carved his way up to 13th while Josh Berry overtook Creed for fifth. In addition, Hill was in seventh ahead of Chandler Smith, Mayer and Sammy Smith while Justin Haley carved his way up to 11th.

Ten laps later, Nemechek continued to lead by more than a second over Allgaier while third-place Custer also trailed by more than a second. With JR Motorsports’ Brandon Jones and Berry trailing in the top five, Ty Gibbs re-entered the top 10 as he was in ninth behind Creed, Hill and Chandler Smith. Gibbs would then get bottled within a tight battle involving himself, Mayer, Sammy Smith and Hocevar as his fast charge to the front stalled.

Another 15 laps later, Nemechek stabilized his advantage to more than a second over Allgaier followed by Custer, Brandon Jones and Berry while Hill, Ty Gibbs, Creed, Chandler Smith and Mayer were scored in the top 10. As Sammy Smith, Hocevar, Haley, Herbst and Kaz Grala were scored in the top 15, Hemric was still mired a lap behind in 28th.

With 73 laps remaining, the caution flew when Mayer, who was running 10th, spun off of the Turn 2 outside wall, slid down to the track and pounded the inside wall as he limped to pit road with a shredded right-front fender as a result of a flat tire. During the caution period, the field led by Nemechek returned to pit road for service. Following the pit stops, Nemechek retained the lead after exiting first ahead of Allgaier. During the pit stops, Creed pitted for a second time for repairs after making contact with Berry on pit road.

As the race proceeded under green with 66 laps remaining, Nemechek and Allgaier dueled for the lead as Allgaier tried to peek ahead through the backstretch. Then as Hill launched himself into the picture and made it a three-wide battle at the front, Allgaier assumed the lead during the following lap while Hill battled Nemechek for second. Nemechek would fend off Hill for second as Custer tried to challenge Hill for third in front of Berry and Brandon Jones.

With less than 60 laps remaining, Allgaier maintained the lead by nine-tenths of a second over Nemechek while Hill trailed in third by a second and a half. With Custer and Brandon Jones running in the top five, Chandler Smith was in sixth followed by Ty Gibbs while Berry fell back to eighth. Behind, Hocevar was in ninth ahead of a battle between Sammy Smith and Haley while Kaz Grala, Jeb Burton, Connor Mosack and Kyle Weatherman battled inside the top 15.

Down to the final 50 laps of the event, Allgaier’s advantage evaporated to a tenth of a second over Nemechek as he re-ignited his battle for the lead. Not long after, they both made contact, but both competitors continued to run straight as Allgaier retained the lead by nearly half a second while third-place Hill trailed by more than a second. Meanwhile, Custer occupied fourth while Brandon Jones and Ty Gibbs battled for fifth.

With less than 40 laps remaining, Allgaier and Nemechek re-ignited their battle for the lead before Nemechek reassumed the top spot off of Turn 4 with 36 laps remaining. Then just as Alfredo pitted under green with 33 laps remaining, Allgaier muscled his Chevrolet back to the top of the leaderboard. He would maintain the lead over Nemechek under the final 30-lap and 25-lap marks of the event.

Then with 20 laps remaining and as Allgaier continued to lead by four-tenths of a second, Hill surrendered third place to pit his No. 21 Alsco Chevrolet Camaro. He would then be followed by Chandler Smith, Sammy Smith and Ty Gibbs, who had worked his way up towards the front. By then, Allgaier, who was leading, started to back off his pace in an attempt to save fuel under the direction of his team.

Down to the final 10 laps of the event, Allgaier stretched his advantage to more than a second over Nemechek while trying to stretch his fuel tank to the finish. By then, Nemechek, who was trying to pounce on Allgaier, started to back off on his pace to have enough fuel to finish. Nearing the final five-lap mark, more names that included third-place Hocevar, Brandon Jones and Haley pitted, but Allgaier continued to run under power with the lead. As runner-up, Nemechek trailed by more than five seconds with third-place Custer trailing by more than nine seconds, Hill, who pitted earlier and had enough fuel to finish under full power, was in fourth, but trailing by more than 25 seconds.

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Allgaier, who continued to run under a conservative pace on the track, remained as the leader by more than seven seconds over Nemechek, who too was still remaining on the track while on low fuel. Despite being overtaken by lapped competitors while managing his throttle through the turns and straightaway, Allgaier was able to make the low fuel tank last to perfection as he cycled his No. 7 Unilever Military DeCA RCPT Chevrolet Camaro back to the frontstretch and streaked across the finish line for his first victory of the season.

With the victory, Allgaier notched his 20th career victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and his first at Charlotte. He also returned to Victory Lane for the first time in the Xfinity circuit since winning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July 2022. By recording his 17th victory as a driver for JR Motorsports, the Illinois veteran recorded the first NASCAR victory of the season and the second consecutive victory at Charlotte for JRM. In addition, Allgaier, who became the ninth different winner of this year’s Xfinity season, achieved his first victory with new crew chief Jim Pohlman.

Photo by John Knittel for

“I’m speechless, man,” Allgaier said on FS2. “You fans that stuck it out here tonight, thank y’all so much. I just cannot say enough about [crew chief] Jim Pohlman, everybody on this No. 7 team. It’s not been for lack of speed this year. We’ve battled. Tonight was kind of the opposite. We had to go slow to go fast. I’m speechless, man. I really am…I didn’t know how much [fuel] to save. Just lucky we had enough.”

Nemechek, who led 57 laps and was pursuing his third Xfinity victory of the season, settled in second place for the third time this season as he trailed Allgaier by seven seconds to the finish.

“It was definitely tough to not push as hard as you could there at the end when trying to run Allgaier back down,” Nemechek said. “We raced each other really hard, really clean. Overall, our Mobil 1 Toyota GR Supra was fast as Xfinity 10G [Internet]. I didn’t do us any favors by stuffing [the car] in the fence before we had our whole rain delay today. Just hats off to all the guys, the effort at this Joe Gibbs Racing organization. Man, if consistency is key to win a championship, then we are pretty consistent. Just gotta keep plugging on and we’ll go click off some more wins.”

Custer, who also gambled late on fuel, came home in third place while Hill ended up fourth after narrowing the gap to only 16 seconds. Ty Gibbs ended up in fifth after leading 52 laps followed by rookie Parker Retzlaff and Jeb Burton, all of whom rounded out the top-seven lead lap finishers. Carson Hocevar, the first competitor to finish a lap down, ended up eighth while Brandon Jones and Sammy Smith completed the top 10 on the track.

There were eight lead changes for four different leaders. The race featured four cautions for 31 laps. While all but one of 38 starters finished the race, seven finished on the lead lap.

Following the 12th event of the 2023 Xfinity Series season, John Hunter Nemechek leads the regular-season standings by 10 points over Austin Hill, 50 over Justin Allgaier, 74 over Cole Custer and 85 over Josh Berry.


1. Justin Allgaier, 83 laps led

2. John Hunter Nemechek, 57 laps led

3. Cole Custer

4. Austin Hill

5. Ty Gibbs, 52 laps led, Stage 1 & 2 winner

6. Parker Retzlaff

7. Jeb Burton

8. Carson Hocevar, one lap down

9. Brandon Jones, one lap down

10. Sammy Smith, one lap down

11. Kyle Sieg, one lap down

12. Justin Haley, one lap down

13. Chandler Smith, one lap down

14. Riley Herbst, one lap down

15. Josh Berry, one lap down

16. Kaz Grala, one lap down

17. Joe Graf Jr., one lap down

18. Josh Williams, one lap down

19. Jeremy Clements, two laps down

20. Kyle Weatherman, two laps down

21. Jeffrey Earnhardt, two laps down

22. Daniel Hemric, two laps down

23. Connor Mosack, two laps down

24. Ryan Sieg, two laps down, eight laps led

25. Rajah Caruth, three laps down

26. Stefan Parsons, three laps down

27. Ryan Ellis, three laps down

28. Sheldon Creed, three laps down

29. Brett Moffitt, three laps down

30. Brennan Poole, three laps down

31. Patrick Emerling, five laps down

32. Anthony Alfredo, five laps down

33. Garrett Smithley, five laps down

34. Natalie Decker, five laps down

35. Sam Mayer, seven laps down

36. Dawson Cram, seven laps down

37. Blaine Perkins – OUT, Engine

38. Parker Kligerman, 56 laps down

Next on the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule is a trip back to the West Coast for the series’ second-ever event at Portland International Raceway in Portland, Oregon. The event is scheduled to occur next Saturday, June 3, at 4:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

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


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