Allmendinger Wins Michigan Xfinity Race after Three Overtimes

Sean Gardner/Getty Images

BROOKYN, MI – RIS - AJ Allmendinger won his second straight Xfinity Series race in a triple overtime win at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday. Allmendinger held off Brandon Jones, who finished runner-up after multiple overtimes due to cautions toward the end of the event.

“The outside was the place to be, you just hoped to be pushed — so Brandon Jones thank you for that” Allmendinger said

Allmendinger starter the race on the pole and though he  drove out to a two-second margin..  Austin Cindric won the stage when everyone pitted during the stage break.  When Cindric pitted, he found his No. 22 Ford back in the pack.  Cindric found that problematic as the second stage. began in chaos as cars got stacked, which started with contact between Myatt Snider and Ty Gibbs, who Snider blamed for the chain reaction, which saw seven cars involved, including Bubba Wallace, Cindric, Daniel Hemric and Justin Haley.

“We just got collected in a wreck by the cars that decided to stay out” without pitting after the first stage, Cindric said. “Unfortunately, that is something you see often in this series. It is enough that I am not going to complain about it, you just have to understand it is possible. We had some guys get loose and spin out and I couldn’t miss them. I thought we had the fastest car out there today. In some ways,

“I feel like that is a bold statement coming from me but our guys did an amazing job on this Ford Mustang, and I wish we could have contended for the rest of the race because I think we would have had a shot.”

After the chaos, everything resumed to normal. Jeb Burton led most of the stage’s remaining laps until Allmendinger took the lead from Burton to win the second stage. This was Allmendinger’s eighth stage win of the season after coming into the 2021 season with four.

The final stage saw the top lane be the dominant lane once again as Allmendinger drove away from the field. As Allmendinger led, Justin Allgaier and Josh Berry were closing the gap, and Berry made a wild three-wide pass around the two as they approached lapped traffic and weaved his Chevy between two lapped cars to take the top spot and drove away over by  two seconds once again

Allmendinger took the lead from Berry (who was driving in place of injured Michael Annett) on a restart with five laps to go when a caution sent the race into overtime.

Two more yellow flags before the white flag kept the pressure on the No. 16 Chevrolet, but Allmendinger held the lead for his eighth career victory in Xfinity by choosing the outside lane on the 2-mile oval for each restart.

“Front row, the outside was the place to be,” Allmendinger said. “You just had to be pushed. Brandon Jones, thank you so much. He pushed me every time.

“I don’t want to wake up from this dream.”

Due to the overtime periods,the race ended on Lap 139, 14 laps beyond its scheduled distance after the three attempts at a green-white-checkered that left the outcome in doubt for a race that already was up for grabs.

As the race wore on, several teams tried a fuel strategy.  Harrison Burton ran out of fuel near the end of the race.  Jason Allgaier took only fuel on the last stop, but when Burton ran out of fuel, he was forced to pit. With accidents happening frequently, the race ended up having to have three overtimes to finish.  In the end, Allmendinger was able to take a narrow win. 

“Wow, what a hell of a six days,” Allmendinger told pit reporters after a typically exuberant celebration that had the crowd chanting “AJ! AJ! AJ!” after he climbed the frontstretch catchfence. “Oh my goodness. This is what’s awesome, though, to have all the fans back. Indy last weekend was spectacular. Michigan, thank you guys. You guys make it fun.”

“I’m more tired from the celebrations than I am from driving.”  Resting up might be advised because next week the Xfinity series heads to Daytona International Speedway next

Pos         Driver    Car #      Make    Started

1                     AJ Allmendinger       16           Chevrolet            2

2              Brandon Jones  19           Toyota  24

3              Noah Gragson   9              Chevrolet            4

4              Josh Berry           1              Chevrolet            17

5              Harrison Burton 20           Toyota  6

6              Justin Allgaier    7              Chevrolet            5

7              Riley Herbst        98           Ford       8

8              Brett Moffitt      02           Chevrolet            20

9              Jade Buford        48           Chevrolet            19

10           Bubba Wallace  61           Toyota  36

11           Jeremy Clements             51           Chevrolet            11

12           Ryan Sieg             39           Ford       23

13           Ty Gibbs               54           Toyota  10

14           Matt Mills            105         Toyota  27

15           Jordan Anderson              31           Chevrolet            31

16           Tyler Reddick     23           Chevrolet            22

17           Justin Haley        11           Chevrolet            3

18           Josh Williams      92           Chevrolet            14

19           Tommy Joe Martins         44           Chevrolet            18

20           Colin Garrett      26           Toyota  29

21           Ryan Vargas       6              Chevrolet            35

22           David Starr          66           Toyota  37

23           Jeffrey Earnhardt             0              Chevrolet            30

24           Kyle Weatherman            47           Chevrolet            21

25           Colby Howard    15           Chevrolet            38

26           Landon Cassill    4              Chevrolet            15

27           Gray Gaulding    52           Chevrolet            40

28           Carson Ware      17           Chevrolet            28

29           Jeb Burton          10           Chevrolet            12

30           Mason Massey  178         Chevrolet            26

31           Alex Labbe          36           Chevrolet            13

32           Jesse Little          199         Chevrolet            33

33           Sam Mayer         8              Chevrolet            16

34           Bayley Currey    74           Chevrolet            39

35           Caesar Bacarella                90           Chevrolet            34

36           Myatt Snider      2              Chevrolet            9

37           Austin Cindric     22           Ford       1

38           Joe Graf Jr.          07           Chevrolet            32

39           Daniel Hemric    18           Toyota  7

40           Brandon Brown 68           Chevrolet            25

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Ron Fleshman

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2021, Issue 8, Posted 7:53 PM, 08.21.2021