Justin Allgaier, driver of the throwback No. 7 Hellmann’s Chevrolet, earned the 17th victory of his NASCAR Xfinity Series career on Saturday afternoon at Darlington Raceway in dominating fashion, leading four times for a race-high 76 laps before capturing his first win of the 2022 season. With today’s victory, Allgaier has now won in six consecutive seasons for JR Motorsports and has secured his place in the NXS Playoffs. Additionally, today’s capturing of the checkered flag marks the third consecutive win for JRM dating back to Talladega Superspeedway last month.
Allgaier was forced to take the green flag for the 147-lap event from the rear of the field after a battery issue following the command to start engines forced the JRM driver to the back of the pack.
Undeterred by starting at the rear, Allgaier rapidly ascended up the leaderboard, needing just 26 laps to enter the top 10 for the first time. The driver of the throwback Hellmann’s Chevrolet’s climb didn’t stop there, as Allgaier entered the top five on lap 34 and remained there for the final 11 laps of Stage One to take the green-and-white checkered in fourth on lap 45. The stage-ending result earned Allgaier and the No. 7 team seven valuable stage points to begin the day.
Following the Stage One result, crew chief Jason Burdett called Allgaier in for four fresh tires and fuel. A strong stop by the Hellmann’s crew sent Allgaier back out with the race lead ahead of the start of Stage Two on lap 51.
Once out front, Allgaier set sail, as the Illinois native maintained the top spot through a lap-74 caution period. Then, on the ensuing restart, Allgaier battled wheel-to-wheel with JRM teammate Noah Gragson before ultimately settling in to the third position for the final eight laps of Stage Two. Although sliding to third, the strong stage result earned Allgaier an additional eight points on the afternoon.
Another strong pit stop by the Hellmann’s crew prior to the start of the third and final stage sent Allgaier back out with the race lead ahead of the lap-94 restart.
Now back out front, Allgaier again looked to distance himself from the field, as the JRM driver would hold on to the race lead for the 39 laps that followed before a lap-135 caution period shuffled up the running order.
With a variety of pit strategies playing out amongst the front runners, Burdett made the call to bring the driver of the throwback Hellmann’s Chevrolet back to pit road for one last set of fresh tires and fuel.
Restarting from the seventh position on lap-140, Allgaier went on the attack and charged back up to second before the caution flag was again displayed on lap-141, setting up a two-lap-shootout to the finish.
Lining up on the outside of the front row for the final restart of the day, Allgaier quickly broke out with the race lead as the field exited Turn 2 and held on to the top spot ahead of teammate Gragson for the final two laps to secure his first checkered flag of the season and his second overall at the “Track Too Tough To Tame.”
With the win, Allgaier has now locked his way in to the NXS Playoffs.
“What a day. I can’t thank Jason (Burdett, crew chief) and everyone on this JR Motorsports team enough. We had an unbelievable Hellmann’s Camaro today with an awesome throwback paint scheme and it just feels great to be able to get back to Victory Lane. Today just shows how this team never gives up, from the battery issue at the start, to fighting back through the field, and to ultimately ending up here in Victory Lane. I just can’t say enough about this group and everyone back at JRM. Three straight wins for the organization is unbelievable and I’m just happy to be able to be the guy to bring home the checkered flag today.”
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