The Toyota Care 250 at Richmond International Raceway was calm and smooth until the final couple of restarts. The restarts that caused confusion amongst drivers, media, and fans.
The first incident happened on the lap 245 restart. Ty Dillon was the control car. Justin Allgaier line up second and Kyle Larson third. As the field was about to hit the restart zone, T. Dillon accelerated before the zone. NASCAR reviewed the restart and deemed that Dillon did in fact jump the start and was to start at the end of the field. When T. Dillon was relayed the message, he was hot.
Dillon started in the back of the field because shortly after the green flag waved again, the caution flag flew on lap 247 for an accident that involved six cars in the third turn. That caution also brought out the red flag for two minutes and 43 seconds.
Larson was deemed the leader after passing Allgaier on the first restart. The second caution would send the race in NASCAR Overtime. With NASCAR’s Overtime procedures, the race is deemed official when the leader crosses a pre-determined line on the first lap of overtime.
On the restart, Larson and Allgaier were battling for position and crossed the overtime line as three cars made contact towards the back of the field that would bring out the caution to end the race. Larson and Allgaier were in the third and fourth turn when the caution lights were illuminated.
However, as they were about to take the white flag, the caution flag was not waving. According to the NASCAR Rule Book, the race is deemed under caution when the lights are illuminated and/or the yellow flag is waving.
After the race, NASCAR would not allow anybody near T. Dillon to talk and Allgaier went up to a NASCAR Official to express his displeasure of how the race was handled in the end.
Once cooled down, Allgaier made comments to the media about the debacle in the closing laps.
“I wanted to punch and kick the side of the car once the race was over, but I felt like there were enough camera around that it might look goofy. I am frustrated, very frustrated actually. When you have these races, every scenario we could do something different and you could change the way you did it. You look back on it. It sucks. I just wish I could have done a few things differently. I wish other competitors would have done things differently. I think being that close to victory and having that dominant of a car with not really anything to show for it was probably the hardest part,” said Allgaier post-race.
While sitting under the red flag, Allgaier mentioned that his heart rate was 205 to 210 because of his frustration in the final laps.
Larson had a different approach and viewpoint to the final few laps in the race.
“I figured he (T. Dillon) would take off early. Ty got a little aggressive taking off too soon. This is kinda a tougher place to see where the zone starts because we are still turning when we get to the zone. It’s hard to see the zone start. He pushed early and definitely jumped a few feet and NASCAR made the right call,” said Larson of the restart that ultimately have him the victory.
After serving the penalty, T. Dillon ultimately finished in the 19th position.
Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is the Sparks Energy 300 from Talladega Superspeedway.
Earlier today, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. announced that 2017 would be his final year in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The decision was made on March 29th.
When I think of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., I think of the words bold and courageous. Earnhardt Jr. has went through trial and tribulation throughout his illustrious career.
Why does bold and courageous come into my mind when I think of Earnhardt Jr.? Here’s why:
The weight of the NASCAR world was thrown onto the young driver in 2001 when his father was tragically killed in the Daytona 500. As a young driver in NASCAR at the age of 26, it was more to handle. However, he handled it well. The NASCAR world looked for Jr. to carry the torch and live up to the legacy his father left. The weight of living up to that legacy left Earnhardt, Jr. burdened.
In 2007, he announced that he would leave the organization his father started, Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, to go race for Rick Hendrick at Hendrick Motorsports in 2008. That was a bold move leaving an organization that he was slated to run in the future for a ride at Hendrick. He ultimately left that organization because Theresa Earnhardt, his stepmother, would not give him controlling interest in the organization. Earnhardt Jr.
Later that season, he announced that he would be joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2008, where he is set to end his career.
In the midst of a career shakeup in the Cup Series, Jr also started a NASCAR Xfinity Series team, JR Motorsports, in 2006 just before the economic struggles began in the United States. In an effort to survive, JR Motorsports joined an alliance with Hendrick Motorsports in 2008 that would provide engineering, chassis, and engine support. Without the bold and courageous move to join an alliance with Hendrick, JR Motorsports would probably not be able to field five cars in 2017.
More recently, Jr. made a bold and courageous move to step out of the car in 2016 after suffering a concussion. He also made the decision to be open and candid about the struggles and experience of rehabilitation from concussions.
The decision to be candid with media and fans showed athletes that they do not have to be silent about the issues they face due to participating in the sports they love. This decision also opened the door for Earnhardt Jr. to help others find ways to get treated for concussions they have suffered.
Although he may retiring for Cup action in 2017, Earnhardt Jr is still set to be around the NASCAR realm as a team owner in the Xfinity Series and potentially on TV.
As Dr. Suess once said, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” To Dale Earnhardt Jr., thank you for your impact on our sport and the best is yet to come.
AVONDALE, Ariz.-- Justin Allgaier held off a charge from Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones on a late race restart to win the DC Solar 200 from Phoenix Raceway snapping an 80-race winless streak. Allgaier also wins the $100,000 Dash4Cash bonus. All four of JR Motorsports entries finished in the top-10.
“It’s hard work and perseverance. Last year was tough. We had really good runs all year, weren’t able to get to victory lane. These guys fought hard. Same group of guys we had last year here at Phoenix. This is a team effort,” said Allgaier post-race to FOX.
On the Dash4Cash victory, Allgaier told FOX, “To finish first, you must first finish. We gotten the first thing out of the way, we got three more to do. These guys (XFINITY) what they do for our series, the sport of NASCAR. We have the best fans in the world. This is what this series is all about.”
Allgaier started the race from the fifth position. In the first stage, Allgaier had a car strong on the short runs. Allgaier remained towards the front of the field for the whole stage. On the 20th lap, Allgaier gained the lead from Erik Jones. . Allgaier and E. Jones battled for numerous laps before Allgaier took the advantage. As Allgaier was in the lead, his car turned from well handling to an ill-handling machine. Allgaier went on to lead nine laps in that stint. Allgaier began to fall back. Allgaier was one position from clinching a spot in the Dash4Cash in this stage. E. Jones won the first stage, Austin Dillon was second, William Byron was third, Ryan Blaney was fourth, and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top-five. Allgaier finished sixth in this stage. Byron and Sadler clinched the first two Dash4Cash spots.
The second stage saw Allgaier start behind A. Dillon on the outside lane. E. Jones was unable to get a good restart moving Allgaier up to the second position. Off the backstrerch on lap 82, Allgaier was able to gain the lead. The caution flew for contact between Brendan Gaughan and Matt Tifft. On the restart, Allgaier gained the advantage. However, Blaney began to reel in Allgaier as he began to hit lapped traffic. Blaney grabbed the lead with 11 laps remaining to win the second stage. Allgaier finished second, A. Dillon finished third, Sadler was fourth, and E. Jones rounded out the top-five. Allgaier and Tyler Reddick were the final two drivers to compete in the Dash4Cash.
At the start of the final stage, A. Dillon restarted the race from the lead. However, Blaney and Allgaier continued to pressure Dillon for that lead. Allgaier was trying for the lead but the caution flew for an accident. Allgaier restarted on the inside lane for the restart, but A. Dillon took the advantage. Allgaier gained the lead at lap 139 to lead the next 21 laps. Allgaier lost the lead on put stops as he was the first driver to take four tires while everyone ahead of him took two tires in what would be the last pit stop of the day. Allgaier quickly jumped up towards the front of the field with four fresh tires to gain the lead on lap 165. The caution then flew for a spin by Drew Herring. On the restart, Allgaier made the decision to start on the bottom, a decision he quickly regretted. Allgaier lost the lead for for nine laps, but gained the lead coming into the third turn. As the laps began to wind down, cautions continued to breed caution. The caution flew again for a spin by Blake Koch. Allgaier learned from his mistake on the last restart. Allgaier restarted from the high line, but as quickly as he was clear for the lead, the caution flew for an accident involving A. Dillon, Ryan Sieg, and Cole Custer. That accident brought out the red flag. On the final restart, Allgaier gained an early jump on the field and set sail for his first victory of 2017. Blaney finished second, E. Jones finished third, Byron finished fourth, and Sadler rounded out the top-five.
There were 13 different lead changes among five different drivers. The caution flew nine times for 55 laps.
Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is the 300-miler event from Auto Club Speedway. Motor Racing Network and Fox Sports 1 will have race coverage on March 25th at 4:00 p.m. EST.
AVONDALE, Ariz.-- William Byron will start from the pole in today's DC Solar 200 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Phoenix International Raceway. This is his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series pole in only his fourth event for JR Motorsports.
The first round of qualifying saw Ryan Blaney, Daniel Hemric, Daniel Suarez, Dakoda Armstrong, Brandon Jones, and Ross Chastain not make times due to issues in the inspection line during the opening round. All cars will start the race after the 77 car from Obaika Racing withdrew from the race. Stephen Leicht will race in the 97 car in the race today. Byron was fastest in the first round at 131.839 mph, A. Dillon was second fastest at 131.738 mph, Darrell Wallace Jr. was third fastest at 131.709 mph, Justin Allgaier was fourth fastest at 131.699 mph, and Brennan Poole rounded out the top-five at 131.550 mph.
In the second round of qualifying Erik Jones was fastest at 132.778 mph, Byron was second fastest at 132.548 mph, Elliott Sadler was third fastest at 132.470 mph, Matt Tifft was fourth fastest at 132.319 mph, and A. Dillon rounded out the top-five at 132.290 mph.
Byron was the fastest in the third round at 133.487 mph. E. Jones will start alongside Byron in second with his qualifying speed of 133.432 mph, A. Dillon will start third at 133.033 mph, Koch will start fourth at 132.724 mph, and Justin Allgaier will round out the top-five at 132.694 mph.
The DC Solar 200 will air live on FOX and Motor Racing Network beginning at $:00 p.m. EST.